Why Do Some People Feel Hangry?

Do you ever find yourself feeling hangry, that combination of hunger and anger? It’s like a volcano erupting inside you, causing frustration and irritability. But have you ever wondered why this happens?

Well, the answer lies in the complex biological and neurological processes involved in hunger. When you’re hungry, hormones like motilin signal your body to start the digestive process, leading to those gnawing hunger pangs. And it’s not just your stomach that’s involved; your brain plays a crucial role too.

Hormones like ghrelin activate hunger-related neurons, influencing your emotions and mood. Even factors like your perception of food and previous meals can play a part.

So, next time you feel hangry, remember that it’s not just in your head – it’s your biology at work.

The Physiological Response to Hunger

To understand why you feel hangry, it’s important to explore the physiological response to hunger. When you’re hungry, your gastrointestinal tracts slowly empty, and specialized contractions, such as the migrating motor complex (MMC), occur. These contractions are controlled by motilin, a hormone that stimulates hunger pangs in humans.

Additionally, ghrelin, another hormone, activates neurons in your brain to signal hunger. Your brain receives signals from the stomach and intestines to determine hunger levels. The complex interplay of hormones, neural signals, and brain mechanisms, particularly involving Agouti-related peptide (AgRP)-expression neurons in the hypothalamus region, regulates hunger.

Understanding the biology and biochemistry of hunger, including the roles of motilin, ghrelin, and brain control, is crucial for developing interventions for obesity.

Impact of Blood Sugar Levels on Mood

Low blood sugar levels can have a significant impact on your mood. When your blood sugar drops, your brain may prioritize obtaining food, leading to increased feelings of hunger and irritability.

Additionally, low blood sugar levels can trigger the release of stress hormones and decrease serotonin levels, which can further affect your mood and emotions.

Sugar and Emotional State

When your blood sugar levels drop, it can have a significant impact on your mood and emotional state. The brain relies on glucose as its primary source of energy, and fluctuations in blood sugar levels can affect brain function and neurotransmitter activity.

Research has shown that low blood sugar levels are associated with increased feelings of irritability, anxiety, and sadness. This is because when blood sugar levels are low, the brain responds by releasing stress hormones, such as cortisol, which can negatively affect your emotional well-being.

Additionally, low blood sugar levels can impair cognitive function and decision-making, further contributing to changes in mood. It’s important to maintain stable blood sugar levels through a balanced diet that includes complex carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats to support optimal emotional state and overall well-being.

Hangry and Glucose Levels

Maintaining stable blood sugar levels is crucial for managing your hunger and mood swings. Fluctuations in blood sugar levels can have a significant impact on your emotional state.

When your glucose levels drop too low, your body releases hormones that stimulate hunger, leading to feelings of irritability and frustration. This can result in a state of being hangry.

On the other hand, when your blood sugar levels are too high, it can lead to feelings of lethargy and lack of motivation.

Role of Hormones in Hunger and Emotions

One key hormonal factor that contributes to the experience of feeling hangry is the activation of hunger-related neurons in your brain by the hormone ghrelin.

Ghrelin is produced by cells in the stomach and plays a crucial role in regulating appetite and hunger. When your stomach is empty, ghrelin levels increase, signaling to your brain that it’s time to eat.

This hormone then activates specific neurons in the hypothalamus region of your brain, known as agouti-related peptide (AgRP)-expression neurons. These neurons act as a control center for hunger and play a significant role in triggering the sensations of hunger and the associated emotions.

The Connection Between Hunger and Stress

When you’re hungry, it’s not just your stomach that’s affected. Hunger can also induce stress reactions in the body, leading to increased levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.

This stress response can manifest as irritability, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating. Research has shown that hunger-induced stress can have a significant emotional impact, influencing mood and exacerbating negative emotions.

Hunger-Induced Stress Reactions

Feeling hangry occurs when hunger triggers stress reactions in your body and brain. The complex interplay between hormones and neurons in the brain regulate hunger, and when these systems are disrupted, stress responses can be triggered.

This connection between hunger and stress can have profound effects on your emotional well-being. Consider the following:

  • When you’re hungry, your body releases hormones like cortisol, which can increase feelings of stress and anxiety.
  • Hunger-induced stress can lead to irritability, mood swings, and difficulty concentrating, affecting your relationships and productivity.
  • The brain’s hunger control mechanisms, particularly Agouti-related peptide (AgRP)-expression neurons, play a crucial role in hunger-induced stress reactions.

Understanding the neural and hormonal mechanisms behind hunger-induced stress reactions can help develop interventions to prevent the negative consequences of stress-related eating behaviors and obesity.

