Understanding that “Hangry” Feeling

Story by Katherine Hunan
Photo Courtesy of Flickr

Imagine this: it’s mid-day. You’ve been out shopping with friends since 11 a.m. this morning and your energy and patience has quickly begun to wane. One of your friends asks if you’d like to try on another pair of jeans and you react in an almost unbelievable rage. It’s as if she had just suggested that you put your brand new car in neutral and let it roll into a river – how dare she?!

You can feel the heat rising in your cheeks as another shopper bumps into your elbow, barely muttering an “excuse me.” One of your other friends suggests that you all go to lunch after everyone checks out, you lunge at the opportunity. A swell of relief comes over you at the anticipation of food. It has been five hours and 42 minutes since you last ate, not that you’re counting…

What is Hangry?
For those of us who have experienced being “hangry,” which is simply a combination of the words hungry and angry, the aforementioned experience resonates all too well. The question is, however, what does it really mean to be “hangry?”

To put it simply, the impatience and short temper that many of us experience when we’re hungry is primarily a result of having low blood sugar. Other symptoms that may occur include combativeness and headaches, as well as others, only worsening ones mood even further.

Its Effects on the Body
Research done by Nicola Twilley at The New Yorker cites that tests done on animals show other side effects of hunger which also present themselves in humans. One of those includes an increased awareness to ones surroundings, which may possibly explain why every little action and word can annoy us when we’re feeling peckish.

When you’re experiencing that near-manic desperation for food and feel as if your head is about to explode from rage and frustration, there is a simple solution – food.

The key to combating that “hangry” feeling, however, is not to eat just eat anything. Chances are you will be craving the heartiest, most-filling sweet treat you can think of, but this will leave you worse off in the long run as it may result in a sudden contradictory spike and drop in blood sugar.

What to Do when the Feeling Arises
The best things to eat frequently to help stave off “hanger” are good-quality proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. These help to keep you satisfied longer as well as help stabilize your blood sugar levels.

If you find yourself feeling “hangry” one day, simply take a deep breath and find or prepare some yummy, filling, good-for-you food. You’ll be back to enjoying your day and feeling like yourself in no time.