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Good Housekeeping
Charlene J. Owen, Contributor
November 14, 2012

Sugar Water May Help You Focus on Tasks, According to Study

Lacking the self-discipline to stay in the zone and finish the one thing that you need to do? Try having something that's naturally sweet in your mouth. By Charlene J. Owen

Are you having trouble concentrating on a task? A new study featured on has recently shown that not having enough self-control may actually be remedied by gargling sugar water.

University of Georgia psychology professor Leonard Martin and his colleagues did a trial on 51 students who were asked to do two kinds of self-control tasks. As the participants underwent the second task, half of them were asked to gargle lemonade with sugar, while the other had an artificially sweetened lemonade.

Interestingly, those who swished with naturally sweetened lemonade managed to finish the second task faster and with fewer mistakes. Glucose, which is present in all natural sugars, stopped automatic responses in order to process correct and more logical reactions.  

"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," Prof. Martin explains.

Although the data may help in short-term situations that need focus, more research is still needed to find out how to improve self-discipline needed to push through lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking or starting out on a new exercise routine.

Natural sugars are great in boosting control, but whether you push through with a task or not is still your decision. More than just having something sweet in your mouth, the proper mindset and attitude are keys to making changes that will improve your quality of work and life.

(Photo by Mark Hunter via Flickr Creative Commons)

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