You’ve heard the term “hangry,” right? People who are hungry often report being unreasonably angry until they’re fed.
“Hangry” is a relatively new buzz word, but science is backing it up. A new study published in the journal PNAS suggests married couples are more aggressive when they have low blood sugar levels.
Researchers recruited 107 married couples to participate in the study. The husbands and wives measured their glucose (or blood sugar) levels every morning and night for 21 days.
Each night they were asked to stick up to 51 pins in a voodoo doll, depending on how angry they were at their spouse. The researchers compared this aggression level to the participants’ average glucose levels over the study period.
At the end of the 21 days, researchers had the couples come into the lab for another test. They asked each husband and wife to compete against their significant other in a virtual game. The couples were told the winner got to blast the loser with a loud, obnoxious noise. (In reality, their partner was not on the receiving end.)
Researchers measured how long and how intense the winner chose to blast the noise, and compared that aggression level to their average blood sugar level.
Study participants with lower nightly blood sugar levels were more aggressive – both in “pinning” their voodoo doll and in blasting their partner with a louder noise for longer. These findings remained true even after researchers controlled the data for relationship satisfaction.