Many have experienced unleashing their inner Hulk when experiencing “hanger” - a condition known as anger arising from hunger. But aside from being a humorous Internet meme, studies have shown that being hangry has an actual scientific basis.

Studies have shown that going for long periods of time without food lowers blood sugar levels and makes people more susceptible to seemingly impulsive and illogical bouts of anger. This is because the brain, which only accepts glucose as its fuel source, gets low on energy when it doesn't get its simple sugars. And this causes tasks that require higher amounts of brainpower - such as self-control and rational thinking - to suffer.

Furthermore, married couples are more likely to bicker because of hanger.

According to a study published in 2014 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, married couples were more likely to express anger towards their spouse when their blood sugar levels were low. Researchers studied the aggressive impulses of the subjects by observing 107 couples stick pins into voodoo dolls representing their spouse. The number of pins indicates a participant's level of anger. It was found that those whose blood glucose levels were low stuck more pins into their voodoo doll.

Researchers have also observed a strong correlation between violence around the world and hanger. According to their analysis, the rates of violent deaths and war in 122 countries could be linked to glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, a genetic disorder associated with low glucose.

But the inner beast can be tamed easily simply by keeping snacks on hand, especially on occasions when you need to go for long hours without a proper meal. Folks who have a tendency to eat only one heavy meal, usually dinner, and skimp on breakfast and lunch may also want to rethink their eating habits and go for small meals dispersed throughout the day instead.

Photo: Luke Addison | Flickr  

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