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Eat Something Before You Get Too Hungry Or You May Get Hangry

Eat Something Before You Get Too Hungry Or You May Get Hangry

Your last meal was a while ago and you find your stomach is rumbling — but this is not all. You also begin to feel yourself getting testy and agitated. You snap at your partner or someone at work and immediately regret it and wonder why you felt so angry. Does this sound familiar?

You may be suffering from something called “hangry”; the word is a combination of hungry and angry. This is a phenomenon where some individuals feel irritable and short-tempered when they have gone too long without food.

But why does hanger occur? What happens inside our bodies to cause us to get so angry when we are in need of food?

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What happens in our body when we are hangry?

Your brain is solely dependent on glucose in order to function. If the blood-glucose levels drop enough, the brain reads this as a life-threatening event. You may have experienced a lapse in concentration or you may have found yourself making silly mistakes when you are hungry. When your blood-glucose levels drop, your brain cannot function to its maximum capacity.

Another thing you may have noticed is that when you are hungry, you become less able to abide by social norms. For example, you may snap at friends or be bad-tempered with your work mates.

How is glucose produced?

Glucose (and other simple sugars) are produced when you eat carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Amino acids and free fatty acids are also created. After you eat simple sugars, amino acids and free fatty acids pass into your bloodstream and are taken up and used as energy by your organs and tissues. The blood-glucose level in your blood drops as time passes since you last ate.

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Glucose counter-regulatory response

There is another reason that you may become hangry when you get hungry. This is due to the glucose counter-regulatory response.

When your blood-glucose levels fall below a certain level, your brain sends out messages to various organs in your body to synthesize and release hormones. These hormones work to increase the levels of glucose in your blood.

Four hormones are released. One of these hormones is adrenaline. Adrenaline is a stress hormone that is released into the blood stream in various stressful situations. You may have heard of the “fight or flight” response that can occur when you are scared or see something threatening. Well, adrenaline is one of the main hormones released into the blood stream during a “fight or flight” situation. During such situations, you may find yourself tempted to scream in anger; a similar feeling can be elicited when adrenaline is released during the glucose counter-regulatory response.

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Hunger, anger, and Neuropeptide Y

When nutrient levels in the body get low and you experience hunger, the brain releases a chemical called neuropeptide Y. Neuropeptide Y does a few things, including causing us to eat more. Neuropeptide Y also acts on various receptors; one of which is the Y1 receptor.

Neuropeptide Y and the Y1 receptor not only control hunger, they also work to regulate anger and aggression. Some people may show more impulsive, rash, and aggressive behavior because they have high levels of neuropeptide Y in their cerebrospinal fluid.

What to do to prevent hanger

The best way to deal with hanger is to eat something before you feel yourself getting very hungry. It is best to eat something nutrient-rich, as this will help to relieve the hunger for as long as possible. Junk foods will increase the blood-glucose levels in your body but only for a very short time; soon, the blood-glucose levels will drop rapidly and you will be left feeling hungry again.

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Eating straight after you wake up

Eating breakfast can help improve your mood and cognition. It is advisable to eat breakfast within an hour of waking up. You are less likely to overeat later in the day if you eat a good breakfast early in the morning.

So, what is best to eat in the morning? Ideally, you should eat a balance of whole grain carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fat. You should avoid high-sugar and processed foods.

As we have seen, there are various reasons you may experience hanger when you haven’t eaten in a while. The best way to prevent hanger is to eat before you get too hungry. Also, eating a good breakfast can help to ward of hanger before it creeps up.

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Rebecca Beris

Rebecca is a wellness and lifestyle writer at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on April 8, 2020

Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

Assuming positive intent is an important contributor to quality of life.

Most people appreciate the dividends such a mindset produces in the realm of relationships. How can relationships flourish when you don’t assume intentions that may or may not be there? And how their partner can become an easier person to be around as a result of such a shift? Less appreciated in the GTD world, however, is the productivity aspect of this “assume positive intent” perspective.

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Most of us are guilty of letting our minds get distracted, our energy sapped, or our harmony compromised by thinking about what others woulda, coulda, shoulda.  How we got wronged by someone else.  How a friend could have been more respectful.  How a family member could have been less selfish.

However, once we evolve to understanding the folly of this mindset, we feel freer and we become more productive professionally due to the minimization of unhelpful, distracting thoughts.

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The leap happens when we realize two things:

  1. The self serving benefit from giving others the benefit of the doubt.
  2. The logic inherent in the assumption that others either have many things going on in their lives paving the way for misunderstandings.

Needless to say, this mindset does not mean that we ought to not confront people that are creating havoc in our world.  There are times when we need to call someone out for inflicting harm in our personal lives or the lives of others.

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Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of Pepsi, says it best in an interview with Fortune magazine:

My father was an absolutely wonderful human being. From ecent emailhim I learned to always assume positive intent. Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different. When you assume negative intent, you’re angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed. Your emotional quotient goes up because you are no longer almost random in your response. You don’t get defensive. You don’t scream. You are trying to understand and listen because at your basic core you are saying, ‘Maybe they are saying something to me that I’m not hearing.’ So ‘assume positive intent’ has been a huge piece of advice for me.

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In business, sometimes in the heat of the moment, people say things. You can either misconstrue what they’re saying and assume they are trying to put you down, or you can say, ‘Wait a minute. Let me really get behind what they are saying to understand whether they’re reacting because they’re hurt, upset, confused, or they don’t understand what it is I’ve asked them to do.’ If you react from a negative perspective – because you didn’t like the way they reacted – then it just becomes two negatives fighting each other. But when you assume positive intent, I think often what happens is the other person says, ‘Hey, wait a minute, maybe I’m wrong in reacting the way I do because this person is really making an effort.

“Assume positive intent” is definitely a top quality of life’s best practice among the people I have met so far. The reasons are obvious. It will make you feel better, your relationships will thrive and it’s an approach more greatly aligned with reality.  But less understood is how such a shift in mindset brings your professional game to a different level.

Not only does such a shift make you more likable to your colleagues, but it also unleashes your talents further through a more focused, less distracted mind.

More Tips About Building Positive Relationships

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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