A woman who feels hangry


Hangry: How food affects your mood

Breakfast is wearing off. Your stomach is growling. Soon, you are too.

You’re “hangry.” But don’t feel bad. It’s common to get snappy when you have an empty tummy.

So why does hunger make you prone to anger? It could be a decrease in your blood sugar, otherwise known as blood glucose. It’s the main source of fuel for your brain and every cell in your body.

When you eat, your body turns carbohydrates from your food into glucose and gives you energy to function at your best. When you don’t eat and your blood sugar drops, the result can be the “hangry feeling” that makes you irritable.

Hangry symptoms

Spot these symptoms before hangry sneaks up on you:

  • hunger pangs
  • hunger headaches
  • concentration issues
  • cravings
  • losing your cool

Preventing hanger

If you’re already experiencing hangry symptoms, time could be running out. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent hanger altogether.

  • Eat regularly. Delaying a meal is one thing. Skipping meals altogether is like rolling out the red carpet for your hunger monster.
  • Stay hydrated. Your brain can mistake feelings of thirst with hunger. Your body may need water instead of food. Bring a water bottle with you everywhere and drink water throughout the day.
  • Plan ahead. Meal planning makes it easier to eat healthy foods and avoid hangry feelings when you have a full plate. But you won’t always have time to plan meals. Consider bringing your favorite healthy snacks to hangry-proof yourself between meals, whether it’s the office, running errands or planning a road trip.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet. You may crave foods with simple carbs and sugars when you’re hangry. But the “snacklash” can come fast. Simple carbs and sugar give a short burst of energy that can lead to a sugar crash. Instead, choose healthy foods that give you long-term energy, such as nuts, eggs, fruit, leafy greens and grains.

One last bite

Now you know how to go from hangry to happy.

Planning ahead and eating a well-balanced diet sounds easy, right? Well, life gets busy. A dietitian can help you stay on track.

See a primary care provider if you have diabetes or another health condition affecting your blood sugar levels. 


Share this article


Get fun, inspiring, provider-reviewed articles sent to your inbox.

Sign up for our email newsletter