Want to have more self-control? A wide range of studies (see here for examples) by Florida State psycholgists (e.g., Roy Baumeister, Brandon Schmeichel and Nathan DeWall) suggest that you can increase your self-control in a surprising way - by drinking lemonade!

These studies show that:

1) When people practice self-control, they have reduced glucose levels.

2) Low levels of glucose are associated with worse performance on difficult (but not easy) tasks that require self-control.

3) Consuming drinks with glucose (like lemonade) makes people have higher levels of self-control on a variety of tasks.

In one study testing point 1, glucose levels were measured, and then participants were randomly assigned to either watch a video normally, or to watch a video with words flashing in the corner of the screen that they had to ignore looking at. The act of self-control (not looking at the words) was enough to reduce glucose levels among participants.

In a study testing point 2, participant's glucose was assessed, and then they had to again show self-control by ignoring words in the corner of a screen during a movie. They then had to perform a Stroop Task. Participants who had lower glucose levels after exerting self-control performed worse on the Stroop Task (glucose and self-control were significantly correlated after the self-control movie task).

In a Study testing point 3, participants drank lemonade (or a control group drink) and then were reminded of their own death (or a control topic), which past research suggests impairs self-control. After this, they had to complete a series of word fragment completions (e.g., complete G R A _ _ with a word). If self-control is impaired by death salience, they should complete less word fragments in that condition. And, if lemonade provides self-control, drinking lemonade should protect against this. That is exactly what this study found.

In sum, self-control relies on a supply of glucose. When performing difficult tasks, you might want to drink some lemonade (or some other glucose drink) to aid your performance.

Lemonade: a vital cog to self-control.

Recent Posts in The Big Questions

Authenticity, Self-Esteem and Time Perspective

When authenticity does (and does not) relate to high self-esteem

The Good Old Days Made Me Grow

The Role of Nostalgia in Personal Transformation

Supernaturally Better than You

Religion and the better than average effect

On Wanting More Beauty

Belief that beauty can change is associated with poor mental health

Real News or Parody?

A list of "fake news" websites

Vaccinate your Children

Preventable diseases are on the rise