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Getting 'hangry' is a real thing - and it's totally normal

HealthBy Sunday World
Getting 'hangry' is a real thing - and it's totally normal

Are you one of the many people who could do with a dose of "hanger management"? Relax, because scientists now say it's a completely natural survival mechanism to get agitated when in need of food.

"What's interesting is hanger is actually a survival mechanism," explains Brenda Bustillos, a registered dietician with the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health. "The amount of glucose available for the brain declines as more time passes between meals.

"Food is important because when glucose levels become too low, our brain triggers the release of stress hormones."

Glucose is fuel for the brain so when it runs low, it takes that as a signal it's "starving". As it aids our thinking abilities, even simple tasks seem more difficult when we're hungry, which in turn leads to frustration."

She goes on to add that there is a definite link between lack of glucose because of lack of food intake and limited self-control responses.

"When we're unable to receive food, we experience a physiological response that creates frustration," she noted. "In a brain lacking glucose, it's harder to control signs of anger.

"Acute bouts of hunger trigger the release of stress hormones, which makes it harder to manage our anger and irritability."

Luckily it's easy to keep your hanger under control - and the key is snacking. Stick to small portions loaded with nutrients, such as fruit, vegetables and nuts. This will keep your symptoms at bay and silence that rumbling stomach.

But don't go too far the other way and fall into unhealthy eating habits.

"Many people engage in behaviours they can control when dealing with stressful situations," she added. "Most often this translates into unhealthy stress eating."

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