'Don't Make Me Hangry!' How Dieting Makes Couples Fight

14/08/2014 17:00 | Updated 20 May 2015

Couple fighting over diet food

If you're feeling 'hangry' with your other half, it could be because you're on a diet.

Never heard of the word? No, neither had we until this morning. But it's been coined to describe the state of mind couples feel when they are so hungry from slimming that they get angry with each other. Clever, eh?

According to researchers, the low sugar levels that come with depriving yourself of food make couples more likely to argue.

Something along the lines of: "Give me that biscuit?"

"No, it's mine."



Researchers from the Ohio State University ran tests on glucose levels among 107 couples at the start and end of each day for 21 consecutive days.

At the end of the day, each person was told to stick up to 51 pins into a doll representing their other half (seriously!), without anyone seeing, to show how angry they were with them.

The lower their sugar levels the more they wanted to make their spouse suffer and the more pins they stuck in the voodoo effigy.

In a separate test, the couples were told they were pitting their wits against each other in a series of brainteasers and reaction tests.

After the tests, the winner, who had in reality been playing against a computer, could blast the loser with a noise through headphones.

They chose the duration, sound level and the noise from a list of irritating options including fingernails on a blackboard or a pneumatic drill.

Again, they proved more vengeful if they had not had enough to eat.

The psychologists reported to the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: "Participants who had lower glucose levels stuck more pins into the voodoo doll and blasted their spouse with louder and longer noise blasts."

Although too much glucose, a naturally occurring sugar, can cause diabetes, the researchers warned that a lack of energy leads to a lack of self control which in turn means sufferers cannot rein in their aggression.

In extreme cases this could lead to domestic violence, the study claimed, adding: "People are often the most aggressive against the people to whom they are closest-intimate partners.

"Intimate partner violence might be partly a result of poor self-control.

"Self control of aggressive impulses requires energy, and much of this energy is provided by glucose derived from the food we eat."

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