Research just qualified what you've known all along: When you're hungry, you get angry.
Simon Oxenham, who writes a column called Brain Scanner that sets out to sift through pseudoscience and get the real facts out, found that the body releases the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline when blood glucose gets too low. Add to that the fact that neuropeptide Y levels — a hormone connected to aggression — can spike, too, and you've got a combination of stress, anger, and hunger that's all too familiar to anyone waiting at a popular brunch spot.
Oxenham's findings mirror an experiment involving spouses and voodoo dolls. While the volunteers weren't subjected to long lines for avocado toast, they were exposed to undue amounts of stress and other things that could trigger aggression.
"A classic study of married couples asked them to stick pins into voodoo dolls that represented their loved ones, to reflect how angry they felt towards them," Oxenham wrote. "The volunteers then competed against their spouse in a game, in which the winner could blast loud noise through the loser's headphones. The researchers tracked the participants' blood glucose levels throughout. They found that when people had lower sugar levels, the longer the blasts of unpleasant noise they subjected their spouse to, and the more pins they stuck into their dolls."
While most people don't have a noise-blaring trigger at hand, anyone who's gone through hanger or witnessed it can probably attest to the similarity between an air horn and the complaints that come from an empty stomach. Oxenham says that more research needs to be done on the subject, especially since studies involving anger — with or without a connection to hunger — are often exaggerated for effect.
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