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Does Sugar Make Your Heart Sweeter?

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Hunger and Anger continued...

The couples didn’t know that the researchers had rigged the game so everyone would have the same experience. The couples actually played against a computer, not each other, and everyone lost 12 out of 25 times. Also, the computer set the noise levels and length, no matter what the winners ordered.

The researchers found a link between daily blood glucose levels, the number of pins people stuck in their voodoo dolls, and the intensity of the noise with which they wanted to blast their spouse. The lower their glucose level, the more pins they used and the louder and longer they set the noise.

It’s common sense that people are quicker to get angry when their blood sugar is low because they’re hungry, says University of Pennsylvania psychologist Robert Kurzban, PhD.

“The fact that humans act differently when they’re hungry is so well-known that Madison Avenue knows this,” Kurzban says, referring to the Snickers commercial with Pesci and Rickles. “When you’re really hungry, all you can do is think about food.”

But in several blog posts and a journal article, Kurzban has questioned the popular theory that self-control is fueled by blood glucose levels. He cites a recent study that found drinking a sugary beverage did not improve performance on a task requiring self-control.

Still, few people would probably challenge Bushman’s advice for married couples: “They should discuss sensitive topics over dinner, or, better yet, after dinner.”

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