The health communications field is overflowing with medical
terms and slang. It is essential that as health communicators, we
educate the general public about such terms so they can make
informed health decisions. One of the slang terms that recently
found its way to
the Oxford English Dictionary's list for word of the year is
Being "hangry" can be defined as a feeling or showing anger
caused by hunger (it's a clever combination of hungry and angry-and
we do love our combination words!). Although this may seem like
just a slang term used to make fun of your friends who cop an
attitude when they need a snack, there is a growing body of
evidence suggesting that the state of hanger is a real condition.
Anger itself is not necessarily good for positive behaviors and
objective decision making; being angry and hungry only worsens the
Here's the scoop (pun intended!), our brains and bodies are
dependent on energy that comes from food, and when this energy runs
out, we may become hangry. Because this is a never-ending cycle, as
we need to fuel our bodies regularly, let's take a look at what
actually happens when we get hangry:
- Hungry brain: Hunger affects how our brains function. Without
energy, the chemical levels in our brains are out of balance and
our systems go into a
fight-or-flight response. Self-regulation and self-control may
be limited as we become impulsive.
- Angry mind: As our brain deals with the lack of nutrients, our
mind and our ability to control our actions may be limited. We may
become cranky, impulsive, argumentative, and emotionally
It is essential that we understand this connection in order to
re-gain balance in a healthy manner. Often, as we search for food
to refuel, our adrenaline level spikes and we may feel even
hungrier. We may go for something sweet-a cookie just looks so
good! However, this impulsive and quick intake of sugar may lead to
insulin spike, and this may leave us feeling moody.
these tips for suggestions on fighting of hanger in a healthy
Although many may think that being hangry is a funny incident
shared among friends, there is some medical backing to the term.
Understanding it is the first step to managing it. So, here is to
never getting hangry again!