Culture Night is tomorrow, here are some of the events you can still attend
Culture Night is tomorrow, here are some of the events you can still attend

Megan Burns

10 brilliant films and TV shows we can’t WAIT for this Autumn
10 brilliant films and TV shows we can’t WAIT for this Autumn

Jennifer McShane

Alanis Morissette is distancing from new documentary that claims she was raped at 15
Alanis Morissette is distancing from new documentary that claims she was raped at 15

Holly O'Neill

Dulux have revealed their colour of the year for 2022, here’s how to use it in your home
Dulux have revealed their colour of the year for 2022, here’s how to use it...

Megan Burns

With unbroken sea views and an outdoor Jacuzzi, this architectural home in Kinsale is on the market for €2.35 million
With unbroken sea views and an outdoor Jacuzzi, this architectural home in Kinsale is on...

Lauren Heskin

Liane Moriarty has a new mystery book for your book club
Liane Moriarty has a new mystery book for your book club

Holly O'Neill

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle make Time 100 Most Influential People list
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle make Time 100 Most Influential People list

Holly O'Neill

Meet five Irish embroiderers doing amazing things with needle and thread
Meet five Irish embroiderers doing amazing things with needle and thread

Megan Burns

Saying you are a ‘stay-at-home-mum’ is the ultimate conversation stopper
Saying you are a ‘stay-at-home-mum’ is the ultimate conversation stopper

Amanda Cassidy

The Hygiene Bank’s Sorcha Killian on hygiene poverty and how it’s impacting Irish families every day
The Hygiene Bank’s Sorcha Killian on hygiene poverty and how it’s impacting Irish families every...

Shayna Sappington

Image / Editorial

Yes, hanger is a REAL thing, according to science


by Geraldine Carton
21st Jun 2018
blank

When it comes to hanger (the anger you feel when hungry), the struggle is real. However, recent studies would suggest that the struggle is actually a lot more real than we once thought.

You know the scene:

You arrive at a restaurant, anticipating a feast of delicious wonders. As you wait to be seated, you notice a little grumble in your tummy. “Hunger is the best sauce!” you chirp to yourself, affirming that the little pre-meal rumble will improve to the overall experience.

Once seated, you let the fact that the waiter took an inordinately long time to give you your menus sail right on by. When he imposes another ludicrously long wait before taking your order, however, you can’t help but notice the prickling of frustration. Your rumble is now becoming increasingly raucous.

45 minutes later, the waiter finally arrives with the food. When he presents you with a mushroom risotto – a far, far cry from the giant, juicy steak you were expecting – it’s more than you can handle. Mount Vesuvius erupts from within and before anyone can stop you, you are upstanding, demanding to speak with the manager, shouting profanities and shrilly informing him of the scathing TripAdvisor reviews that will be coming his way from your MANY Gmail accounts…

Because science says so

This sudden rage and tendency to lash-out at unsuspecting strangers (or indeed, at loved-ones) has been termed as “hanger”. As unreasonable a reaction as the above may have been, science now validates the reality of the experience using physiology, psychology and evolutionary explanations.

Sophie Medlin is a lecturer in nutrition and dietetics from Kings College in London and she recently spoke on the BBC about the condition, explaining how it all comes down to blood sugars. She states that  “when our blood sugars drop, cortisol and adrenaline rise up in our bodies”, which are stress hormones that come alongside a chemical called neuropeptide Y, which has been shown to make people react aggressively.

The decrease of glucose is also critical because glucose fuels our brain, which means that when we’re starved of this much-needed nutrition, our brain function (and subsequently, our mood) is impacted. A brain lacking in glucose finds it harder to control signs of anger than a brain that is adequately nourished. This explains why, when you’re hungry, you’re more likely to struggle with socially acceptable norms. Norms such as not screaming at your colleague’s swivel chair for being squeaky, or not snatching the first slice of cake just as the birthday girl was reaching over to claim it… Simple norms, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Some researchers have gone on to document the “hanger” trends in relationships, with one 21-day study from Ohio State University finding that participants with lower blood sugar levels were more likely to feel greater levels of anger and aggression towards their spouse than those with sufficient glucose levels. The participants displayed their feelings (somewhat frighteningly) through the use of voodoo dolls; the angrier and more aggressive they felt (as a result of their decreased glucose levels), the more stab wounds the “spouse” voodoo doll suffered.

Evolution

In defence of hanger, you can’t deny that it must serve as a survival mechanism which has benefited humans and animals well throughout time. Think about how our hungry ancestors would have fared if they were always polite and socially correct; letting others eat before them or offering their meal to some greedy so-and-so whose appetite remained unsatisfied. The odds of them living for long would be pretty slim.

Conclusion

The moral of the story? Hanger has real, evolutionary, physiological and psychological grounding. When the tummy grumbles, the brain fumbles, and it’s simply due to a lack of glucose in our brain that we find ourselves getting gritty after a missed (or a delayed) meal. Luckily, the remedy lies not in a pharmacy or a GP’s office, but in your nearest fridge/ cupboard/ secret treats stash under your office desk.

So go forth and forage, remembering that hanger is not a good look on anyone, it just makes people mean and irrational and jab needles into miniature, cotton versions of their better halves with disconcerting enthusiasm….                                                                                                                                                                                       

Also Read

blank
premium EDITORIAL
EVENT: How To Master the Art of Negotiation

We sit down with Negotiation Strategist Natalie Reynolds, discussing key tactics and strategies used to master the art of negotiation...

By Shayna Sappington

blank
CULTURE
Reality Bites: TV shows like Love Island are warping our minds

It may be the most unifying show on television, but shows like Love Island are promoting some pretty damaging messages....

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
EDITORIAL
‘Why do we keep snatching normality away from our children?’

This summer the government will allow my children into a bar, but not to their gymnastics camp. Amanda Cassidy on...

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
premium EDITORIAL
Join The Club to Avail of Your Complimentary Tickets to The IMAGE Business Summit 2021

Don’t miss this year’s IMAGE Business Summit, with an expert line-up, skills masterclasses, keynote addresses and more.Back by popular demand,...

By Shayna Sappington

blank
AGENDA, EDITORIAL
When speaking about ageing, we should follow Julianne Moore’s lead

Actress Julianne Moore is tired of all the cliched tropes about female ageing. The way we speak about it; the...

By Jennifer McShane

blank
IMAGE WRITES
The sexist commentary at Wimbledon still remains a problem

Wimbledon in 2021 and once again female athletes are singled out on the playing field, a great deal of the...

By Jennifer McShane

toxic
EDITORIAL
How to let go of toxic people, and the signs to recognise

By Niamh Ennis