Do you get Hangry?

Co-workers eating lunch together

Maybe you’ve skipped breakfast or lunch, or just eaten something like a plain donut. All of a sudden you’re cranky, irritable and unbearable to be around. What the heck is going on? In the same way we see a four-year-old melt down after a tiring day, adults feel hangry (hungry and angry) when their blood sugar dips too low for normal function.

A drop in your blood sugar, or glucose level, which is the body’s main source of energy, means a drop in your vitality and self-control, fueling not only those moody, food-seeking binges but a cranky outlook on a perfectly fine day.

Two recent studies1 explored whether being hangry was something real, or a convenient excuse. Researchers found that in fact there were connections between hunger and anger or other negative feelings—especially when hungry people were under stress.

How to Head off Hanger

You can help fight hanger by eating right. The trick is to eat meals and snacks that combine high fiber fruits and vegetables, whole grains and protein, as well as timing meals and snacks2. Ideally, always eat on a schedule to better control any cravings.

There’s science behind a balanced ratio of protein, whole grains and colorful produce that helps energy and fuel release more slowly. MyPlate for Older Adults has guidelines that offer food, fluid, and physical activity guidance specifically tailored for older adults3.

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