Hangry – it isn’t just a commonly used phrase people use today when people’s anger is driven by hunger – research shows it is an actual thing. Even the Oxford English dictionary now recognises it.
Being snappy, picking fights, and unable to concentrate are some of the most common signs you are hangry.
Simple things can become difficult when you’re hungry and your blood glucose levels drop. It is harder for us to control our emotions when our brains are low on glucose, silly mistakes are made or your words become muddled.
When you are hungry your body:
• Runs out of glucose
• Releases hormones
• Stops producing other nutrients
• Starts storing fat
• May use your muscle for energy
The amount of glucose available for the brain declines as more time passes between meals and when glucose levels are too low, our brain triggers the release of stress hormones. And the release of stress hormones makes it harder to manage our anger and irritability.
It is a survival mechanism and we are animals after all! Putting some urgency into the need to find food soon probably goes back to caveman times of hunting and gathering or you won’t survive.
An easy problem to fix? Absolutely.
1. Keeping snacks nearby for those times when you have may have extended periods without eating, such as being in traffic, will do the trick.
2. You can also examine your eating schedule. If you tend to forget to eat during most of the day and have one big meal in the evening with maybe a light lunch to hold you over, try spreading out your food intake throughout the day. Be a grazer, not a binge eater.
3. It’s about having the right kind of food on hand as well. Combat hunger with a range of healthy snacks so you are never caught short. Fresh fruit, cheese and crackers, smoothies with whole grains are great at filling the gap. Stay away from sugary drinks and reach for water, milk or smoothies instead so there isn’t a crazy sugar high followed closely by a plummeting low.
Office fruit delivery businesses, snack boxes and dispensing machines were born out of the need to fill gaps in employee’s stomachs and waiting rooms the world over. We all know how productive people are when they are preoccupied with hunger. They’re not. Lack of concentration, grumpiness, talking nonsense and doing everything other than what they should be doing. These work colleagues can be dangerous and should be approached with caution.
No fresh milk supply delivered to your workplace? Don’t even get me started on how grumpy co-workers are without their morning coffee!