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Negative mood: How strong does our mood depend on an empty stomach?


Bad mood because of hunger - is that true?

Research has shown that our daily diet has a significant impact on our emotional state. Hunger also has an emotional impact, many believe. After all, an empty stomach leads to increased irritability and a bad mood. But is that really true?

Interaction between biology, personality and certain environmental influences

A frequently broadcast commercial tells us that we become a diva when we are hungry and can restore emotional peace by biting into a candy bar. But it is not that easy. As a US study published in the magazine "Emotion" shows, hunger alone does not automatically lead to an irritated mood. Rather, it is an interaction between biology, personality and certain environmental influences that can spoil the mood of a hungry person.

An empty stomach can get you crazy

As reported by the Federal Center for Nutrition (BZfE), the scientists from the University of North Carolina conducted two online experiments with more than 400 participants.

First, the test subjects gave information about how hungry they felt. Subsequently, the subjects were shown an image that should trigger positive, negative or neutral feelings.

Then they had the task of classifying a pictogram on a 7-point scale from pleasant to unpleasant.

It turned out that hungry people who had previously seen a clearly negative picture then rated the pictogram more negatively compared to the “saturated” group.

However, there was no difference in a neutral or positive picture. According to the scientists, it is only the negative picture that provides the context for the negative evaluation.

This means that in real life it also depends on the respective situation and the environment, whether hunger gets us mad.

Understand emotional states triggered by hunger better

As another experiment with more than 200 participants suggests, awareness of one's own feelings is another factor.

Before the experiment, some of the study participants should deal with their emotions in a writing exercise. The entire group then expected a staged, negative experience.

Hungry people reacted more stressed to the stressful situation and were more often overwhelmed by their negative emotions if they did not deal with their current emotional state before the experiment.

Increased mindfulness meant that people could react more calmly despite being hungry.

According to the information, further studies will follow in order to better understand emotional states triggered by hunger.

In addition to context and “self-confidence”, there are probably other factors that make us become a diva on an empty stomach - or not. (ad)

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