Hunger really makes a person angry and irritable

A new study has shown that feeling hungry can actually trigger emotions such as anger and irritability. This work is the first to explore how hunger affects people’s feelings.

Often people on a diet are called angry and irritable. But previously, no one could say for sure whether this connection has a scientific basis. A new study conducted by scientists from Anglia Ruskin University in the UK and The Karl Landsteiner University of Medical Sciences in Austria has shown that hunger is indeed associated with a higher level of anger and irritability, as well as with a lower level of pleasure.

The researchers recruited 64 adult participants who had to register their hunger levels and various indicators of emotional well-being over a 21-day period 5 times a day.

The results show that hunger is associated with stronger feelings of anger and irritability, as well as lower pleasure scores. The consequences were significant, even after taking into account demographic factors such as age and gender, body mass index, eating behavior and individual personality traits.

Hunger was associated with 37% of differences in irritability, 34% of differences in anger, and 38% of differences in pleasure recorded by participants. The study also showed that negative emotions – irritability, anger and dislike – are caused by both daily fluctuations in hunger and residual levels of hunger, measured on average over a three-week period (when a person has been on a diet for a long time, and then stopped).

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