Hangry is the clever combination of the words hungry and angry. It is a word used to describe being irritable due to hunger. Can you think of a time when you reacted to a situation abnormally due to being overly hungry? Not everybody experiences this phenomenon, however I am absolutely one of those people!
Since we are in the midst of diet season with the New Year I thought this was the perfect time to bring this topic up. Every diet requires some type of restriction of food. With restriction, there is often an increase in appetite hormones, increased hunger, and increased irritability. The only way to correct these unpleasant effects is food and more of it!
So, what is the science behind hangry? The images below depict the science of being Hangry perfectly. They are from theconversation.com and I love how clearly they show the physiological effects on the brain and body.
When our blood glucose levels drop too low our brain thinks of that as a life threatening situation and releases fight or flight hormones. This is what can impact the feelings associated with being hangry. Here are some images that illustrate this process.
Now that you can see what happens to us when we are hangry, how can you prevent this from occurring?
To avoid getting hangry I recommend the following:
- Eat meals and snacks at least every 3-4 hours
- Have balanced meals that include fat, protein, carbohydrates, and fiber
- Try balanced snacks that have two foods groups, i.e. string cheese and apple or peanut butter and crackers
- Deal with emotional or difficult situations after eating, not before
- Plan ahead. Pack snacks to take with you when you run errands. If you have a busy day think ahead of when you will be able to take time for meals/snacks.
- Don’t cut out whole foods groups, i.e. carbs
- Know your hunger cues. This is a challenging one for a lot of people, it takes time and practice to be able to check in and be fully aware of these cues.
If you feel like you are struggling with any of the tips above I am happy to help you work through this. You can contact me here with any questions!