Why Do We Get Nauseous When Hungry?

Getting hungry is inevitable. No one enjoys being hungry, which often leads to feelings of discomfort and even grumpiness. Some people even feel nauseous when they get hungry. But why does this happen? Nausea often causes people to feel like not eating, so it seems odd that hunger can cause nausea. According to Live Science, this happens because of hydrochloric acid. Our stomachs produce hydrochloric acid to help break down food as we eat. If we go a long time without eating, that acid builds up in the stomach and can slosh up into the esophagus. This can cause nausea along with acid reflux and heartburn.

Nausea can also be caused by a hormone imbalance. There are many hormones that help regulate hunger and fullness. When we listen to our bodies, these hormones stay regulated and do their jobs. However, going long periods of time without eating or eating at sporadic times throughout the day can throw these chemicals out of whack. That can lead to a lot of symptoms including nausea. The easiest way to avoid nausea while feeling hungry is to eat regular meals when you are hungry and avoid going too long between meals.

Why do we sometimes feel angry when we are hungry?

Along with nausea, many people also experience feelings of grumpiness or anger when they are hungry. This phenomenon, commonly known as being "hangry," isn't fun to experience on either end, but there's actually a scientific explanation for why our body reacts this way to lack of food.

Every time we ingest food, the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are broken down into simple sugars (a well-known one being glucose), free fatty acids, and amino acids (via Merk Manual). These nutrients are then distributed throughout our bodies where we need them most. After each meal or snack, the amount of glucose in our blood is high. This is a good thing because our brains rely on glucose for energy (via Livestrong).

However, when we go a long time without eating, the glucose levels in our bodies start to drop. When a certain low level of glucose in the bloodstream is reached, our brain perceives it as a life-threatening problem (via BBC News). In response, the brain releases hormones that help raise our blood sugar and signal to us that we need to eat. Some of these hormones include cortisol, a stress hormone, and adrenaline, the fight-or-flight hormone. Among many feelings, these hormones can cause us to feel agitated and even angry.