If you’ve ever been “hangry,” then you know that hunger and emotions often go hand in hand. Many people have a powerful mood response when it comes time for them to eat and this usually presents itself in the form of being grumpy, cranky and/or short-tempered.
Recent studies into the link between hunger and emotions have shown that there is actually quite a lot behind this connection and they all have to do with what goes on inside your body when it reaches the point that it requires food.
To understand this how hunger and emotions are connected, you need to know what goes on inside your body when you need to eat. To start, all the carbs, proteins and fats that make up the foods you eat in your meals and snacks are all processed by the body so they can be converted into simple sugars, free fatty acids and amino acids – substances the body is actually able to use for various purposes.
The more time passes since the last time you’ve eaten, the lower the quantity of those usable nutrients becomes within your bloodstream. If they drop below a certain level, a signal is sent to the brain that indicates that you are reaching the point that the situation could become life threatening if you don’t get any food to replace what is starting to be missing.
The primary result – though it is important to note that there are quite a few – is that the body starts to physiologically change. It becomes difficult to concentrate, unnecessary mistakes are made and it can even become difficult to speak clearly. It also makes it more challenging to stick to social rules, such as avoiding grumpy or snappy behaviors when you’re around people who should be treated with respect and kindness.
At the same time, adrenaline is released in order to give you the energy you need to find food and eat it. That “fight or flight” hormone can give you an unsettled feeling and can make you feel as though you need to actually defend yourself or run from situations with which you would otherwise be able to cope.
The best way to keep this reaction under control is to eat before your hunger is too strong. Avoid sugary foods that will cause your blood sugar to spike and crash. Instead, look for foods like fruits, veggies or those that are higher in lean protein, such as eggs.