You know the feeling. You have been so busy, you just didn’t have time to have lunch. You were able to drink a diet Coke, to help you get through the afternoon, but now it is shortly before dinner and your stomach is not feeling right. You feel like you are ready to explode at anything or anyone that crosses your path. Everything feels like it is going wrong and you are angry.
You need to find something to eat, and it better have been 10 minutes ago.
You child walks into the room and starts to ask you a question, “What is for supper?” You explode, “Do I look like I am a maid, chef and waitress.”
You barely get the words out and you are apologizing. “I am so sorry; I don’t know what came over me.”
If that has happened to you, then you have experienced being hangry.
The Urban Dictionary defines hangry as “when you are so hungry that your lack of food causes you to become angry, frustrated or both.”
Why does hangry occur? A University of Cambridge study, published in 2011 in the journal Biological Psychiatry showed that “fluctuations of serotonin levels in the brain, which often occur when someone hasn’t eaten or is stressed, affects brain regions that enable people to regulate anger.”
I can tell you from experience that I suffered, or should I say my family suffered, from my hangry for many years. I remember many times doing everything I could to not blow up at my spouse or kids right before we ate dinner. I even knew I was doing it, but I could not control my anger. At the time I did not realize what was causing it. I knew that I was hungry, but why such anger with my hunger? I never left the house without a snack when I was going to be away from home for a while, because I never knew when that hangry would hit. If I didn’t eat, my anger seemed to be uncontrollable, plus my stomach would hurt worse for a long time even after I ate.
Scientific study aside, what I found was that when I changed my eating to plant-based, whole foods, and reduced sugar and processed foods, I starting feeling better. What I realized was that I was on a sugar rollercoaster. I would eat something with sugar or processed carbs, and I would feel better for a little while only to feel worse a short while later. I would eat something (almost always a sugar/high carb food), feel better for a short while only to feel even worse. This sugar high and crash cycle would continue throughout the day until it got to the point that my anger felt ready to explode.
So if you experience hanger, I highly recommend reducing, if not eliminating, all sugar and processed foods from your diet. Add in some healthy fats such as coconut, avocado, olive oil or grass-fed butter or ghee. Those fats will keep you feeling full longer. After a couple of weeks see if you still have hangry experiences.
I no longer take snacks with me. I can go quite a long time without eating and not experiencing fatigue, stomach aches or hangry feelings. I now know what real hunger is. I just wish I had done this when my kids were younger.
When was the last time you felt hangry? Tell me what you think causes hangry?