Sugar and Self Control

Here’s a brain twister for you… a study shows that consumption of sugar helps improve self-control… self control for everything but sugar I’d guess.

The control group drank lemonade with Splenda, a sugar-free sweetener; the test group got lemonade sweetened with real sugar. The sugar group performed better than the Splenda group on their second [self-control] test, presumably because their blood sugar had been replenished.

Splenda?! Maybe Splenda just makes you stupid. Anyway, I’m not sure if the scientists are confusing self-control with just anything that makes your brain burn off a bit of fuel…

The researchers measured the blood glucose levels of participants before either engaging in another self-control task or a task that did not involve self-control. They found that the group performing the self-control task suffered depletion in glucose afterward.

This was the self-control task:

The Stroop task [is]  a famous way of testing strength of self-control. Participants in this task are shown color words that are printed in different-colored ink (like the word red printed in blue font), and are told to name the color of the ink, not the word.

I’ve done this test (here – knock yourself out) and I can tell you it hurts the head and bears no resemblance to what the average punter would call self-control. Maybe the key is mis-labling. Write “cat food” on that box of cookies.

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