First, you feel a pang of hunger. Then, it grows stronger. Before you know it, you’re not only ravenous for lunch but also angry at everyone and everything that crosses your path. You might think that your poor mood is all in your head, but believe it or not, “hanger” is a real thing, and not just an excuse for exhibiting bad behavior while hungry.
Though scientists haven’t fully cracked the phenomenon known as hanger, they have gotten much closer to discovering the scientific reasons why we feel so angry when we’re hungry. Here is what we know now:
One of the three “hanger hormones,” ghrelin is produced in the stomach and stimulates feelings of hunger. When you don’t eat, ghrelin signals to your brain that it’s time for lunch. When this stimulus is ignored, the “I’m hungry” signal intensifies, causing anxiety along with it. Feed yourself at this point, and the anxiety and ghrelin will disappear. Withhold food, and you’ll soon feel full-blown hanger.
Stress-Boosting Cortisol and Adrenaline
Cortisol and adrenaline are known for their association with stress and the fight-or-flight response. But, did you know that they can be triggered by an absence of food? These hanger hormones respond to low blood sugar levels, which occur when you don’t eat enough. Skip a meal, and your body will produce more cortisol and adrenaline, leading to loss of patience and increased heart rate and blood pressure.
Aggression-Causing Neuropeptide Y
By this point, you’ve hopefully had a meal or a snack, but if not, you will experience the third hanger hormone: neuropeptide Y. After experiencing a spike in ghrelin, cortisol, and adrenaline, the body will enter full-blown panic mode. In addition to aggressive behaviors, this chemical will motivate you to eat large amounts of quickly digestible carbohydrates. This could ruin your healthy diet, if you aren’t careful, so always stop hanger in its tracks by satisfying your appetite as soon as you can.
Westmount at River Park Apartments in Fort Worth, Texas is committed to making sure that our residents can live their best life! By taking advantage of our tips & tricks, we hope that you can easily maintain—and even improve— your normal routine.