Science Says That Being ‘Hangry’ is Actually a Real Thing

Have you ever been so busy that you forgot to eat? Yeah, we haven’t either. We love food, recipes and nutrition, but we are also busy. Who isn’t?

Maybe you’ve never exactly forgotten to eat, but maybe you’ve been hungry. Like, you’re at a restaurant and your table isn’t going to be ready for an hour even though you had a reservation type hungry. Or, you’re stuck in traffic on the way home, and you won’t be able to start cooking dinner until you get home type hungry.

You may have noticed yourself feeling angry during situations that prevent you from eating when you’re hungry. Or, maybe you haven’t. If you haven’t, ask your spouse or a close friend if they’ve noticed you getting more emotional than usual when you haven’t eaten in awhile. The answer might surprise you.

The words “hunger” and “angry” are commonly combined to form the term “hangry,” and if you’re wondering if “hangry” is a real word, yes, yes it is. It was recently added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, so it’s real word status is 100% official.

Not only is “hangry” a real word, but it’s a real emotion. As Sophie Medlin, a lecturer in nutrition and dietetics from Kings College London, explained during an episode of Women’s Hour on BBC Radio, “We’ve long recognised that hunger leads to irritability in science.”

Medlin further explains that “When our blood sugars drop, cortisol and adrenaline rise up in our bodies.” These are our “fight or flight” hormones, and these hormones impact the same chemicals in our brain that cause anger, rage and impulsive behavior. That’s why people sometimes feel angry and impulsive when they’re hungry.

Depressed housewife thinking what to prepare for dinner

Is “hanger” more common for men or women? According to Medlin, it’s more common for men. That’s because men have more of these chemicals in their brains that trigger emotions like anger and because men have more testosterone than women. Testosterone combined with the rage chemicals is a recipe for hanger.

What can you do to avoid being hangry? Medlin advises, “Ideally you want something that’s going to bring your blood sugars up a little bit and also maintain them there. So a sort of savoury carbohydrate type snack would be the best thing to have.”

We’re going to start keeping granola bars and crackers stashed in the car, our purses and backpacks just in case.

For more on “hangry” getting it’s own spot in the dictionary, check out the video below.

Have you ever experienced feeling hangry? Do you know anyone who gets hangry?