London: For smokers willing to kick the butt, scientists have an unusual solution - gargling with a glass of lemonade. In a new study, scientists have found that the interaction of sugar (known as glucose) with the tongue boosts attention as well as energy and can improve self control. This could help keep smokers away from the cigarettes at least in the short-term, the Daily Mail reported.
The study was published in journal Psychological Science. A team from the University of Georgia conducted self-control tasks on 51 students to see if a mouth rinse with glucose boosts attention as well as energy. The first task, which depletes self-control, was to meticulously cross out Es on a page from a statistics book. The second was the Stroop task, where participants were asked to identify the colour of various words flashed on a screen, which spell out the names of other colours.
The Stroop task's goal is to turn off the student's tendency to read the words and instead see the colours. Half the students rinsed their mouths with lemonade sweetened with sugar while performing the Stroop test, and the other half with Splenda-sweetened lemonade. Results showed students who rinsed with sugar, rather than artificial sweetener, were significantly faster at responding to the colour rather than 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," Professor Leonard Martin, of the University of Georgia, 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," Martin said.
It took participants about three to five minutes to perform the Stroop test, which shows a measure of self-control, but glucose mouthwash might not be enough to solve some of the biggest self-control obstacles like losing weight or smoking. "The research is not clear yet on the effects of swishing with glucose on long-term self-control. So, if you are trying to quit smoking, a swish of lemonade may not be the total cure, but it certainly could help you in the short run," Martin said.
"The glucose seems to be good at getting you to stop an automatic response such as reading the words in the Stroop task and to substitute the second harder one in its place such as saying the colour the word is printed in," Martin said. "It can enhance emotive investment and self-relevant goals," he said.