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Low blood sugar can cause couples to argue, new study

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Getting along with your partner may take a lot of effort and restraint, but new research suggests an unorthodox way to take the edge off, according to a researcher from Ohio University on Apr 14. Brad Bushman was the lead author of the study that found hunger caused by low blood sugar appeared to promote marital arguments and possible domestic violence in relationships. The slang term applied to this behavior is dubbed “hangry,” which are the two words (hungry and angry) combined.

The study took three years to complete, involved 107 married couples and utilized various measures. A questionnaire called the 'relationship satisfaction measure' was given for the couples to report on how much they agreed to statements such as “I feel satisfied with my relationship.” Along with this questionnaire, a glucose kit and voodoo dolls with 51 pins were supplied to measure the glucose levels and anger (hangry).

The blood glucose meter was given to each person to measure glucose levels before breakfast and every evening before bedtime for 21 days. During the blood glucose measuring period, the couples were to implement the voodoo dolls for the research. The researchers explained the voodoo dolls represented their respective partners and instructed them to insert 0 to 51 pins in the dolls for the 21 consecutive days without their partners present. Each pin inserted represented an anger episode towards their partners.

The results found the more pins stuck in the voodoo dolls were associated with lower levels of glucose in the blood. This association proposes the lower the glucose levels, the angrier the spouses become towards their partners. This surprise finding was consistent even with the partners who initially reported they were satisfied in their relationships on the questionnaire.

Bushman postulates the self-control needed by an individual to deal with anger and aggressive impulses require energy from the body. This energy is provided in part by glucose in the blood. Thus, before you have a confrontation with your spouse, Bushman advises eating a healthy meal or have a healthy snack to thwart that “hangry” behavior.

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