Have you felt your mood change after going long hours before eating? Have you felt short tempered or angry in situations you normally wouldn’t? If so, you were probably experiencing “hanger.”

The Culprit of Hanger

Hangry is when hunger meets anger, hence the word hangry. Though many of us or people we know have experience such case, what is actually happening to our bodies in this unwelcoming state? The truth is during this state our brain perceives a lack of glucose. After you consume food, it is digested into simple sugars such as glucose and thus increasing your glucose levels. When your body is low on glucose, the main fuel for brain function, you may experience hanger. Task that once were easy to cope with now tick you off. You begin to snap at others and feel annoyed. According to Dr. Amanda Salis an associate professor at the Boden Institute at the University of Sydney in Australia she believes being hangry is completely normal.

“Getting aggressive in times of hunger is a survival mechanism. If our predecessors just stood back and politely let others get to the food before them, there is a good chance that they may not have gotten enough to eat, and they would have died — possibly before they could pass their genes on to the next generation. So it was likely the individuals that were aggressive when hungry that had a survival advantage, and we hence carry their genes to this day, whether we live with a shortage or abundance of food.”

When blood glucose drops to a certain point, the brain sends signals to the pituitary glands, pancreas, adrenal glands to synthesis and release hormones that increase the amount of glucose in the bloodstream. In result, the adrenal glands are also responsible for producing adrenaline and cortisol which are both stress hormone that alter moods.

How to Avoid Hanger

The best way to avoid being hangry is to simply eat before allowing your body to feel the side effects of low glucose levels. Though it might be difficult to eat at times since you might be either at work, school or traveling, try to have a snack when you can while you wait until you can enjoy a full meal.