Being hungry may be good for diets but it is definitely not helpful for relationships. Helping to keep mood swings on an even keel is something that having good hormone balance can achieve as progesterone is essential to maintain good blood sugar levels. So what is the link to relationship?
It is estimated that about 80% of women have hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) and Brad Bushman, Professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University, has undertaken a three year study that shows that having lower levels of blood sugar may make married people angrier at their partner and even more likely to lash out aggressively. By measuring their levels of blood glucose each night, the researchers found they were able to predict how angry they would be with their partner that evening.
What’s the problem?
There is one simple, often overlooked factor in anger blow ups and that is hunger caused by low levels of blood glucose. Frankly there is nothing new in this, most people know that when they get hungry they get irritated, or more, and the good professor coined the term ‘hangry’ to describe it as being a composite of hunger and anger.
But why does low blood sugar make people more prone to anger and aggression? 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.
The study involved 107 married couples and was certainly novel in its approach. The study started with the couples completing a relationship satisfaction measure, which asked each spouse how much they agreed with statements like “I feel satisfied with our relationship.”
All participants were given a voodoo doll that they were told represented their spouse, along with 51 pins. At the end of each day, for 21 consecutive days, the participants inserted 0 to 51 pins in the doll, depending on how angry they were with their spouse. They did this alone, without their spouses being present (presumably as a safety measure in case some wanted to stick their pins somewhere more personal than the doll) , and recorded the number of pins they stuck in the doll. Each person also used a blood glucose meter to measure glucose levels before breakfast and every evening before bed for the 21 days.
The result: The lower the participants’ evening blood glucose levels, the more pins they stuck in the doll and they also found a clear link between aggressive impulses as seen with the dolls and actual aggressive behaviour, with their partners.
The Hangry 3 Point Avoidance Plan
1 The simplest advice to maintain a happy relationship is to make sure if you are going to have a difficult conversation with your partner that start out by not feeling hungry.
2 Choose a diet that gives you slow release energy from natural foods and not a crash diet that will make sure you boil over in one way or another. To help in controlling blood sugar levels it is essential to eat small meals of protein and slow release high fibre complex carbohydrate every 3 hours and green tea is also helpful – especially in those critical hours just before bedtime.
3 Make sure you have good progesterone levels as it plays a vital role in controlling blood sugar regulation. Always stick to small meals as after a large meal progesterone levels drop. Low blood sugar levels result in the symptoms of progesterone deficiency becoming worse and one of the reasons for sugar imbalances is the increasing amount of oestrogen we are exposed to from medications such as HRT and the environmental xenoestrogens. Oestrogen is known to cause an imbalance in the blood sugar levels so hormone balance is critical to counteract this.
One way not to try to increase your blood sugar levels is with sugar or sugar products as the body responds by creating a surge of insulin to prevent hyperglycaemia. It does this by converting the excess sugar into fat which then gets deposited in the fatty tissues.
If too much insulin is released because too much sugar is eaten or too long an interval is left between meals, blood sugar can drop below the critical baseline. The result is an outpouring of adrenaline which causes sugar stored in other cells in the body to pour into the blood bringing the level up again. As the sugar drains out it is replaced by water, causing bloating and weight gain. if you are trying this diet this is more than counterproductive.