Next time you're fighting with your spouse, put down the cheeseburger: it may hurt you more than you think.
That's what researchers from Ohio State University aim to prove in the study they are putting together. Ron Glaser and Janice Kiecolt-Glaser (husband-and-wife team, ironically) said their goal is to determine how the food you put in your body affects how you deal with stress. "What you're eating may actually interact with your behavior, to make things worse in terms of your physiological response," says Kiecolt-Glaser in a press release. "In previous studies, when discussions got a little more heated we saw bigger changes in stress hormones and larger changes in immune response. In this study, we theorize that after the high-saturated fat meal, a negative discussion might increase physiological responses more steeply."
So how does it relate to marriage? Well, what's more stressful than finances or in-laws? The study (which will conclude in 2014) will test couples after sharing two meals, one high in saturated fat and one with little fat. Then, they'll be asked to discuss a difficult topic in their marriage (i.e. finances) while the researchers test for pro-inflammatory cytokines in the couples' blood samples taken after the meal. Cytokines have been thought to be a major cause for stress and depression.
It's no secret that fatty foods can affect relationships in other ways; in one recent study, they've been linked closely to depression and lower sperm count in men. So maybe next time you're eating in with your hubby or wife, whip up a kale pesto and stow away the takeout menus for another time.