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Is "Hangry" Real?

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When you’re overly hungry, your stomach isn’t the only thing that gets growly—empty bellies tend to make some of us more irritable. Snickers has even framed a successful marketing campaign around it.

But is hangry a real thing?

Absolutely. There’s a physiological reason that our mood drops when our hunger level goes up, and it involves your blood glucose. It’s the same reason why diabetics can become moody or confused when their blood sugar levels are low.

Our bodies process the food we eat into amino acids, fats, and simple sugars, like glucose. We use these nutrients for energy, and when they run out, our bodies respond accordingly. Specifically, the brain depends on glucose to function, so when those levels drop, your gray matter goes a little haywire. You may stutter or slur your words, find it hard to concentrate, and make simple mistakes. Your may feel dizzy, shaky, or anxious. Or you may get enraged about things you wouldn’t normally get angry about.

Some people have more trouble regulating their blood glucose than others, so they experience that hangry sensation more often, and more intensely, than others. The correlation between low blood sugar and anger is so strong, in fact, that a 1984 study was able to predict violence from people who had problems regulating their blood glucose.

Another factor that contributes to the hangry feeling is when your body tries to respond to the low blood sugar. When glucose runs low, your brain sends messages to certain organs to kick in to get your levels back up. This triggers your adrenaline, and adrenaline can make you rather quick to get angry.

So, the next time that hangry feeling strikes, what should you do? Eat, obviously—but not all food is created equal. A quick fix is to consume something really sugary—but that's also likely to cause a brief spike in your blood sugar, followed by a crash. Nutrient-rich foods that keep you sated for longer and stabilize your blood sugar are your best bet: Hummus, nuts, avocado, Greek yogurt, eggs, and cottage cheese are all great options.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com

[h/t: The Conversation]

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How Are Royal Babies Named?
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Jack Taylor, Getty Images

After much anticipation, England's royal family has finally received a tiny new addition. The birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's second son was confirmed by Kensington Palace on April 23, but the name of the royal newborn has yet to be announced. For the heir to the British throne and his wife, choosing a name for their third child—who is already fifth in line to the throne—likely won't be as easy as flipping through a baby name book; it's tradition for royals to select names that honor important figures from British history.

According to ABC WJLA, selecting three or four names is typical when naming a royal baby. Will and Kate followed this unwritten rule when naming their first child, George Alexander Louis, and their second, Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. Each name is an opportunity to pay homage to a different British royal who came before them. Some royal monikers have less savory connotations (Prince Harry's given name, Henry, is reminiscent of a certain wife-beheading monarch), but typically royal babies are named for people who held a significant and honorable spot in the family tree.

Because there's a limited pool of honorable monarchs from which to choose, placing bets on the royal baby name as the due date approaches has become a popular British pastime. One name that keeps cropping up this time around is James; the original King James ruled in the early 17th century, and it has been 330 years since a monarch named James wore the crown.

If the royal family does go with James for the first name of their youngest son, that still leaves at least a couple of slots to be filled. So far, the couple has stuck with three names each for their children, but there doesn't seem to be a limit; Edward VIII, who abdicated the throne to George VI in 1936, shouldered the full name of Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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Why Does the Queen Have Two Birthdays?
CHRIS JACKSON, AFP/Getty Images
CHRIS JACKSON, AFP/Getty Images

On April 21, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will turn 92 years old. To mark the occasion, there are usually a series of gun salutes around London: a 41 gun salute in Hyde Park, a 21 gun salute in Windsor Great Park, and a 62 gun salute at the Tower of London. For the most part, the monarch celebrates her big day privately. But on June 9, 2018, Her Majesty will parade through London as part of an opulent birthday celebration known as Trooping the Colour.

Queen Elizabeth, like many British monarchs before her, has two birthdays: the actual anniversary of the day she was born, and a separate day that is labeled her "official" birthday (usually the second Saturday in June). Why? Because April 21 is usually too cold for a proper parade.

The tradition started in 1748, with King George II, who had the misfortune of being born in chilly November. Rather than have his subjects risk catching colds, he combined his birthday celebration with the Trooping the Colour.

The parade itself had been part of British culture for almost a century by that time. At first it was strictly a military event, at which regiments displayed their flags—or "colours"—so that soldiers could familiarize themselves. But George was known as a formidable general after having led troops at the Battle of Dettingen in 1743, so the military celebration seemed a fitting occasion onto which to graft his warm-weather birthday. Edward VII, who also had a November birthday, was the first to standardize the June Trooping the Colour and launched a tradition of a monarchical review of the troops that drew crowds of onlookers.

Even now, the date of the "official" birthday varies year to year. For the first seven years of her reign, Elizabeth II held her official birthday on a Thursday but has since switched over to Saturdays. And while the date is tied to the Trooping the Colour in the UK, Commonwealth nations around the world have their own criteria, which generally involve recognizing it as a public holiday.

Australia started recognizing an official birthday back in 1788, and all the provinces (save one) observe the Queen's Birthday on the second Monday in June, with Western Australia holding its celebrations on the last Monday of September or the first Monday of October.

In Canada, the official birthday has been set to align with the actual birth date of Queen Victoria—May 24, 1819—since 1845, and as such they celebrate so-called Victoria Day on May 24 or the Monday before.

In New Zealand, it's the first Monday in June, and in the Falkland Islands the actual day of the Queen's birth is celebrated publicly.

All in all, just another reason it's great to be Queen.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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