Can Lemonade Improve Self-Control?

11/09/2012

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Could this be the secret to a longer workout?

Back when I was in middle school I remember my teachers feeding me candy and playing Mozart before a “big” test.

Both were believed to help improve test performance, much like the recent Japanese study that found that looking at pictures of cute things can improve concentration.

Likewise, new research published in the journal Psychological Science revealed that swishing lemonade made with real, not artificial, sugar can improve self-control. The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Georgia who had 51 students perform two tasks to test self-control. The first test asked students to do tedious research. The second was a Stroop task, which asked the students to name the color of words as they popped up on a screen. The tricky part is these words spell out the names of other colors (for example, the word "red" may actually be green in color).

The students were split into two groups, with half rinsing their mouths with sugar-sweetened lemonade while performing the tests. The other half did the same thing, only they swished lemonade sweetened with Splenda. It turns out that students who rinsed with sugar were much faster to answer the Stroop task.

Researchers found the evidence so conclusive that they said the method could even be used to extend workouts. By simply swishing the sugary drink around your mouth, you may be able to extend your workout by an extra half hour.

Leonard Martin, a University of Georgia professor and co-author of this study concluded that the lemonade works by stimulating our emotive enhancement. Simply put, the lemonade makes us want to work for whatever personal reason we see the work as valuable. For example, if you’re doing research for work that you don’t want to do, swishing some lemonade may help you see and feel the need to do the research for the greater project at hand. You’re better able to think of your end goal and justify continuing your work in the moment.

Try it!

If you’re going to test the study on your own time, be careful to get lemonade made with real sugar. This can be trickier than you think, so when you’re at the store double and triple check the label on the bottle.

But most importantly, let us know what you think! Did the sugar improve your work out? Your work day? Tell us about your experience!

For More Scientific Studies:

Study Finds Younger Men and Women at Risk for Stroke

Is Genetically Modified Corn Safe?

Study Finds Decrease in Drunk Driving Among Teens


The Discovery Fit and Health team brings you the latest (and most interesting) health news as well as exclusive interviews, video clips, and other juicy tidbits from your favorite shows.
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