A couple of weeks ago, my colleagues and I shared a hearty chuckle over a study that used voodoo dolls to measure and predict the phenomenon of being “hangry” – when hunger and anger merge into one volatile emotional state.
Leaning on the theory that people are most comfortable showing aggression toward those they are the closest to—such as intimate partners—researchers attempted to measure a connection between low blood sugar glucose and aggressive impulses.
“We need glucose for self-control … Anger is the emotion that most people have difficulty controlling,” said Brad Bushman, Ohio State University psychology researcher and lead author of the study.
The researchers studied 107 married couples for 21 days.
- Each participant’s blood sugar glucose was measured every evening.
- To measure aggression, participants competed against their spouse on a 25-trial task in which the winner blasted the loser with loud noise through headphones.
- To measure aggressive impulses, participants stuck between 0 and 51 pins into a voodoo doll that represented their spouse, depending on how angry they were with their spouse that evening.
As expected, the lower the level of glucose in the blood, the greater number of pins the participants stuck into the voodoo doll, and the higher intensity and longer duration of noise participants set for their spouse in the headphones.
Although using voodoo dolls in a study sounds silly, I do not intend to downplay the serious intentions of the researchers. This study was performed to investigate whether or not low blood sugar could be a contributing factor in violence between intimate partners—a very worthy cause indeed.
Your brain is the most energy-hungry organ in your body and uses 25% of the calories you consume. To prevent getting “hangry” and putting your relationships at risk, keep your blood sugar balanced by eating small meals that contain a little bit of protein every few hours. When you do eat carbohydrates, keep them low-glycemic and high-fiber.
If you would like to learn more about how to eat right to think right, based on your personal brain type, become a member of Brain Fit Life, my new online brain-enhancement program and community!