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When Hungry Becomes Hangry: How Hunger Affects the Body

When Hungry Becomes Hangry: How Hunger Affects the Body

african american woman eating a hamburger

This isn’t a joke.

For most of you, this probably isn’t a new term: you’ve seen it on the internet, in the funny e-cards circling the office, and you’ve even joked about it with your girlfriends. But this isn’t a joke: you have become so hungry that it’s affecting your mood. What else can hunger do?

The Effects of Hunger

We all know what it’s like to skip a meal: while you initially thought you were being productive, within a few hours the pangs in your stomach have had disastrous effects on your entire body. We’ve broken down what happens to your mind and body even if just one meal is missed:


  • Visual disturbances or impaired vision can be caused by Vitamin A deficiency
  • Bleeding gums and weak bones are signs of calcium deficiency
  • Your heart rate decreases due to low fuel, making physical activity even harder
  • Skin dries out without the proper vitamins and nutrition
  • Nerves in your hands and feet begin to break down with sufficient Vitamin E


  • Learning and concentration become difficult
  • Our willingness to take risks increase
  • Decision-making and analytical skills are severely impacted
  • Mood changes, usually towards anger or depression
  • Memory becomes impaired

That’s just the beginning—what starts as a rumble in your stomach can lead to severe physical pain and a diminishing body over time. Everything from your joints to your organs and immune system can be severely impacted. The longer a body goes without sustenance, the worse the damage becomes, so a healthy eating schedule should be followed.

According to doctors, that eating schedule should look something like this:

  • Have a small meal or snack every 3-4 hours to prevent blood sugar crashes and binge eating.
  • Combine protein and fiber at every meal to help you feel fuller for longer.
  • Move around and drink lots of water to help keep your energy levels high.
  • Every food group is important—so try not to neglect any.

Of course, everybody is different and your needs may be different from your neighbor’s. As always, come chat with us if you have questions regarding your nutrition or suspect a loved one may have an eating disorder. We’re here to help you feel—and look—your best!