Hangry: Not just a feeling
Photo: Virojt Changyencham / Getty Images
When you are hungry, you are more likely to struggle with negative feelings.
This is a finding that has already found its way into normal English usage with the term »hangry«.
The word is a mix of "hungry" and "angry".
Researchers led by Viruses Swami from the British Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) in Cambridge have now been able to prove outside of laboratory conditions that this connection actually exists.
They evaluated the information provided by more than 60 adult test persons, mainly from Austria and Germany, who were asked five times a day via app for a period of 21 days about their feelings of hunger and emotional states such as anger, irritability and pleasure.
A clear connection between the feeling of hunger and negative emotions was demonstrated.
The study was published in the journal »PLOS ONE«.
So far, the phenomenon known as everyday experience has hardly been researched, it says.
It is not yet clear where exactly the reason for the connection lies.
One possible approach assumes that our brain is no longer able to control emotions to the same extent when blood sugar drops, explained the senior scientist Swami in an interview with the German Press Agency.
Another suggests that when we are hungry we react differently to external factors and find them more disturbing than after a meal.
"It's probably a complicated combination of both," Swami said.
However, he assumes that psychological factors play a greater role than blood sugar levels, whose influence in this context has been questioned by various studies.
As a practical benefit, Swami sees the fact that one can classify one's feelings better if one is aware of the connection.
"When I'm angry, I have to look for the source of this anger," says the scientist.
But if he's "hangry," then it's enough to eat something.
Professor for nutritional and health psychology Johann Christoph Klotter from Fulda University expressed doubts about the significance of the study.
Cause and effect cannot be separated in the connection between hunger and anger, Klotter told the German Press Agency.
According to the retired scientist, hunger can be an expression of anger.