Self-Control by Sugar Water: Can Gurgling Lemonade Help Smokers Quit?

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By Brittney R. Villalva, Christian Post Reporter
November 11, 2012|9:59 am

New research has revealed that people may be able to have increased self control if they gurgle sugar water before attempting to complete a task.

The findings were bases on a recent study during which participants gurgled lemonade before being asked to perform tasks that would require more self control from the brain. The study found that those who gurgled the lemonade made quicker decisions than those who did not.

Psychology professors Leonard Martin and Matthew Sanders at the University of Georgia led the study. It involved 51 students who were asked to perform two self-control based assignments.

"In the first assignment, the subjects were asked to cross out the Es on a page from a statistics book, which has been known to diminish self-control," according to Medical News Today. "In the second task, they were asked to identify the color of different words, which actually spell out the names of other colors, that were flashed on a monitor."

Half of the group participants had gargled with lemonade. The group that had gargled the lemonade provided the correct answer significantly quicker according to researchers.

The link between sugar and self-control is not new but researchers had previously believed that sugar had to be consumed in order to be effective. Instead it could be sensors on the tongue that send signals to the brain, altering it to pay more attention.

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"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. After this trial, it seems that glucose stimulates th e simple carbohydrate sensors on the tongue," Martin explained. "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."

However, Martin also pointed out that the research has not yet proved to be helpful in long-term situations.

"The research is not clear yet on the effects of swishing with glucose on long-term self-control," Martin said. "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."

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