Emotional Impact of Hunger

The emotional impact of hunger can trigger stress reactions in your body and brain. When you’re hungry, your brain receives signals from your stomach and intestines, which can lead to a cascade of physiological responses. Ghrelin, a hormone involved in hunger regulation, activates hunger-related neurons in the brain, further highlighting the connection between hunger and stress.

Research has shown that Agouti-related peptide (AgRP)-expression neurons in the hypothalamus, a region of the brain, play a crucial role in controlling hunger. These neurons are responsible for the release of stress hormones and can elicit feelings of anxiety and irritability when you’re hungry.

Understanding the emotional impact of hunger is essential as it can have significant implications for your overall well-being, highlighting the need for interventions to regulate hunger and manage stress.

How Hunger Affects Brain Function

Hunger significantly impacts cognitive function. When you’re hungry, your brain doesn’t function at its best, which can affect your ability to think, concentrate, and make decisions. Here are three ways hunger affects brain function:

  • Impaired memory: Hunger can impair your memory, making it difficult to recall information or learn new things. This is because the brain relies on glucose for energy, and when you’re hungry, glucose levels drop, affecting memory formation and retrieval.
  • Reduced attention: Hunger can make it challenging to stay focused and pay attention to tasks. The brain needs energy to maintain attention, and when you’re hungry, it can be harder to concentrate on what you’re doing.
  • Decreased problem-solving ability: Hunger can hinder your problem-solving skills. When you’re hungry, your brain is more focused on finding food rather than solving complex problems, making it harder to think creatively and come up with innovative solutions.

Understanding how hunger affects brain function is crucial for developing interventions to combat obesity and improve overall cognitive performance.

Environmental and Psychological Factors Influencing Hanger

To understand the factors that contribute to hanger, it’s important to consider the impact of environmental and psychological influences.

The environment plays a significant role in hanger by influencing our food choices and availability. For instance, being surrounded by tempting snacks can intensify feelings of hunger and irritability. Additionally, external stressors, such as noise or crowded spaces, can increase cortisol levels, which in turn can affect our appetite and lead to hanger.

Psychological factors also contribute to hanger. Our emotions and mental state can influence our perception of hunger, making us more prone to feeling hangry. This can occur when we’re experiencing negative emotions, such as frustration or anger, which can amplify our hunger signals.

Understanding these environmental and psychological influences can help us manage hanger more effectively and make healthier food choices.

Tips to Prevent and Manage Hanger

To effectively prevent and manage hanger, it’s crucial that you prioritize regular meals and mindful eating practices. By following these tips, you can keep your blood sugar levels stable and avoid extreme hunger, which can lead to irritability and mood swings.

Here are some strategies to help you prevent and manage hanger:

  • Choose foods with a low glycemic index, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. These foods are digested slowly, keeping you feeling full for longer.
  • Incorporate protein and fiber into your meals. Protein-rich foods like lean meats, fish, and legumes, as well as high-fiber foods like whole grains and vegetables, promote satiety and help control hunger.
  • Practice mindful eating. Slow down, savor each bite, and pay attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. This can help prevent overeating and promote a healthier relationship with food.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Causes Humans to Feel Hunger?

You feel hunger because your gastrointestinal tract empties slowly after a meal, causing hunger pangs. Hormones like motilin and ghrelin regulate hunger, while neurons in your brain control your appetite and perception of previous meals.

What Is Being Hungry a Symptom Of?

Being hungry is a symptom of your gastrointestinal tract emptying and the contractions of the migrating motor complex. Hormones like motilin and ghrelin regulate this process, while neurons in the brain signal hunger.

What Makes You Feel Hungry Even After Eating?

Eating doesn’t always satisfy hunger because various factors affect your appetite. Hormones like ghrelin and brain mechanisms control hunger. Perception of fullness and external cues can influence your desire for snacks, making you feel hungry even after eating.

What Is the Science Behind Hunger?

The science behind hunger involves hormones like ghrelin and neural signals from the brain. The brain controls hunger based on what we eat and our perception of fullness, influencing our energy intake and weight management.


In conclusion, the phenomenon of feeling ‘hangry’ can be attributed to the complex interplay between biological and neurological processes involved in hunger.

The digestive process, regulated by hormones like motilin, can trigger hunger pangs, while hormones like ghrelin activate hunger-related neurons in the brain.

Our perception of food and previous meals, as well as environmental and psychological factors, can also influence our hunger levels.

Understanding these mechanisms can aid in the development of interventions for managing hunger and weight.