March 10


Why Aggression and Low Blood Glucose Go Together?

By Gabriela

March 10, 2022

Feeling angry at our spouse? Well, we might want to check our blood glucose levels. Yes, as a matter of fact, a fast snack might stave off more than just hunger. It might also help prevent big fights between wives and husbands, according to one study.

Based on one study, low blood glucose levels might increase aggression and anger between us and our partners.

According to the researchers, there is a link between self-control and sugar, but other experts disagree about the implications of the study. Read on to find out more about aggression and low blood glucose.

Aggression and Low Blood Glucose – How Does It Work

Sugar is actually a source of fuel for the body and its levels in the blood fall and rise during the day. Therefore, the body metabolizes meals that have carbs.

Since the 60s, researchers have suspected that swings in sugar or low sugar might have a significant role when it comes to aggression in people.

Study on This Topic

So, in Diabetes in 2010, Brad Bushman, a psychologist at Ohio State University, Columbus, tried to find out what that role is. How?

By measuring vengefulness in participants who had symptoms of type 2 diabetes and then by giving sweetened drinks to people competing on a computerized task.

As a matter of fact, both studies say that higher sugar levels might make people less likely to treat one another aggressively.

This psychologist wondered about the link between aggression and sugar levels among spouses.

More About the Study

Bushman along with colleagues and the University of North Carolina and the University of Kentucky recruited around 107 married couples.

Then the researchers equipped these couples with 51 pins to record their anger and glucose levels, blood sugar meters, and voodoo dolls.

For around 21 days the married couples used the meters in order to measure their sugar levels. They did this each morning before their breakfast and each evening before their bedtime.

Also, they evaluated how angry they were with their partner at the end of every day. They did this by writing down how many pins they put into the voodoo dolls. In fact, they did this before bedtime when their spouse was not looking.

After those 21 days, the spouses were invited to go into the laboratory. What they did is that they played a computer game which allowed them to annoy their partner with the help of unpleasant noise.

This unpleasant noise was actually a mixture of dentist drills, fingernails scratching a chalkboard, and ambulance sirens.

They could do this for as long and as loudly as they wanted. This was a presentation of their eagerness to act aggressively and make sure that their partner suffers.

Results of the Study

In the laboratory and at home, the couples who had lower evening sugar levels actually showed more aggression and anger towards their partners.

This was measured by their willingness to blast their partners with noise and by the voodoo dolls.

As a matter of fact, those who were in the lowest 25 percentile of evening sugar stuck an average of twice as many pins in the dolls. This is in comparison to the upper 25 percentile. Also, they selected longer and louder noise blasts for their partner.

According to Bushman, sugar gives the necessary energy to the brain to exercise self-control, and in case the sugar levels are low then aggression is more likely.

Roy Baumeister, a psychologist at Florida State University, Tallahassee, who wasn’t involved in this study said that this was an impressive study.

He says that the ability to control our impulses and ourselves is among the most vital elements when it comes to the human psyche. Therefore, understanding self-control and what precisely fuels it is critical.

The Opinion of Psychologist David Benton

David Benton, a psychologist at Swansea University in the UK, who studies the dietary impact on the behavior and brain is actually not impressed with the results.

It is like that since he says that the findings are not surprising. He says that according to previous studies, it looks like low blood sugar can be one factor of the many which predispose to aggression.

Moreover, Benton says that consuming alcohol can lower sugar levels and cause more aggression. However, the study didn’t record what the married couples drank or ate.

He believes that taking a measure of dynamic response, at different people at different times, will tell us more than what we know now.

Bushman says that in case we know that we are going to discuss with our spouse something which can eventually lead to a conflict, it might not be a bad idea to down the sugary drink first.

To be more precise, before we fight, we should make sure we are not hungry.


  • Gabriela

    Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Diabetes Health Page, Fitness trainer and instructor has dedicated her career to educating and informing people for over 10 years. As one of the most passionate diabetes advocates, Gabi has worked tirelessly to ensure that those people receive the education and support they need to properly manage their diabetes and achieve their health, fitness and weight loss goals.

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