02/12/2010 10:48 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Why Sugar Helps You Keep Your Temper

We think we may have found one of the best excuses ever to eat a bar of chocolate. And it's nothing to do with how cocoa antioxidants are good for your heart or anything like that. Apparently eating sugar helps if you're about to blow your top.

Sweet foods help you control your anger Take a bite next time you feel angry. Photo: MorgueFile, doctor-bob

Researchers from Ohio State University claim high levels of glucose may help control aggression. That's because keeping your cool in a situation that makes you want to scream takes a lot of brain energy. And glucose provides the fuel your brain needs to keep your anger in check.

The study, which appears in the journal Aggressive Behavior, involved tests carried out on 62 college students. After not eating or drinking anything for three hours, they were all given a glass of lemonade. Some of the lemonade was made with sugar, some with artificial sweetener.

Then they took part in a reaction test that encouraged them to provoke each other and generally behave aggressively. The results showed that the students who had drank the sugar-based lemonade performed less aggressively than those who'd had the drink with the sweetener.

One of the study's authors, Professor Brad Bushman, has already looked at the idea of sugar helping people become less aggressive. In a couple of previously published studies he discovered people whose bodies can't use glucose normally – such as diabetics – tend to show higher levels of aggression than people who metabolise glucose normally.

Next time you feel as if you're losing it, try the sugar solution - you never know, it might work for you. Alternatively there are other, less calorific, ways of feeling more at peace with the world.

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