September 28, 2017
It might sound like another made-up internet word along the lines of “adulting” and “FOMO,” but it turns out the ever-growing buzzword “hangry” has some medical backing behind it, too.
If you’re somehow not familiar, “hangry” is a hybrid of “hungry” and “anger” – aka those moments in the day when your appetite has climaxed and causes you to erratically attack friends and loved ones in a fit of anger.
Though it sounds like an excuse to snap at your SO, multiple studies show that your concept of hunger can actually be a real detriment to your relationships.
“When we do not eat, blood sugar goes low,” Dr. Deena Adimoolam, an assistant professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, told Health in a recent interview.
“The lower your blood sugar goes, the hangrier you are. It’s our body’s defense mechanism to get food ASAP.”
For example, a previous study out of Ohio State University observed the behavior of married couples when their blood sugar was low – i.e., when they were hungry. For 21 days, researchers measured blood glucose levels in married couples each night and used the levels as a prediction of whether or not they would fight.
Brad Bushman, the study's lead author, said it reflected the ways hunger caused by low levels of blood glucose can play a role in marital arguments, confrontations and even some domestic violence.
“We found that being hangry can affect our behavior in a bad way, even in our most intimate relationships,” Bushman said in the study.
Similar studies have been conducted to reveal the relationship between marital disputes and hunger – one even using voodoo dolls – and researchers have applied the concept to different relationships as well. One study in 2012 even suggested that judges who are hungry are less lenient on crime sentences.
Whether that last one is true or not, it seems safe to assume that avoiding hunger – and getting a good night’s sleep – is important in keeping your relationships harmonious.