This week there has been some devastating news about altercations that have resulted in lines at fast food restaurants all of the country. A popular chain has recently added a highly coveted item back on their menu and people are going to great lengths to make sure they are not left out. If you have not guessed by now, this is indeed the Popeyes Chicken Sandwich mania. It was reported by TMZ that a fight broke out in line at the popular restaurant and the result ended in a fatality.
The catastrophic news has rocked the nation, and now coming into question is whether or not this could have been avoided. The simple answer is of course. We should not allow our emotions to rule our actions when there is no need for escalation, but in the heat of the moment, this seems to not be the train of thought. The way the story has unfolded has suggested that one person may have cut the other in line at the establishment. It is unclear who did the cutting, but the result was tragic, not only for the two directly involved, but also the dozen or more people, including minors and children, who saw it occur.
Could this be the result of being hangry, among other things? We wanted to explore this idea and see if there was any connection.
So, what does it mean to be hangry?
Well, the word is a combination of angry and hungry resulting in the descriptive note that characterizes when someone is so hungry and so angry at the same time that they are not in control of their emotions or possibly the things that unfold into the aftermath. Something takes over and they can explode over anything, it is the reason why people can get cranky before they have had their breakfast or something to eat. Experts have been weighing in on this issue and have since expressed that being hangry is in fact backed by scientific research, chemical reactions and hormones.
Health magazine interviewed Dr. Deena Adimoolam on the subject and she shed some light on the occurrence. She is an assistant professor in the Division of Endrocrinology, Diabetes, and Bone Disease at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and is an expert on blood sugar levels and their effects. Dr. Adimoolam explained that
“when we do not eat, blood sugar goes low, [and] the lower your blood sugar goes, the hangrier you are. It’s our body’s defense mechanism to get food ASAP.”
In defense, our bodies release the cortisol and epinephrine hormones in an effort to combat our dropping sugar levels. The issue arises because these same exact hormones can also cause irritability, crankiness and a short fuse.
So how do we fight the hangry?
Carrying healthy snacks that can help balance out blood sugar levels is an easy way to reverse the effects almost immediately. Examples according to Dr. Adimoolam include veggies, fruit and yogurt, but there are many more items that can be added to her list. Fast food restaurants should take notice and consider this fact when a number of factors like crazy long lines, irritable customers and the combination of extremely long waits occur all at the same time. It might be wise to consider passing out samples or drinks, something economical, in these situations to help appease customers and lessen tension.
What if you are out and about, how can we curb our hangry tendencies?
If you are out and about and feel that your hanger is coming, Dr. Adimoolam suggests avoiding anything that can try your nerves, but just until you have had a chance to grab something to curb your hanger. She leaves us with this tip, “get in a meal and your mind will be in a much better place.”
How do we incorporate this into real world situations?
One way to bring this all together, in case you are in line at a restaurant or similar establishment, is to make sure to carry healthy snacks with you everywhere you go. That way, when you are in a situation where your hangry tendencies are beginning to show, you can stop them dead in their tracks. The other thing we can do is avoid high stress situations until we have had a chance to calm down and get something to curb our hangry. That can be difficult to do if you are in line trying to get food as soon as possible — in order to avoid being hangry. So what do we do when it is unavoidable, and we cannot grab something to eat, try acknowledging that hanger exists and be more compassionate during those times to override its possible effects. Hopefully, others will take note to this alarming news about the popular chain restaurant and work to keep altercations like these from ever occurring. But if you are ever in a situation like that, get help, walk away and try not to allow the situation to escalate, practice compassion. If we all did more of this, the world would be a much better place.