Hangry — adjective; meaning “bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger,” according to Oxford Living Dictionaries. We can thank the internet for bringing the word “hangry” into our modern lexicon. Although there wasn’t a word for it until modern times, the feeling of hanger has most likely been around since the dawn of time. In fact, a scientist recently confirmed that hanger is a very human emotional state and honestly, we knew it.
Sophie Medlin, a lecturer in nutrition and dietetics at Kings College London, noted that science has long recognized the connection between irritability and hunger. She explained via the Woman’s Hour radio show on BBC Radio 4 that the feeling of hanger is a neurological response to a blood sugar drop.
When your blood sugar drops and hanger arrives, it can affect your relationships, your ability to complete daily tasks, and can even cause you to flip out at strangers (we sincerely apologize to the woman who was taking forever in the self-checkout lane).
As Woman’s Hour pointed out, we more often see media depicting hanger as a “woman’s emotion,” which is a sexist portrayal, to say the least. But Medlin wants to set the record straight: both men and women experience hanger.
“It can happen to anybody, and perhaps in terms of neuroscience it’s actually more likely to happen to men than women,” Medlin said. That’s because men have more neuropeptide receptors and higher levels of testosterone, which is a combo made in hanger heaven.
Medlin says the best way to avoid hanger is to snack between mealtimes. Eating something like a savory carbohydrate is the best way to keep glucose levels up.
Now that we’re feeling validated, we need to get our hands on a burger before hanger sets in.