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The Science Behind: Being Hangry

Cover page- Sara Chaudhari

The word “hangry”, a combination of the words “hungry” and “angry”, was first used in the 1950s. You can probably guess what it means—if you’re hangry, it means you’re angry because you’re hungry. Nowadays, almost everyone uses the word, but have you ever wondered if the word makes sense scientifically?

When you eat, your body breaks your food down into nutrients that it uses to function. One of those nutrients is glucose—a sugar that is present in many carbohydrates and is our main source of energy. If you’ve ever watched the Flash, you know that Barry Allen needs to consume more glucose than a normal human because he needs more energy to run as fast as he can.

When glucose levels in your blood drop, your brain releases hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. The purpose of these hormones is to restore your blood sugar or glucose, but they might also make you irritable, or in other words, hangry.

Another reason why people get hangry is that the brain needs fuel in order to do its job, and it gets this fuel from nutrients like glucose. If it doesn’t receive the fuel it needs, it isn’t able to perform certain functions, including those that help us focus and control our emotions.

If you’re hangry, the best solution is to eat carbohydrates. As stated by Dr. Knight, assistant professor of medicine at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences (, “the quickest way to get to glucose is by eating carbohydrates.” Another option is to eat something sweet because sweet foods have high amounts of glucose.

So, now you know that hanger is not just an excuse people make when they’re irritable—there is science behind it. However, you can “cure” hanger by eating foods that are rich in carbohydrates or glucose.

Hope you enjoyed reading this article!


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