If I do not eat on time, all social standards seem to suddenly expire. My sense of empathy and patience completely disappears and if it involves a social event, it can sometimes cause uncomfortable situations. But how are you suddenly no longer susceptible to reason when you don’t eat on time? I did some research and discovered how hangryness is caused.
Fuel for the brain
When you eat something, the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in the food are converted into sugars (glucose), amino acids, and free fatty acids. These nutrients are spread through the bloodstream to the organs and tissues and used as energy. As your body consumes this energy, the number of nutrients in the blood will decrease. This is noticeable by a lack of concentration and muddled or slurred words. But it also takes a lot more effort to be friendly to your friends or colleagues. Which can cause you to respond snappily. This is because your brain is dependent on glucose in order to function.
A matter of life or death
If your blood sugar levels drop far enough, your brain sends instructions to different organs to create hormones that temporarily increase the amount of sugar in the blood. Your adrenal glands, for instance, will make adrenaline and cortisol. These are the same hormones that are also created in stressful situations, and especially adrenaline causes the ‘fight or flight’ survival response. Your sugar levels call for the same reaction as in a life-threatening situation.
At the same time, also your serotonin levels will drop as your energy reserves run out. Serotonin is a feelgood hormone that helps regulate emotions such as anger and anxiety. This explains why we sometimes react so unreasonably or stagnate when we’re hangry. For a fast boost of serotonin, it is best to eat bananas, dates, avocados, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds.
How to avoid Hangryness
The easiest way to prevent all this is to eat something on time or to always have an “emergency snack” with you. Your body will crave chocolate or chips at such times, but junk food usually causes a peak in your blood sugar level followed by a rapid drop. Which makes you very hungry again. So choose natural, nutritious foods that give you a full feeling without delivering excess calories.
Do you ever get Hangry or can you keep your cool when you are hungry? Let me know in the comments below how your behavior changes when you don’t eat on time :).