Do you often lash out at your spouse? Go get your blood sugar checked as lower glucose levels may make couple go ‘hangry’ and even more likely to lash out aggressively.
“The study shows how one simple, often overlooked factor – hunger caused by low levels of blood glucose – may play a role in marital arguments, confrontations and possibly even some domestic violence,” said Brad Bushman, a professor of communication and psychology at the Ohio State University.
People can relate to this idea that when they get hungry, they get cranky. It even has a slang term: “hangry” (hungry + angry), Bushman explained.
The research involved 107 married couples. The study started with the couples completing a relationship satisfaction measure, which asked each spouse how much they agreed with statements like “I feel satisfied with our relationship”.
In a 21-day study, researchers found that levels of blood glucose in married people, measured each night, predicted how angry they would be with their spouse that evening.
At the end of the 21 days, people who had generally lower levels of glucose were willing to blast their spouses with unpleasant noises at a higher volume and for a longer time than those who had higher glucose levels.
“We found that being ‘hangry’ can affect our behaviour in a bad way, even in our most intimate relationships,” he added.
Even those who reported they had good relationships with their spouses were more likely to express anger if their blood glucose levels were lower.
Listen to Bushman: Before you have a difficult conversation with your spouse, make sure you are not hungry.
Blood glucose levels can be brought up most quickly by eating carbohydrates or sugary foods.
The study has appeared online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.