Feeling Hangry? A bit of science to help you avoid the grumps …

Feeling Hangry? A bit of science to help you avoid the grumps …

Sophie (our amazing in-house nutritionist) and I had a serious attack of hangryness on a recent trip to Nottingham! We’ve all been there, right? I am known to turn from Jekyll to Hyde when I haven’t eaten for a while, and I have learnt never to talk to my youngest son, Will, before breakfast as he just doesn’t function.

The definition of feeling Hangry (hungry + angry) according to the urban dictionary is: “when you are so hungry that your lack of food causes you to become angry, frustrated or both”.

But is this actually a real phenomenon, or is it just in our heads?

Fear not, there is a reason behind your mood swings! It’s all about the hormones (isn’t everything?!). When we haven’t eaten in a while our blood glucose levels drop. Glucose is the body’s main source of fuel and energy, and when it drops below a certain level it can affect a number of hormones related to appetite that can also affect our mood – they can make us feel anxious, stressed, irritable and can cause our concentration to waver. This is our body’s way of telling us it needs more fuel!

So how can I avoid this?

Well, this bit is simple … you need some fuel. The tricky bit is making sure you choose the right type of fuel. When we’re feeling this way, it is often tempting to reach for the quickest and most satisfying type of energy (think a high fat and high sugar doughnut for example) but unfortunately with this type of food choice the energy will only last a short while before you become hangry again. (It’s also not the best choice for your health either of course!).

Choose foods that have slower releasing energy (like wholegrain bread, fruits, dairy, beans and nuts … or Go Bites).

A handful of nutritious nuts will top you up temporarily…


On another note, in order to keep your brain satisfied, make sure your meals contain some fibre, protein and healthy fats to keep you satiated – they also help to slow the release of energy found in carbohydrates too.

Birchermuesli; Overnight Oats
Eating Birchermuesli for breakfast (overnight oats with nuts, dried fruit, natural yoghurt and grated apple) is a great way to avoid 11 a.m. ‘hangryness’ ….

 Getting hangry more often than not?

If you have just started a new exercise regime (perhaps you’ve increased the volume of training or increased the intensity of your training) you may find that you’re getting hangry more often. If this is the case you need to reassess your eating patterns. Maybe you need an additional snack in your day, or even to increase your portion sizes a touch to account for the increase in energy demands – but remember to choose the right type of fuel as above!

Hopefully this will prevent the hanger – your colleagues and family can thank me later…

Kate and Sophie – saved by the M&S sandwich!