The science of 'hangry:' Why some people get grumpy when they're hungry

A man expresses disapproval at his friend's table manners as she sinks her teeth greedily into a sandwich, circa 1940.

Story highlights

  • The answer lies in the body's reaction to needing food
  • If blood-glucose levels fall far enough, your brain perceives it as a life-threatening situation

National Health and Medical Research Council senior research fellow in the Boden Insitute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise & Eating Disorders at University of Sydney. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. CNN is showcasing the work of The Conversation, a collaboration between journalists and academics to provide news analysis and commentary. The content is produced solely by The Conversation.

(CNN)Have you ever snapped angrily at someone when you were hungry? Or has someone snapped angrily at you when they were hungry? If so, you've experienced "hangry" (an amalgam of hungry and angry) -- the phenomenon whereby some people get grumpy and short-tempered when they're overdue for a feed.

But where does hanger come from? And