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September 21, 2020
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Do you get Hangry? Did you know that for some people being hangry is a real, medical thing? I feel like I intuitively knew this already but since I felt the great responsibility to relay accurate stories of hangry to you all, I googled it and skimmed a few articles. 

When you eat, your body breaks down the nutrients in food into glucose which then circulates to your organs via the bloodstream. After a while the glucose in the blood has dropped. You may hear people say their “blood sugar” has dropped. This is also basically what is happening with diabetes, irregular blood sugar levels. While diabetes can be life threatening in a medical way, Hangry People can be life threatening in other ways. My 2.5 year old transforms into a feral beast when he’s over-hungry! He hurled a metal tow truck toy right at the side of my head last week and I’m sure that would have sent me to the hospital. 

Parents or married partners in the crowd might be very interested to learn that Hangry behavior is often directed at people you’re most comfortable around or take for granted. Hangry kids snap at mom; husbands snap at husbands; I snap at anyone in my house who dares to ask me where the remote control was left. 

All of this further motivates me to help you avoid a Hangy incident in your home. (BRB, I need a snack to keep writing this. One side effect of low glucose levels is a foggy brain and slow moving fingers on the keyboard.)

(Ok, I’m back and feeling much better). Are any super nice people wondering why you get ANGRY though? Your blood sugar drops and you also feel tired, unmotivated, and confused, where’s the anger coming from? This didn’t immediately occur to me because I’m angry even thinking about feeling tired but I googled it anyway and it’s so fascinating! Your body doesn’t like the glucose level to drop and there’s a sensor to monitor when that happens. The sensor tells certain organs to release hormones into the bloodstream and one of those is adrenaline. It’s the adrenaline rush that gives you a “fight or flight” feeling and turns your hunger into anger. 

Going a step further, hunger and anger are controlled by a similar gene in your brain. What followed was quite a bit of neuroscience in the article I was reading (which I understood just enough to be dangerous, so I won’t relay it here) so just trust me that Hunger and Anger are connected by neuropeptides and brain receptors. 

I like to think of Hanger in the setting of a “small plates” restaurant. Nothing in the culinary world gets me more riled up than sharing a small plates dinner with more than 1-2 other people (I could probably think of a few other things actually…but this is Top 3.) If you show up hungry but polite to a table where they put down a handmade ceramic plate with 3 tiny meatballs on it but there are 4 forks headed for a bite, what happens? The aggressive Hangry person definitely gets a meatball. The really polite person goes home wondering why they’re still hungry and out $100. (Silver living of covid, I guess, no one has invited me to a small plates restaurant recently!). 

Another great illustrator of a Hangry incident is between my kids – aged 5 and 2.5. They show their true animal nature when they’re hungry and food is 2 minutes away. My little guy has ripped fistfulls of hair off my daughter’s head in a Hangry Rage (yea, same kid who threw a truck at me…maybe it’s just him?). Evolutionarily, hunger and anger together makes sense. When food is scarce you need to get at it, regardless of anyone’s feelings or social norms. A cavewoman was going to work doubly hard to catch a rabbit if she was Hangry. 

Hanger is real. It’s not desirable and you can prevent it! I put together Hangry:A Cookbook just for this purpose. These are easy recipes, you’ll probably even memorize some of them! When you have a few go-tos you can do your best to avoid a full angry meltdown. 

As your personal chef, I can’t let you be hangry. Get the eBook now! 


(Here’s the link to the more in depth science behind being hangry!


Alison Mountford is the Founder and CEO of Ends+Stems, a meal planning service designed to reduce household food waste and stop the effects of climate change. Alison has been named a Rubicon Waste Fit Champion, was a finalist for the Spoon Tech Startup Showcase, and has appeared on many podcasts and radio shows, and works as a food waste consultant.

Let Your Friends Try This Recipe!