Are you one of those who becomes angry every time you are hungry? Then call yourself ‘hangry’. This state of mind and body is a new state of being, hanger (anger + hunger=hanger). This is a spontaneous reaction with some definite scientific reasoning to it!
The stomach and brain are interconnected-feelings of hunger and satiety are sent to the brain from the stomach. Hanger can be defined as showing anger when hunger strikes. Humans realize when they are hungry, their tummy starts rumbling and the head might start spinning too, but mostly ignore this feeling and continue their work until they are pushed to get up from their seat and eat their meal. Such ignored hunger symptoms make a person feel angry, more the time delay in feeding your hungry stomach, more is your anger level. Even a study has found the link between hunger, feeling angry and having low blood sugar.
The hormone ghrelin initiates hunger feeling in the stomach and also anxiety feeling in the brain which together initiate hangry feeling. Anxiety or anger trigger a person to seek food fervently and prevent further damage to the body. Ghrelin causes hunger and eating food satisfies hunger and anxiety never shows up. If ignored, ghrelin stimulated anger, pushes hunger levels even higher and disrupts other hormones in the body.
Low blood sugar levels as a result of hunger releases stress-related hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline that provoke a person to express hanger physically, emotionally and mentally. Physical changes include increase in heartbeat, blood pressure and respiration. Mental changes include temporary malfunctioning of long-term memory and also affects a person’s personality and self-control. Emotional changes include anxiety, stress, loss of patience and focus.
Ignoring ghrelin indications, cortisol and adrenaline spikes can initiate neuropeptide Y hormone that induce people to act aggressively towards other people. This also makes the individual crave for quickly digestible carbs and force the person to consume increased quantities of food. Summing up, hanger causes increased appetite, eating more carbs and makes a person feel stressed, all of these motivating the person to overeat.
Stopping Hanger Danger
Be mindful and look for clues. When you feel your irritation levels rising up, its time for a healthy snack break or meal. Never leave more than 4-5 hours of gap between meals. Such habits satisfy hunger, prevent blood sugar levels from rising and the emotional consequences as a result of increased hunger levels.
Always have healthy snacks handy, at office, while travelling or even when you go to your friend’s place. Any snack should contain all three macronutrients (proteins, fats and carbs) in the right proportion to reap maximum benefits. Our choice of macronutrients affects health depending on their composition in the foods we eat. Read more on macronutrients and their benefits at www.firsteatright.com. Whole-grain carbs help in raising serotonin levels and the fiber in them makes you feel full for longer time. Protein and fats also keep you full for longer. Carrying healthy snacks prevents you from grabbing any food (unhealthy ones especially!) you see due to increased hunger levels. Ironically, hangry people crave more for cookies, pastries, chocolate and candy which haphazardly increase sugar levels but never satiate a person’s hunger. Such increase makes the glucose levels fall as fast as it had increased. Avoid mentally, emotionally or physically tiring tasks until hunger is satisfied properly. Enjoy a healthy meal, indulge in some nutritious snacks or drink a low-fat smoothie to keep your mind and body under control.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.