Hunger really can make us feel ‘hangry’, study shows

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Scientists from Anglia Ruskin University found that feeling hungry really can make us “hangry,” with emotions such as anger and irritability strongly linked with hunger.

The study is the first to investigate how hunger affects people’s emotions on a day-to-day level.

The research is published in the journal PLOS ONE and was conducted by Viren Swami et al.

Hangry, a portmanteau of hungry and angry, is widely used in everyday language but the phenomenon has not been widely explored by science outside of laboratory environments.

In the study, the team recruited 64 adult participants from central Europe, who recorded their levels of hunger and various measures of emotional well-being over a 21-day period.

Participants were prompted to report their feelings and their levels of hunger on a smartphone app five times a day.

This allows data collection to take place in participants’ everyday environments, such as their workplace and at home.

The team found that hunger is linked to stronger feelings of anger and irritability, as well as lower ratings of pleasure, and the effects were substantial, even after taking into account demographic factors such as age and sex, body mass index, dietary behavior, and individual personality traits.

Hunger was associated with 37% of the variance in irritability, 34% of the variance in anger, and 38% of the variance in pleasure recorded by the participants.

The research also found that the negative emotions—irritability, anger, and unpleasantness—are caused by both day-to-day fluctuations in hunger, as well as residual levels of hunger measured by averages over the three-week period.

The team says although the study doesn’t present ways to mitigate negative hunger-induced emotions, research suggests that being able to label an emotion can help people to regulate it, such as by recognizing that they feel angry simply because they are hungry.

Therefore, greater awareness of being ‘hangry’ could reduce the likelihood that hunger results in negative emotions and behaviors in individuals.

If you care about nutrition, please read studies about food that could lead to autism, and this nutrient could strongly lower high blood pressure.

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