Danielle Sanders, Huffines Institute Administrative Assistant
Have you ever wondered how food affects you mood? If you have ever felt irritable or grumpy when you haven’t eaten, then you know what it feels like to be “hangry”. The term is a play on the words “hungry and “angry” and refers to the tendency of a person to be short tempered or frustrated when they are due for a meal. But, where does it come from, and why does it appear that only some people experience hanger? Science tells us that it actually deals with physiology and the body’s instinct for survival.
Your brain is highly depended on glucose to supply energy, and when it does not, your body perceives it as a life-threatening situation. The food you eat is digested and broken down into simple glucose molecules. The nutrients are transported through the blood to your organs to provide energy. Blood glucose levels begin to drop as time elapses after your eat. When blood glucose levels fall far enough, you’ll start to notice changes in your mood. You may also find it difficult to concentrate and may be unable to keep from snapping at people around you.
Some hormones also play a role in feelings of hunger. The appetite-increasing hormone, ghrelin, plays a role in how quickly hunger comes back after you eat. Because ghrelin levels typically go down for three hours after a meal, you’ll start to feel hungry again once they begin to rise. Additionally hungry people have shown lower levels of serotonin, a mood-stabilizing neurotransmitter. Low serotonin levels are also linked to anger and aggression.
Solutions for hanger are simple as eating a snack. Reach for fruit, nuts or whole-grain carbs instead to boost serotonin and keep you full longer. However to ward of feelings of hanger for good, if is best to not skip meals and make sure to eat regularly. By following these simple tips and listening to your body, you should be in control of your body to keep your hunger from turning to hanger.