What To Do When You Get Hangry

I’m sure you’ve heard the word “Hangry” being thrown around here and there. It seems that it’s the new ‘it’ word for describing the combination of being hungry and angry at the same time. Oh boy.

So, is it a real thing? 

Oh trust me, I know exactly what it’s like (and so does my hubby…oops.)

And according to Collins English Dictionary (yes, it actually comes up in a dictionary search), hangry is an adjective meaning irritable as a result of feeling hungry.

Is it supposed to be legit? Well, it’s in the dictionary but as a side note it did have a little (humorous) in brackets next to it.

So what is happening to me when I’m hangry?

Without getting into all the nitty gritty science of it, for the most part when your blood sugar levels are low, your brain goes into panic mode. And because the brain runs mainly off glucose, it’s wondering what the hell is going on.

In addition to that, your hormone levels may start to increase as your body starts to release glucagon, cortisol and adrenalin. The last two are stress hormones (sometimes referred to as ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ mode) which essentially are there to give you signals that something abnormal is going on.


On the flip side of the coin, a part from the physiology of it all, being hangry is also be a learnt pattern of behaviour or habit that you have become accustomed to in response to being hungry.

So what can I do about it?

  • Get some nutritious whole foods into your body ASAP.
    Being hangry on the one hand is simply a signal from your body telling you that it needs more energy. Often we will automatically think of the quickest, most convenient forms of food which include all kinds of junk. But try to avoid this, as sugar-laden and highly processed foods will only spike your blood sugar levels, before crashing down hard! Stick to whole, fresh foods.
  • Take a step back and observe yourself.
    Being able to remove yourself from your body even momentarily helps to bring us a wider perspective on the situation. Whilst it may seem like EVERY EFFING PERSON IS REALLY FREAKING ANNOYING RIGHT NOW, once you take a step back to see the whole picture, you will probably realise..it’s just you. Don’t judge yourself harshly, but also realise that whoever happens to be in close contact with you isn’t at fault either. They’re just an innocent bystander – just one of the lucky ones to witness your wrath of hangriness.
  • Hanger is simply a learnt emotional response. But we can change our emotions!
    Hunger is a physical signal, whilst anger is an emotion we feel. Being hangry implies that when we are hungry, we are allowed to be angry. And we now have a culturally accepted term that describes this particular emotional response to a bodily signal  Then we think this isn’t something we can’t change because seemingly everyone experiences it. But we have to remember that we can control our emotions! It just takes practice like anything else. Once we can dismantle our association with hunger and anger, we can begin to replace anger with a more positive emotion that will impact more positively on ourselves and those around us. Just because you are hungry does not mean that you have to be angry.

References: Health Check: The Science of Hangry

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About the author : Rachel Huxtable

Rachel was named a “health guru” by The New Daily, and is a pilates trainer and health and fitness expert. She has been featured in the Australian Swimsuit Calendar, Pumped Up Down Under, Lynx Swimsuit Calendars, Peppermint Magazine, Gabby Bernstein’s HerFuture.com, The New Daily, Tiny Buddha, Your Zen Life and more. Her uplifting approach to health and fitness has inspired women around the world to eat better, move better and feel better.

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