Is low blood sugar ruining your marriage?


Being "hangry" (hungry and angry) can set up couples for disastrous results, according to research released this week from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

When spouses hit their lowest blood sugar levels, usually at night, is when they reported being the most unhappy, the study found.

"Self-control comes in part from the fuel we give our brains. This is one of the few physiological aspects we can control," study author Brad Bushman, a professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University in Columbus, told Bloomberg News. "People who are hungry are often very cranky."

Voodoo dolls reveal true feelings

The study included 107 married couples who had their blood sugar levels tested for 21 days at different times during the day. The couples were also given voodoo dolls that represented their spouses – and were instructed to stick up to 51 pins in the dolls per day, depending on how angry they were with their partners.

Since low blood sugar can inhibit people from regulating anger and aggression, the researchers said, the study aimed to determine how aggressive impulses changed based on blood sugar levels.

Spouses with the lowest nighttime blood sugar levels inserted the most pins, while those with the highest glucose readings inserted the least, the researchers reported.

In another test that involved a friendly competition between spouses, those with low blood sugar showed more aggressive behavior, no matter how happy they reported being in their marriage.

"If couples have a sensitive topic to discuss, it would be really smart to do it over dinner or better yet after dinner," Bushman said. "They should definitely not do it on an empty stomach."

For diabetics, regular small meals throughout the day can be helpful in avoiding blood sugar highs and lows, and potentially marital conflict, the authors concluded.

Source: Bloomberg

Photo credit: David Castillo Dominici /


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