Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hungry + Angry = Hangry


-adjective -gri·er, -gri·est.
A state of anger and irritability resulting from being hungry. 

Karen: What is up with you? Your are being so annoying.
Nini: Ugh. I didn't eat breakfast and I'm starving. I am really hangry.

Have you ever been hangry? I'm sure you have. You eat a meal, but two hours later you're starving and complaining because McDonald's needs to throw in another batch of fries. To stave off this feeling and quit being the whiner in your group of friends, eat more PROTEIN and FAT. And by protein I mean animal protein, and by fat I mean animal fat, oils (olive and coconut, NOT vegetable or corn), avocado, and some nuts and seeds. These are the things that tell your noggin that you are full. You food geeks out there that want to look up the science behind it can google "leptin." Leptin is the hormone that says, "I'm full!" You know what hurts that signal from getting to the brain? Being obese. Yes, excess body fat reduces the sensitivity that your body has to leptin, something called "leptin resistence." 

So, how you best mitigate the feeling of being "hangry"??
1. Avoid refined carbohydrates (even things like "whole grains") because they spike your insulin and store body fat. Two hours later, you're starving because of the blood sugar crash and BOOM, you're hangry.
2. Eat more protein and fat. This helps the feeling of satiety through the release of leptin.
3. Get rid of excess body fat by doing strength training and short, high intensity training (NOT 30-60 min. "cardio") This increases your leptin sensitivity.
4. Stay away from high consumption of fructose. (yes, this includes both high fructose corn syrup AND multiple servings of fruit) Fructose also decreases leptin sensitivity. The good thing is that as you get your ducks in order, your need for "sweet" tastes decreases. Wait, let me say that again, as you increase your leptin sensitivity, your need for "sweet" tastes decreases. So those of you out there that say "I could never give up ice cream/candy/etc." well, actually you can. 

Don't get me wrong, I get hangry every now and then, but definitely less frequently than before my switch to a paleo/primal diet. And I get absolutely no afternoon slumps or crashes like I used to when I was eating pasta, grains, and other carb-rich foods. The roller coaster ride of energy has evolved to smooth sailing.

-Has anyone else experienced hangriness? 
-If you changed your food habits, have you changed your hangriness?


  1. I definately used to get hangry before I went Paleo, now I find my energy is higher and my hunger is lower. When I do get hungry its more in my stomach than in my brain - so it just hungry and not angry. Not to say it doesn't happen ever, but much less frequently for me now.
    One thing to add to point 4. if you eat lot of fruit at once (like a big bowl of fruit salad) that is a high consumption of fructose. So don't just eat a giant bowl of fruit, sprinkle unsweetened coconut flakes on it, have some nuts with it - add some protein and fat as you advised to balance out the fructose a little bit.

  2. Great post, I'm definitely going to try harder to do some of these things. Can you suggest some easy things to make/eat that have of olive and coconut oils?

  3. Shoeless, I usually fry my meat and veggies in coconut oil. If I use olive oil, it's usually as a dressing for salad, although I've been known to throw down a few shots of olive oil on more than one occasion

  4. Love the term hangry. I have that going on now with calorie counting. I need to eat more veggies and lift weights more.


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