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Is Being Hangry A Real Thing?

All of us have, at times feel/felt hungry.  All of us, at times, feel/have felt angry.  Many of us have experienced episodes when both sensations occur at the same time…being hungry AND angry.  The expression “hangry” is used to describe this dual sensation.

Physiologically, here is an explanation as to why we start feeling angry when we get hungry:  When you haven’t eaten for a while, the level of sugar (glucose) in your blood decreases.  When your blood sugar gets too low, it triggers a cascade of hormones, including cortisol (a stress hormone) and adrenaline (the fight-or-flight hormone). These hormones are released into your bloodstream to raise and rebalance your blood sugar.  The cortisol and adrenaline promote more aggressive behaviors and to some extent, anger.

When we feel “hangry” the chances are small that we will be selective in our eating.  We will seek the foods/snacks that will provide the most immediate reduction in our bad mood and these will NOT be proteins and vegetables.  Rather, the “comfort foods are sought after, i.e. the carbs and sugars.

How best to avoid/reduce the state of being “Hangry”:

  • Eat several small meals throughout the day, or make sure breakfast, lunch and dinner are fulfilling and nutritious.
  • Avoid junk foods, which can cause another sugar crash — after they first incite a sugar rush. Nutrient-rich, high-fiber foods are best and keep you feeling fuller longer.
  • Have healthy snacks on hand — a few handy snacks inside your purse, car or desk can offer peace of mind if you’re worried about hanger rearing its ugly head while you’re away from home.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Stay hydrated.

And here is one more bit of advice: Do NOT watch any cable/network news…This may not help your hunger but it sure will not allow fueling of your anger.

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