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Sunday 17 December 2017

Niamh Greene: Be warned ... you really won’t like me when I’m hangry

We're grumpy if we don't eat properly
We're grumpy if we don't eat properly

Making tough decisions is something that most of us try to do with a clear head. But a new study has found that having a full belly can be just as important if we want to make the right choices.

The study, carried out by UK bakers Soreen, aimed to find out what makes people ‘hangry’– angry and hungry all at once. 

Participants had to listen to irritating sounds played on repeat for five minutes after not being allowed to eat for a few hours.

They were then given a snack and asked another series of questions. Initially, less than one third of those taking part could answer all of the questions correctly. After the snack break, however, almost half of them could. Furthermore, levels of irritation amongst participants fell after they had eaten.

None of this can come as much of a surprise. I, for one, know that I’m extremely ratty if I haven’t eaten for a few hours. 

My irritability levels go off the chart. If I’m even slightly peckish then everything and everyone can start to grate. I’m far more tolerant when I’m full, and I know I’m not alone.

So many of us no longer take the time to eat regularly that being hangry can become an almost permanent state of play. We assume that we’re stressed or coming down with something, but really there’s a far simpler explanation. 

We eat breakfast on the run, fill up on coffee during the day and don’t eat properly again until the evening. Is it any wonder that we can suffer from mood swings and make irrational choices?

So, what can we do to rectify the situation? Well, we need to eat better and more regularly, of course. Unfortunately, it’s no use giving ourselves the excuse to gorge on cake and biscuits because these types of carbohydrates release energy into the bloodstream very quickly, giving us a sugar high but also a horrible slump very soon after.

Slow acting carbs, such as porridge, release glucose over a period of hours, keeping us on an even keel and meaning we’re less likely to have an unwelcome hangry meltdown during the day.

It’s certainly worth bearing in mind. No-one likes a grump, after all.

Remember, if someone does something really important, like proposes to you, make sure you have a bowl of porridge before you say ‘yes’.

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