Science Confirms Being ‘Hangry' Is Real, And It's The Absolute Worst
Everyone has experienced the anger that comes along with being hungry, aka “hangry.” Let's be honest — we feel this way on the daily, and it's no easy thing to overcome.
Sure, you can over-indulge to fill that empty pit that is your stomach, but afterwards, you're angry all over again because you broke your diet.
Being hangry is an emotion we feel deep down in our souls; it plagues us throughout the workday and into the night. It creeps into conversation and, for some reason, we have an immensely difficult time trying to shake this feeling.
But is what you are feeling actually real? Dr. Brad Bushman, professor of communication and psychology at The Ohio State University and professor of communication science at VU University, Amsterdam, Netherlands, has some eye-opening information for all you hangry people out there.
You lose self-control
Bushman explains, in an interview with Huffington Post, that the pre-frontal cortex of the brain is the part that is responsible for self-control — and to demonstrate self-control, it requires energy.
Regardless of the fact that the brain is a mere two percent of your body weight, it utilizes 20 to 30 percent of all calories we consume on the reg. Where do those calories come from? Food, of course!
So what does this mean in simple terms? Your brain requires energy to demonstrate self-control, and when there is a lack of self-control, you become aggressive.
In this case, correlation may equal causation
The first thing your AP Psychology teacher taught you in high school was that causation does not equate to correlation.
Dr. Bushman decided to put this notion to the test with two very convincing experiments that will force you to question everything you previously believed.
In this experiment Bushman, along with other researchers, enlisted the help of couples from all over the country, whom they monitored for 21 days.
The thing about these couples was that some participants suffered from diabetic symptoms and, because of this, Bushman's hypothesis was that these people would be less likely to sympathize with their SOs if they were pissed.
We're not sure if this is fortunate or unfortunate, but the hypothesis was proved to be correct. Bushman found that, “As expected, diabetic symptoms correlated negatively with cooperative behavior.”
The other study was conducted with researchers at the University of Kentucky and OSU, in which college students were randomly assigned to two groups: One group drank lemonade mixed with sugar (had calories), while the other group ingested lemonade mixed with Splenda (no calories).
After the beverages were consumed, the students were given the opportunity to blast extremely loud music in strangers' ears.
What do you think happened? Those participants who drank the lemonade mixed with Splenda were more aggressive than those who drank the sugared version — insinuating that those who consumed the beverage with no calories did not have the self-control required to stifle their aggression.
Hungry people are more likely to act aggressively to their loved ones
Everyone knows the best part of being in a relationship is having someone to take out all your daily frustrations on. Wait that doesn't sound right, does it? No, it absolutely does not.
This is actually the quickest way to go from relationship status to single. If this doesn't convince you to get your hangry feelings under control, I don't know what will. The last thing you want is for this to be the reason you and your SO split up.
Dr. Bushman's studies have shown that those who are hangry tend to act this way in the long term as proved by his 21-day study.
Being rude to strangers happens quite often, too
Based on the studies by Dr. Bushman, it's quite clear that hangry individuals have no qualms about acting aggressively towards strangers — at least in the short term.
This is sadly true; when people are in a bad mood, they tend to resist holding back the anger they may direct at people they don't personally know.
Cue to you overreacting when your barista messes up your Starbucks order. It's happened to the best of us — and the worst of us — but it's up to us to make sure this doesn't happen, or that it happens as little as possible.
There is a solution… but you're not going to like it
The key to maintaining a cool demeanor is ensuring your glucose levels are stable and high. By doing so, you are ensuring you have control over yourself, your reactions, your emotions and your explosions.
Fruits, vegetables and almonds are all great snacks to keep you happy instead of hangry.
Sure, you may rather inhale a family size bag of Fritos, but at the end of the day, you're just going to be pissed at yourself for eating poorly. And the cycle will repeat itself, over and over.
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