Yes, There’s A Scientific Reason We Get Hangry

ImageContent(562a2824e4b0443bb563844b,5629860d1900002d00b94b34,Image,HectorAssetUrl(5629860d1900002d00b94b34.jpeg?cache=iaXruyepXv,Some(crop_0_0_5142_2899),Some(jpeg?cache=iaXruyepXv)),Isu via Getty Images,Aggression when we feel hungry may actually serve as a survival mechanism, scientists explain.)

Many of us are all too familiar with feeling overcome by anger when we go too long without food. We even have a name for that feeling: Hangry.

Now, scientists are gaining a better understanding of why we feel hangry — and that knowledge may hold clues to improving treatments for obesity and aggression.

“Getting aggressive in times of hunger is a survival mechanism,” Dr. Amanda Salis, associate professor at the Boden Institute at the University of Sydney in Australia, said in an email. It turns out that this mechanism may have been genetically passed down to us from our ancient ancestors.

“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,” wrote Salis, who is currently studying hunger. “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.”

So, what’s happening in our bodies when we feel hangry? The feeling tends to occur when our brain perceives a lack of glucose, which comes from food, as life-threatening, Salis said. This causes the body to panic somewhat and to up its levels of stress hormones and a natural brain chemical called neuropeptide Y, which contributes to the aggression we often experience when we’re feeling hungry.

Brenda Bustillos, a registered dietitian and researcher at Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health, told The —> Read More