Why Do We Get Angry When Hungry, A.K.A “Hangry”?

Our ancestors often survived by this system that has been preserved through evolution.

It’s never a good idea to let hunger control your day. At this point, we often experience stretched nerves and impatience, in addition to a growling stomach and difficulties focusing. We get more hostile and are no longer able to handle challenges and criticism properly. But why does “angry” often follow “hungry”? Or “hangry”. 

Our body lacks energy when we go extended periods without eating, and blood sugar levels fall. Contrarily, our “fight-or-flight” chemicals, cortisol and adrenaline, increase. These stress hormones get us ready for a fight-or-flight scenario both psychologically and physically. Our ancestors often survived on this system that has been preserved through evolution. This is so that our body can mobilize all of its resources even when we are low on energy and obtain food as soon as possible with the help of adrenaline.

Stress comes with hunger

Stress comes with hunger

But these stress hormones are also partially to blame for our negative mood when we are hungry since they put our bodies on alert, make our perception more sensitive, and make us more impulsive and reactive. Additionally, it may result in hostile conduct. The more stressed we are overall, the bigger this impact seems to be. We don’t become furious as easily while we’re sleeping, but in stressful circumstances, hunger may have a significant impact on how we feel.

However, our brain in particular lacks sugar and nutrition, which leaves the body generally without energy. This may result in the breakdown of defense systems including aggression and impulse control.

Chemical bewilderment

A different condition, however, may be used to explain the “hangry state”: The hypothalamus, a particular part of the brain, is in charge of controlling our perception of hunger. This is also in charge of controlling emotions. When we are furious or hungry, certain chemical signals are produced. This implies that the same signaling pathways in our brain are activated when we are hungry and furious, making it difficult to discriminate between the two emotions. Therefore, the churning in our stomachs is mistaken for an emotion by our brains.

Nevertheless, it is possible to take action to prevent sentiments and physical status from being confused. Researchers at North Carolina University investigated how individuals cope with hunger and discovered that those who were conscious of their hunger were better able to classify and manage their emotions. On the other hand, those who didn’t consider their sentiments battled with rage and aggressiveness more often.

Keep food with you at all times

With food that can be swiftly turned into ATP, the molecular energy carrier of our cells, inner balance and equilibrium are restored. For instance, glucose or sweet fruit fall within this category. These meals include glucose, a kind of sugar that our body can use as energy very rapidly.

It might also be beneficial to take stock of your emotional condition and remind yourself that you are only responding this way because you are hungry since there isn’t any food available right now. However, as this is often challenging, particularly when you’re hangry, it is usually preferable to have a little snack with you.

By Bertie Atkinson

Bertie Atkinson is a history writer at Malevus. He writes about diverse subjects in history, from ancient civilizations to world wars. In his free time, he enjoys reading, watching Netflix, and playing chess.