Why do we get angry when we’re hungry?

Why do we get angry when were hungry

It’s difficult to stay calm when hunger is gnawing. This is why according to our dietician.

Who has never been grumpy or even completely unpleasant when hungry? It’s not a character trait : “Irritability caused by hunger is physiologically normal and common to everyone.”, immediately reassures Aurélie Tetzlaff, dietitian-nutritionist. This phenomenon has also been studied by scientists, notably in a Canadian study published in Psychopharmacology. By analyzing rats deprived of food, the researchers were able to analyze the impact on mood and the mechanisms involved when there is food deprivation. These researchers named this famous emotional state “hangry“, a neologism composed of English words “angry” for “angry” and “hungry” for “hungry”. In French, we can speak of “anger of the empty stomach“or of”crolera“. This is explained by the combination of three factors physiological and psychological:

1. A sign of hypoglycemia

When we are hungry, we have low blood glucose levels, in other words hypoglycemia. “Glucose is the brain’s main source of energy. When this glucose level is low, the brain functions less well and its ability to manage stress and emotions is impacted.“, describes the dietician. When we are in hypoglycemia: we are more nervousmore irritable and less focused.

2. An exaggerated appetite

When we are hungry, the body releases hormones which ghrelin (the hormone that triggers the feeling of hunger) which is mainly secreted by the stomach when it is empty and needs food. “This hormone acts by stimulating the hypothalamusan area of ​​the brain involved in the regulation of appetite but also eating behavior. In excess, this hormone causes an exaggerated appetite“, describes the dietetics expert.

3. A release of the stress hormone

When we are hungry, our ability to control impulses is scaled down. The feeling of hunger drowns out everything else (the famous saying of Jean de la Fontaine “hungry stomach has no ear”) and can create additional stress which can make us likely to overreact or overreact in situations that do not ordinarily bother us. In other words, we don’t have the same perspective when we have an empty stomach as when we have a full stomach. In fact, when we are full, the body secretes feel-good hormones like serotonin whereas when we are hungry, the body produces more cortisol, a hormone that we associate with stress and which contributes to the feeling of irritability. “Concretely, cortisol helps mobilize the body’s energy resources to deal with stressful situations. It ensures normal blood glucose levels are maintained to provide energy to vital organs“, explains our interlocutor.

Don’t wait until you’re hungry to eat

For avoid these episodes of irritabilityyou should not wait until you are hungry to eat, reduce as much as possible big spikes in blood sugar (eat whole grains, avoid industrial or processed foods, avoid foods rich in sugar outside of meals, do not skip meals, etc.) and make sure you get good sleep, because while you sleep, the body product of leptina hormone that suppresses appetite.