Snickers used to sell itself on the claim it had a fistful of peanuts in every bar. These days, the softer, kinder Snickers message is that “You’re not you when you’re hungry.” And if an Ohio State University psychologist’s research is accurate, there might be something to that.
Brad Bushman says he’s found a clear link between low blood sugar and anger in spouses. One conclusion he has reached is that low levels of glucose in the body might contribute to incidents of domestic violence. And his prescription is that eating a candy bar might stave off some attacks.
It doesn’t take much in Ohio for police to bring a domestic abuse-related charge against someone. A person could wind up suddenly in custody if their significant other simply tells police they’re afraid. Often, such claims evolve out of divorce proceedings or disputes over child custody or visitation. Whatever the reason, working with an attorney to deal with matters is always recommended.
The premise of Bushman’s work was the awareness that humans use glucose to exercise self-control and that anger is typically the emotion over which it’s hardest to exercise that control. So the question was, can managing blood sugar in husbands and wives reduce major fights?
The scientists looked at 107 married couples over three weeks. Every night, they tested participants’ blood sugar levels and had them indicate their sense of aggression toward their spouses by sticking pins in a representative doll. What they discovered was that the lower a person’s glucose level, the higher the number of pins pushed into the dolls. Those with the lowest levels often pushed in twice as many pins.
Researchers suggest that a good long-term strategy for a happier life might be to eat more fruits and vegetables that keep glucose levels up. But they say if a couple is about to talk about a really touchy subject, it might be good for them to share a candy bar first.
The research appears in more detail in last month’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Source: The Buffalo News, “Science Notes: Snack might help people avoid a fight with spouse, study shows,” Associated Press, May 4, 2014