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Study: A Candy Bar May Soothe Your Inner Hulk

Hungry? Why fight?


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It’s a good rule of thumb to disregard any scientific study that revolves around the use of voodoo dolls, but this one may actually hold water.

Maybe you’ve heard of the term “hangry” before. This writer hadn’t, but it's shockingly common throughout the web. It appears to be one of those internet neologisms that sparks the ire of bloggers and the expedience of Etsy vendors. If you haven’t yet put it together that “hangry” is a portmanteau of hungry and angry, this pillow will set you right.

Aside from nestling its way into the groan-inducing vortex of millennial lexicography, “hangry” may actually have some scientific basis.

Researchers at Ohio State University have found that low blood sugar can make people short-tempered and irritable. Specifically, they concluded that glucose is needed for self-control, and since anger is notoriously difficult to control (at least compared to other emotions) it has a way of erupting during periods of intense hunger. Said in a snappier way, a bag of chips may help prevent a fight with your significant other!

Scientists found a clear correlation between blood sugar levels and the number of times pins were pushed into voodoo dolls.

Here’s how scientists came to that conclusion: More than 100 married couples were studied over a period of three weeks. Each night, researchers measured participants' glucose levels and asked them to “stick pins in a voodoo doll representing his or her spouse.” This, I guess, was supposed to indicate anger and aggression.

Scientists found a clear correlation between blood sugar levels and the number of times pins were pushed into the voodoo dolls—that is, the lower the count, the more the pins. Three participants even put all 51 pins in at one time.

Brad Bushman, a psychology researcher at Ohio State, told the Associated Press that there is good reason for the link between hunger and psychological outbursts. He explained how our brain constitutes only two percent of our body weight, but consumes 20 percent of our calories.

The team behind the study even went so far as to recommend couples eat a candy bar before discussing a sensitive subject. In all, the study breathes some truth into Snickers’ famous ad campaign.

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