Sweeten your focus with a little sugar


For more self-control, gargle sugar water. Findings from the University of Georgia seem to confirm it. Fifty-one students joined the study and were asked to take part in two assignments which measured self-control.

Exercises tested student focus

The first assignment asked students to cross out the E's on a page from a statistics book. This exercise is known to diminish self-control. In the second exercise, students were asked to name the color of different words which spelled the names of other colors. These words were flashed on a monitor. This is referred to as the Stroop test.

Students who used glucose performed better

Half of the students rinsed their mouths with lemonade sweetened with sugar, while the other half rinsed with lemonade sweetened with Splenda. The students who rinsed with sugar responded to the color rather than the spelling of the word significantly faster than those who used the artificial sweetener.

“Researchers used to think you had to drink the glucose and get it into your body to give you the energy to (have) self-control,” said Leonard Martin, professor of psychology in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

“After this trial, it seems that glucose stimulated the simple carbohydrate sensors on the tongue. This, in turn, signals the motivational centers of the brain where our self-related goals are represented. These signals tell your body to pay attention.”

Probably not good for long-term goals

While rinsing with glucose improved Stroop test scores, it is unclear that it would work for something really demanding like quitting smoking. “The research is not clear yet on the effects of swishing with glucose on long-term self-control,” Martin explained. “So, if you are trying to quit smoking, a swish of lemonade may not be the total cure, but it certainly could help you in the short run.”

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Psychological Science


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