Even if you haven’t heard the phrase, you would have definitely felt this emotion before. Often it hits you when you’re least expecting it. That deadly combination of hunger and anger arrives perhaps as you’re sitting in traffic in the morning on an empty stomach or in that long meeting just before lunch. And woe betide anyone that gets in your way when you’re running low on fuel.
What Science Says About “Hanger”
It may be surprising but hanger as a phenomenon is actually well documented and supported scientifically. There are a couple of observations as to why hanger is a thing. One evolutionary perspective says that aggression when hungry may be a survival related adaptation. The more aggressive you are when you’re hungry, the more likely you’ll be to get first dibs on the latest hunt. The second observation is that our neurons alert our brains when it’s time to eat. But if we don’t eat immediately, those neurons often keep firing, engaging other parts of the brain responsible for anxiety and stress.
How To Fight It
Foods To Eat When You Start To Feel Hangry
Nuts like almonds and walnuts are full of heart-healthy fats that are great for your brain too. They’re also filling and don’t really irritate the stomach.
Protein has been proven to lower the average levels the hunger hormone called ghrelin.2 Try eggs, skinless chicken breast, tuna, or tofu as protein sources at your meals. If you’re looking for a protein filled snack, you can’t go wrong with vegetable sticks and peanut butter. Even a glass of milk or a serving of low-fat Greek yogurt can help ease your stomach.
Choose vegetables to bulk up your snacks and provide fiber. If you’re on an empty stomach, however, you might want to stay away from cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, and kale because they can cause gas. Instead try carrot sticks, celery, bell peppers, and cucumbers.
|↑1||Bushman, Brad J., C. Nathan DeWall, Richard S. Pond, and Michael D. Hanus. “Low glucose relates to greater aggression in married couples.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111, no. 17 (2014): 6254-6257.|
|↑2||Foster-Schubert, Karen E., Joost Overduin, Catherine E. Prudom, Jianhua Liu, Holly S. Callahan, Bruce D. Gaylinn, Michael O. Thorner, and David E. Cummings. “Acyl and total ghrelin are suppressed strongly by ingested proteins, weakly by lipids, and biphasically by carbohydrates.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 93, no. 5 (2008): 1971-1979.|