Sugar spurs self-control

And even if you gargle with a sugar solution, it may suffice to boost self-control in the short-term.

Glass of lemonade
Sugar boosts self-control in the short term

Our environment is designed to challenge our self-control. Could sugar be the answer to cultivate self-control? According to recent a study by University of Georgia, a mouth rinse with glucose improves self-control.

This study looked at 51 students who performed two tasks to test self-control. The first task, which has shown to deplete self-control, was the meticulous crossing out of Es on a page from a statistics book. Then, participants performed what is known as the Stroop task where they were asked to identify the color of various words flashed on a screen, which spell out the names of other colors. The Stroop task’s goal is to turn off the student’s tendency to read the words and instead see the colors.

Half of the students rinsed their mouths with lemonade sweetened with sugar while performing the Stroop test, the other half with lemonade sweetened with an artificial sweetener. Students, who rinsed with sugar, rather than artificial sweetener, were significantly faster at responding to the color rather than the word.

This study controverts the previous presumptions you had to drink the glucose and get it into your body to give you the energy to (have) self control. After this trial, it seems that glucose stimulates 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.

The results might be indecisive on the effects of swishing with glucose on long-term self-control if you’re trying to quit smoking. However, sugar does spur self-control on the short-term.
In any case, an infallible technique would be if you self-invest, it will not just crank up your energy but also crank up your personal investment in what you are doing.



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