If I’ve said it to an undergraduate student once I’ve said it, oh, probably 18×100 times lately: the future of studying marriage/couples/relationships is in figuring out the intimate connections between our physiology (heart rate, cortisol, adrenaline, blood sugar … all that) and how we respond/talk/yell/scream/get defensive/smile/use kind words. You know, how we “communicate.” (That word always makes it sound so simple – like it’s just one thing. So not true, right?)

There’s some super interesting research, for instance, going on about the stress hormones in kids’ bodies when they hear their parents fighting. And we’ve written in this blog, so many times, about the superstar Gottman research program, some of which investigates just these kinds of connections between flooding and stonewalling … emotion and word choice … stress hormones and saying things like “You’re a big loser!” (not recommended)

Then today I read an interesting report on a recent study. (I haven’t yet read the original report; am looking for it!) Here’s the quick summary of the researchers apparently found:

– 50 couples
– each removed all processed sugar in their diets
– number of conflicts between the couple decreased by 86%


Of course. Sugar: it makes us feel good. But what goes up (blood sugar and mood) must come down (blood sugar … and our willingness to think of the nice, soft way to express irritation when she leaves crumbs to harden in the sink or he takes an unsavory tone with the dog).

When couples took the step of taking something so common (cookies, soda, crackers, white bread) out of the equation, something quite stunning happened: they were calmer. And they got along better. Who would have thunk (my kids like that word), though, that the results would be so dramatic. Not me, I’ll admit.

I’m no MD nor nutritionist, so I’ll await further reading to share or say more.

What I can say is this: a couple friend of mine once shared a great rule they have in their marriage. Before arguing, both people must eat something. It makes more sense now.

Want to be a happy couple? It appears you need to move over, sugar.