The conversations of life

Ever snapped at your partner when you’re hungry? You could be ‘hangry’, science says

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Researchers have proven that being ‘hangry’ – defined as a lack of food causing you to feel angry and frustrated – is a real thing – and why it happens.

The main reason we lose our temper when we’re hungry is because our blood glucose levels drop, making it “difficult for us to concentrate and more likely to snap at those around us”, according to New Scientist.

Scientist Simon Oxenham says this prompts the body to release cortisol and adrenaline – two chemicals associated with heightened stress – and cause a spike in neuropeptide Y, a chemical which has been linked to aggression.

“This can all have an alarming effect on how you feel about other people – even those you love,” he says.

The ‘hanger’ is real

To prove his point, another 2014 study of married couples that asked them to stick pins into voodoo dolls representing their loved ones to ‘reflect how angry they felt towards them’.

Participants then competed against their spouse in a game which the winner could blast loud noise through the loser’s headphones (not annoying at all!)

Tracking the volunteer’s blood glucose levels, the researchers found that when people had lower blood sugar levels, the longer they blasted their partner with noise and the more pins they stick into their dolls (very mature).

Dr Oxenham says one thing is clear – you definitely shouldn’t be making important decisions on an empty stomach.

That, and pack snacks.

Lauren Broomham

Lauren is a journalist for villages.com.au, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.


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