What is empty belly anger syndrome?

Lunchtime is approaching and in addition to having some difficulty concentrating, you are also slightly irritable, even aggressive. An “empty belly anger syndrome”, a real survival reflex of the brain, explained by Amanda Salis, doctor of nutrition.

Amanda Salis, a researcher at the University of Sydney and doctor of nutrition explains that it is the blood sugar that is at the origin of these reactions caused by hunger. Indeed, once consumed, food is transformed into amino acids, fatty acids and simple sugars, in particular into glucose, which the brain consumes almost exclusively. Once digestion is complete, the level of glucose present in the blood decreases.

It is when this rate decreases that the brain will feel in danger and give the alert as a survival reflex. A loss of brain function which explains the irritability, but also the difficulty in concentrating. Below a certain level of glucose, the brain will also release certain hormones, in particular adrenaline, again explaining our irritable side when we feel hungry. Here again, it is a survival reflex since feeling a “danger” in a situation of hunger allows you not to let yourself “waste away”.

In 2015, a study conducted in the United States on 107 married couples sought to measure their anger against their half: men against women, women against men. Each of the volunteers had a doll that they had to pin each time anger arose, and at the same time, the researchers took everyone’s glucose levels at regular intervals. The results obtained could not be clearer: the lower the blood sugar level, the more pins stuck in the doll and vice versa.


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