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Gargling Sugar Water could help improve Self-Control

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(Best Syndication News) - Researchers found that rinsing the mouth with glucose helped improved participants’ self-control. The research results were published in the Oct. 22 issue of Psychological Science.

The study was co-authored by University of Georgia professor of psychology Leonard Martin and Matthew Sanders, a doctoral candidate who is also in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

The research involved 51 students who were tested on two tasks that measured self-control. The first task involved crossing out the letter ‘e’ on a page taken from a statistics book. After completing this task, the students were then asked to name the color of the words that were flashed on a screen. However, the words were names of other colors. The person would need to exercise self-control to identify the color and not just read the word. This test is known as the Stroop task.

Half of the students received lemonade sweetened with sugar, while the other half of the received lemonade sweetened with Splenda. The students were to rinse their mouths with the sweetened drink while they were doing the Stroop test. The students who received the sugar-sweetened rinse were significantly quicker at saying the color instead of reading the word.

"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," Martin said. "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."

Even though the results demonstrated an improvement with self-control, Martin said that the glucose mouthwash might not be as effective for solving bigger self-control issues such as weight loss or smoking cessation. On the other hand, rinsing with glucose might not cure a long-term habit, but for the short term it might be helpful.

By: Marsha Quinn
Health Reporter

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