Is Hangry A Real Thing Or Am I Just Cranky?

Will someone please tell me ALREADY!!

We've all had those crazy-ass days where the burdens of life can feel so overwhelming that we literally forget to eat and even the smallest things tick us off -- you know what we're talkin' about.

In most cases, it usually ends with someone pulling us aside and saying, "for goodness sake please go and eat something you're acting so damn so 'hangry'". Heck they even made a Snickers commercial about it.

But is the term actually as thing, or are we just being jerks?

In the past, researchers came to the conclusion that once our tummies start rumbling it's normal to feel a little cranky -- and indeed, we're not ourselves -- as a result of low levels of blood sugar and various hormones.

But now new research has challenged this, suggesting there is much more to being hangry than just missing lunch.

In the study  it was revealed that while it's true what's happening around you matters a lot, there's more to feeling hangry.

The lead author of the study published in the journal Emotion, Jennifer MacCormack from the University of North Carolina, revealed it's not just the feeling of hunger that makes us feel moody, irrational and bad tempered, it actually depends on what's going on at the time.

"If there are negative or unpleasant things happening around you, then hunger can make these things feel attention-grabbing," MacCormack said.

In order to make sense of how our hunger pangs effect our emotions, the team of researchers conducted two experiments -- one online and another face-to-face test.

The first experiment involved showing people a range of different images that were supposed to induce either positive, neutral, or negative feelings, which they then had to rate. Among the pics were cute and cuddly kittens angry dogs, and inanimate objects such as rocks -- and the results were very interesting.

The researchers found that people who said they were hungry were more likely to rate images badly if they were first shown a negative image. But interestingly, hunger had not bearing on the way people ranked positive or neutral images.

As MacCormack explained, "If there is something actually unpleasant happening around you, the hunger makes that thing even worse, and almost makes you overreact."

The second part of the experiment involved assessing two groups of university students -- some who had eaten and some who hadn't. The participants were put through a series of challenges that were designed to tick them off and make even the most calm person crumble. Yikes.

Not surprisingly, those who were running on empty said they felt worse, stressed or even hateful towards the assessors. But in a surprising twist, some hungry kids, who were told to journal about their emotions, equally reported pleasant feelings about the situation.

So what does this information tell us about the phenomenon?

Well, as MacCormack explained, it suggests there's more of a mind-body connection between feeling hunger and anger -- beyond the physiological effects of a lack of food in your body.

"In that moment, your attention is externalised, and you aren't recognising how hunger is perhaps biasing your perceptions in the moment," she said.

In other words, hunger won't inherently change the way you feel, but it can definitely change how you react to everyday situations -- especially stressful ones, making it easier to lose your cool and react badly.

The final word: hunger is your body's way of telling you to stop and refuel -- we suggest having a packet of snack size Snickers* on hand to get you through. Soldier on, peeps!

*not a sponsored post, just a neccessity.

Feature image: Getty.