...hunger caused by low levels of blood glucose - may play a role in arguments, confrontations and possibly even some domestic violence.
Picture this scenario:
Suddenly you burst out in a tirade about the most minor issue and can’t stop the barrage coming from your mouth. And to make it worse, you get all weepy too.
Your husband (the target) gets the brunt of it and has no idea what’s going on. All he did was buy the wrong brand of toilet paper.
“But honey, I had a coupon!”
How do you explain to him what just happened?
You could take your cue from Kitty in “That 70’s Show”: when she says something rude she blames it on the menopause, saying “Oh, that wasn’t me. That was the menopause talking!”
Or how about this mini snippet from “All in the Family” when “Edith’s problem” is discussed and Archie reacts about his need for relief:
Mike: What did the doctor say?
Archie: He just said that menopause is a pretty tough time to be going through; especially for nervous types.
Archie: So he prescribed these here pills.
Mike: Oh, good.
Archie: I gotta take three of ’em a day.
So you laugh it off and blame the menopause hormones. But there might be another factor at play—one with a simple solution.
What if you are just “Hangry?”
Researchers at Ohio State University measured couples’ blood sugar in the morning and at night and found low nighttime glucose levels predicted who would lash out at a spouse that evening.
Participants in this 21 day study got a voodoo doll representing their spouse and 51 pins and were told to stick in pins each night in a way that showed their level of anger.
In addition they tested and recorded their morning and evening blood glucose levels. The researchers found that the higher number of pins tracked with lower blood sugar levels.
The study shows how an 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.
Brad Bushman, lead author of the study and Professor of communication and psychology at The Ohio State University comments on the findings:
“People can relate to this idea that when they get hungry, they get cranky,” Bushman said. It even has a slang term: “hangry” (hungry + angry).
“We found that being hangry can affect our behavior in a bad way, even in our most intimate relationships,” he said.
“When they had lower blood glucose, they felt angrier and took it out on the dolls representing their spouse,” Bushman said.
“Even those who reported they had good relationships with their spouses were more likely to express anger if their blood glucose levels were lower.”
Why does low blood sugar make people more prone to anger and aggression?
Bushman said that glucose is fuel for the brain. The self-control needed to deal with anger and aggressive impulses takes energy, and that energy is provided in part by glucose.
“Even though the brain is only 2 percent of our body weight, it consumes about 20 percent of our calories. It is a very demanding organ when it comes to energy,” he said.
“It’s simple advice but it works: Before you have a difficult conversation with your spouse, make sure you’re not hungry.”
TODAY’S TIP: To avoid the blood sugar highs and lows eat small, healthy snacks throughout the day, and keep fruit on hand, which can raise your blood sugar and give you some healthy fiber as well.
And consider a nightly healthy dessert: mixed fruit compote, baked apple with a dollop of Greek yogurt and cinnamon, or whip up a smoothie and share with your sweetie.