Have you noticed that your temper ignites faster when you’re hungry? That happens because low blood sugar, as is the case when one is hungry, increases irritability and aggression. A study conducted in the Ohio State University links blood sugar levels to control of emotions.

One hundred married couples were observed for 21 days; their glucose levels were tested and recorded. The testing was done once before they ate breakfast, and once in the evening. Each participant was also given a voodoo doll (seriously), and 51 pins which were to be used to poke into the doll every time a participant got upset with their partner. After 21 days, researchers found out that the participants poked their dolls significantly more often in the evenings, which coincided with their low-glucose levels.

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Research author Brad Bushman, Ph.D. says that the brain’s prefrontal cortex is responsible for controlling emotions. To perform control, it needs adequate glucose supply. Low glucose levels in the body, as is the case when you miss a meal, will result in unsatisfactory supply of glucose to the brain’s control centers. Hence, the brain will have difficulty controlling emotions, including anger.

The study also asked participants to play a computer game. The couples were still paired together in the games and whoever won in every pair could blast loud noises into the loser’s ear. At that observation, the participants had low blood sugar levels. The result: the winners aggressively blasted louder noises into the losers’ ears.

The research shows that the solution to aggression between partners is quite simple: make it a habit to eat properly. It must also be noted that keeping blood sugar at ideal levels does not mean sugary food intake. In fact, according to Bushman, sugar is bad because the ensuing increase in blood sugar takes place quickly and falls as rapidly, too. He recommends vegetables, proteins, and whole grains because these kinds of food fill the belly. It’s best not to wait until you’re very hungry to start eating. Instead, eat small portions of this belly-filling food many times during the day.