Is "Hangry" Real?

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iStock

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.

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[h/t: The Conversation]

How Did 6 Feet Become the Standard Grave Depth?

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iStock

It all started with the plague: The origins of “six feet under” come from a 1665 outbreak in England. As the disease swept the country, the mayor of London literally laid down the law about how to deal with the bodies to avoid further infections. Among his specifications—made in “Orders Conceived and Published by the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of the City of London, Concerning the Infection of the Plague”—was that “all the graves shall be at least six feet deep.”

The law eventually fell out of favor both in England and its colonies. Modern American burial laws vary from state to state, though many states simply require a minimum of 18 inches of soil on top of the casket or burial vault (or two feet of soil if the body is not enclosed in anything). Given an 18-inch dirt buffer and the height of the average casket (which appears to be approximately 30 inches), a grave as shallow as four feet would be fine.

A typical modern burial involves a body pumped full of chemical preservatives sealed inside a sturdy metal casket, which is itself sealed inside a steel or cement burial vault. It’s less of a hospitable environment for microbes than the grave used to be. For untypical burials, though—where the body isn’t embalmed, a vault isn’t used, or the casket is wood instead of metal or is foregone entirely—even these less strict burial standards provide a measure of safety and comfort. Without any protection, and subjected to a few years of soil erosion, the bones of the dearly departed could inconveniently and unexpectedly surface or get too close to the living, scaring people and acting as disease vectors. The minimum depth helps keep the dead down where they belong.

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This article originally appeared in 2012.

What's the Difference Between Apple Juice and Apple Cider?

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iStock/Alter_photo

In a time before pumpkin spice went overboard with its marketing, people associated fall with fresh apples. Crisp and fresh, they practically beg to be crushed and pulped into liquid. But what’s the difference between apple juice and apple cider?

According to the state of Massachusetts, home to a variety of apple-picking destinations, both apple juice and apple cider are fruit beverages. But apple cider is raw, unfiltered juice—the pulp and sediment are intact. To make cider, the apples are ground into an applesauce-like consistency, then wrapped in cloth. A machine squeezes the layers and strains out the juice into cold tanks. That’s the cider that ends up on store shelves.

Apple juice, on the other hand, takes things a step further—removing solids and pasteurizing the liquid to lengthen its shelf life. It’s typically sweeter, possibly with added sugar, and may lack the stronger flavor of its relatively unprocessed counterpart. It’s also often lighter in color, since the remaining sediment of cider can give it a cloudy appearance.

But that’s just the Massachusetts standard. Each state allows for a slight variation in what companies are allowed to call apple cider versus apple juice. The cider may be pasteurized, or the cider and juice may actually be more or less identical. One company, Martinelli’s, states in its company FAQ that their two drinks are the same in every way except the label: "Both are 100 percent pure juice from U.S. grown fresh apples. We continue to offer the cider label since some consumers simply prefer the traditional name for apple juice."

The US Apple Association, a nonprofit trade organization that represents growers nationwide, indicates that apple juice can be made from concentrate, which is why you might see water as the first ingredient on the label. Generally, cider is the hard stuff: Crushed apples with minimal processing. Because it can ferment, it's usually found refrigerated. Apple juice can often be found elsewhere in stores, where it can remain stable.

Which you should buy comes down to personal preference. Typically, though, recipes calling for apple cider should use apple cider. Processed juice may be too sweet an ingredient. And you can always try making a pumpkin spice hot apple cider, although we may stop talking to you if you do.

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