Home / General Knowledge / Feeling ‘hangry’ is a very real thing – science says so


Via MetroWe’ve all been there – with hours to go between mealtimes, that furious rage bubbles up.

You’re feeling ‘hangry’: that’s when hungry meets angry, for those of you at the back.

Long thought of as a highly relatable old wives’ tale, that feeling of ‘hanger’ has now been proven to have some scientific basis.

According to New Scientist, there is a link between blood sugar levels and the hormones that trigger aggression and anger – when your blood sugar’s low, your rage is high.

As scientist and columnist Simon Oxenham discovered, low levels of blood sugar prompt the body to release cortisol and adrenaline, two chemicals associated with heightened stress.
Add to that a spike in neuropeptide Y levels – a hormone that can be connected to aggression – and you’ve got yourself a cocktail of chaos.

Woman with a coffee mug

Oxenham’s findings echo those of a slightly sadistic sounding past experiment.

A 2014 medical study pitted married couples against each other and, as Oxenham notes, ‘asked them to stick pins into voodoo dolls that represented their loved ones, to reflect how angry they felt towards them. The volunteers then competed against their spouse in a game, in which the winner could blast loud noise through the loser’s headphones.’
Sounds… testing.

That particular study found that when participants’ blood sugar levels were low, they jabbed more pins into their voodoo dolls, and blasted their supposed loved ones with noise for far longer. Charming.

All this means that you can fall back on science next time someone tries to delay your dinner time – otherwise you might just have to whip out the voodoo doll.

Bon appetit!


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