Do you get “HANGRY” when you don’t eat?
“Hangry” is the slang term we use for those times we get cranky and even angry when we are hungry. Hungry Angry= “Hangry.” Some mood disorders can be treated by simply feeding that inner beast. Why do some people get that “hangry” feeling?
Hunger is normally stimulated by a low blood sugar. (See hunger motivation.) Signals from the changes in the blood sugar stimulate the secretion of different hormones and neural signals to the brain. The brain sends feedback to the stomach. The stomach contracts in response to the signals. Sometimes, our thoughts can become disrupted during this time. When we should be thinking, “I’m hungry, let’s eat now,” we often times ignore this sensation. We all lead busy lives and sometimes we are not in tune with the hunger pangs and suppress or ignore the thoughts of eating.
We tend to train our brains not to think about food during times that are not designated for eating. The nutritional demands for our bodies change regularly. Sometimes, we need more calories one day and less another day. Some of us routinely skip meals or delay them for hours. While most cultures offer specific times for feeding schedules, modern day Americans are not always adhering to a traditional eating regimen.
Because of our erratic schedules and training our brains to ignore the hunger pangs and thoughts of eating, we often may not be consciously aware of when we are actually hungry. Hours can pass by quickly when we are distracted with work, technology, daily problems, long movies, etc. And then that “hangry” feeling hits – we become so hungry and frustrated that everything around us is irritating. We get angry at the littlest things – all because we are starving!
Most of the time, these feelings of anger can be simply treated by consuming a snack. Immediately after eating, the blood sugar rises, the blood glucose goes to the brain to allow rational thoughts to return. If you get the “hangry” feeling, it is important to eat a small snack every 2-3 hours to maintain a healthy blood sugar level. The snack should contain a protein, carbohydrate and fat; such as; an apple with peanut butter, cheese and crackers, hummus and carrot sticks, 1/2 a turkey sandwich, etc.
Some individuals may have severe hypoglycemia, where their blood sugar levels get down to a very low critical level. While eating often helps to increase blood sugar levels, it is important to get checked by your doctor to rule out severe hypoglycemia and other associated disorders such as, an insulinoma, pancreatic disorder, diabetes, or other hormonal/metabolic issue, or mood disorder. It is important to get checked by your primary care physician for annual lab work.
If you need a check up, call (602) 363-1631 or click on the online appointment link to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gartenberg. We do our best to accommodate same day and next day appointments – even for new patients! Modern Family Medicine is a unique traditional medicine plus holistic care practice located in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale, Arizona.