Health Tips

Hangry: The Connection Between Appetite and Emotions

why you feel hangry

You may have heard someone point to their hunger as the reason for their anger – this combined phrase, “hangry” is a real thing (though that’s not a medical name for it).

There is a connection between your appetite and your emotions but you may have never realized how this process occurs.

What creates the feeling of hunger?

If you have not eaten in a while the feeling of hunger will be set on by the “hypothalamus, your blood sugar level, how empty your stomach and intestines are, and certain hormone levels in your body” – University of Michigan.

The hypothalamus is the part of your brain that regulates your autonomic nervous system functions – like hunger.

How does your body fight hunger?

If you have still not eaten, your body will attempt to counteract your lowered blood sugar by releasing the hormone cortisol and epinephrine to help you regain normal blood sugar.

The problem is, these hormones can cause you irritability.

Why do I crave sugary foods when I am hangry?

Again, this is because of your lowered blood sugar. When your blood sugar drops low between meals you will instinctually reach for something that will quickly raise your blood sugar – like sweets.

However, everyone is different. There are different points at which everyone’s low glucose will trigger this response, and most importantly a variance in how much these hormones will impact your emotions.