Health

Feeling Hangry Is a Real Thing


We asked an expert to explain why you get so cranky before a late lunch.

Ever notice how when your tummy is rumbling, you’re more likely to lash out at unsuspecting loved ones or even innocent bystanders? This sudden, irrational rage is often referred to as “hanger” (a combo of hunger and anger) and experts say it is a very real thing.

“When we do not eat, blood sugar goes low,” explains Deena Adimoolam, MD, an assistant professor in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Bone Disease at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. When your blood sugar falls, the hormones cortisol and epinephrine are released in an attempt to raise it back to normal. But those hormones also happen to lead to irritability, which explains why you’re so crabby when you skip breakfast.

Another hormone, called Neuropeptide Y, plays a role in hanger too, adds Dr. Adimoolam. Neuropeptide Y helps create a hungry feeling when your body needs more food—and it’s also linked to aggression.

Researchers have documented the hangry phenomenon in relationships: A study from Ohio State University on married couples found that the lower the participants’ blood sugar level, the angrier and more…

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