Why Gargling Sugar Water is Good for You

We grow up being told that sugary drinks rot our teeth and cause hyperactivity, but a recent study shows that they can actually be good for us. According to the study by the University of Georgia, gargling sugar water can improve your self-control.

The study

The study that was published in Psychological Science, asked 51 students to perform two tasks. The first involved them crossing out the letter E on a page of text. The participants were then asked to carry out the Stroop test which asks them to identify the font colour of various words which spelt other colours. This test trains the participant to overcome their tendency to read the word rather than seeing the colour.

Sugar drink

The group were then split into two. Half rinsed their mouths with sugar sweetened lemonade. The other half drank lemonade that was sweetened by Splenda. The results showed that students who rinsed with sugar were faster at responded to the colour.


Researchers have linked glucose with self-control in the past, but they believed that it simply gave the patient the energy required for self-control. The research from the trial now suggests that glucose stimulates the carbohydrate sensors on the tongue which signals the motivation centre of the brain. This is the signal that tells your body to take notice.


One of the most common consequences of a lack of self-control is weight gain through over-eating. Unfortunately the research doesn’t support a theory that gargling with glucose on a long-term basis could provide people with enough self-control to change their habits.


Aside from increasing energy levels and stimulating senses, gargling sugar water stops peoples' automatic responses and allows them to choose the harder option.


The team of researchers are currently conducting studies on how emotional responses are invoked and how they are interpreted which will build on these findings.

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