Is 'hangry' a real emotion?

Sugar, Sugar
The source of energy on which your body depends
The source of energy on which your body depends
© 2014 HowStuffWorks

Some people have self-control, others do not. In recent years, scientists have linked self-control to nutrition. They say self-control requires energy. If your body is mining for energy and finds none, well, self-control goes out the window.

It all comes down to the amount of glucose our bodies process. The human body is a machine. Like all machines, it needs fuel. That fuel comes in the form of glucose, or blood sugar. Our bodies convert the carbohydrates in the foods we eat into glucose. The body then stores some of that glucose in the liver and muscles as glycogen. Some glucose is stored as fat.

When blood sugar is low, the hypothalamus, the portion of the brain involved in hormone production, among other things, gets bent out of shape, throwing the body's hormones out of whack and suppressing serotonin, a neurotransmitter. Serotonin has a hand in controlling mood and appetite. In fact, serotonin is often called the "feel good" neurotransmitter because it can relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety [source: Weaver].

If your body stops processing serotonin, your mood can shift. You can get tired or forget things. Your concentration becomes poor. You might even get angry. Still, your blood sugar has to drop like a rock (from 70-100 milligrams per deciliter to less than 55 milligrams per deciliter) for the Hanger Games to begin [source: Weaver].

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