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Is Low Blood Sugar Affecting Your Relationship?

A recent study at Ohio State University, investigated the relationship between anger and blood sugar in 107 couples. The researchers found that people were angrier at their spouse when their blood sugar levels were lower. The researchers were concerned about abusive relationships, and they recognized that people had less self-control of their anger when blood sugar levels were low. Their hypothesis was that glucose levels in the evening would be associated with daily aggression. One of the ways they measured aggression levels toward significant others was by giving each person a doll that represented their spouse and 51 pins. At the end of each day during the 21-day study, they were instructed to add between 0-51 pins, depending on how angry they were with their spouse. Men and women with lower glucose levels in the evening had higher aggressive impulses toward their spouses.  Many previous laboratory studies showed a link between low glucose levels and poor self-control, which can also be related to poor food choices. This study also found that lower glucose levels over time can predict future aggressive behavior outside of the home.

Eating healthy is not only imperative for your physical health, but emotional health as well! Your blood sugar, or glucose levels, can be actively targeted and influenced through diet. These findings show that people who eat diets based on metabolic energy might foster more harmonious couple interactions. To control your glucose levels and avoid having major spikes or dips in blood sugar, you should eat a balanced diet that includes non-starchy vegetables (like broccoli and carrots), whole grains especially quinoa and buckwheat, legumes, seeds, nuts, and lean proteins. Adding cinnamon and vinegar to your diet can help avoid major spikes in blood sugar.

Regardless of what method you use, your best diet defense is planning your food ahead. It is important to be aware of the Glycemic Load. The glycemic load takes into account the amount of carbohydrate is in a serving of a particular food. The glycemic index tells one how quickly a carbohydrate turns into blood sugar, but it neglects to take into account the amount of carbohydrate in a serving, which is important. The higher the glycemic load value the greater the blood sugar level and resulting stress on insulin levels. This value is attained by multiplying the amount of carbohydrate contained in a specified serving size of the food by the glycemic index value of that food, and then dividing by 100. For example, an apple has a GI of 40 compared to glucose that is the baseline at 100, but the amount of carbohydrate available in a typical apple is 16 grams. The GL is calculated by multiplying the 16 grams of available carbohydrate times 40 and then divided by 100 to give a decimal number of approximately 6. Compare this to a serving of Rice Krispies that has a Glycemic index of 82 and available 26 carbohydrates that has a glycemic load of 21. Another example would be Macaroni and Cheese that has a glycemic load of 32. If you’ve been feeling more irritable or aggressive and it’s taking a toll on your relationships, it may be time to get your glucose levels checked. At The Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine, we can test your blood glucose levels and suggest a nutrition plan that will serve your health and relationships. Contact us to schedule your appointment today.