Hanger is a genuine emotion so it’s time to be more empathetic.
Sophie Medlin, a Lecturer in Nutrition and Dietetics at King’s College London, explained the medically sound connection between hunger and anger during a recent appearance on BBC Radio 4.
“We’ve long recognised that hunger leads to irritability in science,” she said during her Women’s Hour interview.
“But the wonderful world of social media has merged the two words for us and now we know it as ‘hanger’. When our blood sugars drop, cortisol and adrenaline rise up in our bodies – our fight or flight hormones.”
Continuing, Medlin explained that these hormones trigger the release of small, protein-like molecules called neuropeptides, which affect the way the brain works.
“The ones that trigger for hunger are the same ones that trigger for anger and rage and impulsive type behaviours,” Medlin said. “So that’s why you get that same sort of response.”
Medlin’s explanation echoes recent research into the link between levels of blood sugar and various hormones that could lead to feelings of aggression and anger.
The research found that hunger causes a spike in neuropeptide Y, which is connected to feelings of aggression.
However, the study’s author also noted that further research needs to be carried out, especially since studies involving anger can be affected by people’s tendency to exaggerate for effect.
But even so, next time your feel as though others aren’t taking your hanger seriously, remind them that it’s an actual human emotion grounded in science. And the prescribed cure is likely to be a burger or vegan junk food – consumed as soon as possible.