There is a new kind of food fight out there, married couples, and it doesn't involve the throwing of apples or oranges. It's "hanger." And it's real.
Have you ever been with your husband at 2:00 in the afternoon on the weekend and all of a sudden, apropos of nothing, he's just PISSED?! For us it happens when we have fed the kids, but there is nothing left in the house for us to eat and both of us are too lazy to grab take out. Like clockwork, the Hulk makes an appearance.
"WHY ARE THE LIGHTS ON AGAIN?!" my husband might scream out of nowhere, his usual polite demeanor becoming a distant memory, veins bulging in his neck, face red. If he were a cartoon, steam would be coming out of his ears. For years, I have wondered what was wrong with this man.
Now I have an answer: He was "hangry."
"Hangry" is a cross between starving and angry and happens when we've let our blood sugar drop too low by waiting too long to eat. What we may NOT know is that it is apparently ruining our marriages, one missed lunch at a time.
A recent study out of The Ohio State University followed 107 couples, married for an average of 12 years, and actually found that levels of blood sugar and feelings of aggression against a spouse are linked. Hey! I could have told them that myself!
"The lower your blood sugar, the lower your ability to control your aggression," said study author Dr. Brad Bushman, professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State.
But just about any wife (or, let's face it, any husband) with a spouse who gets The Hangry already knew this on some level. So what's the solution? Feed that beast. Seriously!
ABC News suggested fruits and whole grains as opposed to refined carbs, which should be obvious. After all, you are trying to AVOID another blood sugar spike. But how do real couples handle this stuff?
"Sometimes my very busy husband forgets to eat lunch," says Genevieve Stamper, a mom of one in Brooklyn, N.Y. "We have a rule that any argument that starts on days when either of have skipped a meal is completely null and void, that everything said while very hungry is immediately forgiven and forgotten."
She gets it. The hunger. It's real.
And it's not just men. "I need to start carrying a bag of salted nuts and beef jerky in my purse for emergencies," says Katie Kemple, a mom of two from Washington D.C. who never forgets snacks for her kids. But moms need to stop forgetting about themselves! Kids aren't the only ones who melt down without protein.
Bushman suggests that couples combat hangriness by making a date night out of things. "If you have a sensitive topic to discuss, it’s best done over dinner."
I am with him. The next time something big is looming on the horizon, I'll take my husband out for a meal at one of our favorite restaurants. It will serve many purposes, not the least of which is that it's hard to argue with food in your mouth or after you've had a good bottle of wine.
There's a reason the check comes at the END of a meal, after all.
Does your spouse get "hangry"? What do you do?