Simply swishing a glucose-laden drink in the mouth and spitting it out can boost your self-control and willpower, a new study has found.
The finding suggests that it is the perception of glucose rather than its metabolism in the body that is likely to be useful in counteracting the deleterious effects of reduced self-control, according to study researcher Martin Hagger, a psychologist at Curtin University in Western Australia.
Many previous studies have shown that willpower and self-control take energy.
But researchers have also found that a quick hit of glucose, or sugar, can bolster flagging willpower, for humans at least. The idea is that exerting self-control drains the brain of glucose, its main fuel, and so a gulp of sugary beverage can set the brain right again.
It's not actually clear, however, that the brain is suffering some sort of glucose shortage in these moments.
And several studies of athletes have found that simply tasting, but not consuming, a sweet energy drink can boost performance, even when the athletes have plenty of carbohydrates available to their muscles already.