Medical Research Sheds Light On Hunger and Risk… Never Make Decisions Hungry!

6 Apr

Have you heard of the term, hangry? Even if you haven’t, I can almost guarantee you’ve experienced it. According to the Urban Dictionary, the definition of

hangry is: “When you are so hungry your lack of food causes you to become angry.”

Here is hangry used in a sentence: The service in this place stinks! I ordered my food over an hour ago. I’m starving and starting to get really hangry!

Come on. You can admit it…

You’ve Been Hangry!

We all have, and hangry is not a good place to be. Well, now research is showing how being hungry affects our decision making.

According to an article published by the Max Planck Society, hunger affects not only decision making, but also the perception of risk.

According to the article, “Hungry people are often difficult to deal with. A good meal can affect more than our mood, it can also influence our willingness to take risks. This phenomenon is also apparent across a very diverse range of species in the animal kingdom. Experiments conducted on the fruit fly, Drosophila, by scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried have shown that hunger not only modifies behavior, but also changes pathways in the brain.”

Studies show that animals are willing to take much more risk depending on how hungry they are. For example, an animal will only hunt dangerous prey


when hungry. If they are not hungry, they will try their luck getting a meal in a less hazardous way.

That seems pretty obvious, but here’s something that is NOT obvious… and even a little surprising. One study found that hungry humans took significantly more financial risk than their well-fed colleagues.

One obvious lesson here is…

Never Make Financial Decisions When You’re Hungry!

Of course, make sure your financial advisor and stock brokers are also well fed. Maybe call them and make sure they have a good breakfast before they start their work day! ☺

On a more serious note, it is obvious that blood chemistry is seriously affected by what and when you eat. Your blood chemistry is extremely important when it comes to both your physical and mental health.

Hangry may seem funny, but when you are hungry, your body is not functioning optimally.

Your muscles and brain are not getting the nutrients they need. Bad decisions and risk taking are just the tip of the iceberg. Not giving your body the nutrients it needs when it needs them can affect every organ and cell in your body.

Understand this: If you want to GAIN WEIGHT, being “hangry” is one of the best ways to do it.

Why? Because weight loss is best accomplished when you keep your blood sugar levels stabilized. This can be accomplished by eating small portions of the correct foods multiple times throughout the day. Often times, eating five or more small meals is ideal.

If you have reached the point when you feel hunger, then you are falling behind. Hunger means your blood sugar levels have already dropped. (Becoming “hangry” is a whole different level!)

But this does not mean you should eat as much as you want whenever you want.

The answer is to eat the right foods, at the right times, in the right portions.

Portion size is a BIG problem for most people. But, believe it or not, you can be “tricked” into eating or drinking more (or less) than you think you are.

Here is how: You’ve heard the statement, “Everything is relative.” Well, relative is a HUGE factor when it comes to how much you decide to eat.


There is something called the Delboef illusion. This illusion occurs when people misjudge the size of identical circles when they are surrounded by larger circles of different sizes.

For example, people will think a circle is smaller if the circle surrounding it is huge and vice versa.

Researchers found that the same illusion applies to plates we eat our food on.

When the same portion of food is served on a very large plate, it seems like less food than when it is served on a small plate.

According to an article published by the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, “For example, in a study conducted at a health and fitness camp, campers who were given larger bowls served and consumed 16% more cereal than those given smaller bowls. Despite the fact that those campers were eating more, their estimates of their cereal consumption were 7% lower than the estimates of the group eating from the smaller bowls. This suggests that not only could large dinnerware cause us to serve and eat more, it can do so without us noticing and trick us into believing we have eaten less.”

The Cornell article also revealed how we can use this optical illusion to our favor. Here is how: Serve the vegetables and healthy foods many people do not like on large plates. The large plate will make the portion look small and easier to eat. On the contrary, serve bad foods, like desserts, on small plates to make the serving size look bigger.

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