Here’s The Science Behind Why You Get Hangry


Doesn’t skipping meals make you feel amazing? Right, us neither. In fact, we’re much more likely to experience an intense flash of anger when we accidentally miss breakfast and then someone cuts us off in morning traffic. The meaning of the word “hangry” is all too real for us, and now science is here to back us up.

Hanger is a real phenomenon linked to a significant decline in blood sugar levels. When these levels fall, we can feel weak, dizzy, nauseous and — that’s right — extremely hungry. Plus, low blood sugar triggers the release of two stress-related hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, because the body has lost its sense of equilibrium without enough glucose to fuel the brain. Those two hormones don’t always put us in the best mood. Additionally, the body releases a chemical called neuropeptide Y, which makes people act more aggressively toward other people around them, according to a 2012 study.


All of this can link pretty directly to how you feel about other people in a moment of energy imbalance. It’s not unusual to find the little things they do more irritating until you’re a few bites into your next meal. And if you opt for crave-worthy foods like chocolate and potato chips, you could actually make your hangry attitude worse. So when you reach the agitated side of the empty tank, reach for nutritious, natural foods to refuel your body in the most helpful and stable way possible.

Obviously, the best way to avoid this feeling is to eat regularly. But when you’re caught in a moment of hangry weakness, just know that an apology to your friend or coworker after you make that snappy comment can easily amend the situation — especially once you’ve had a snack.