Willpower: What Does Sugar Have To Do With It?


Willpower: What Does Sugar Have To Do With It?

Temptation is everywhere. Start with the alarm of the alarm clock. You find it in the cafeteria, where the image of chocolate cakes reduces your vigor by eating the vegetable omelette you had planned. Then, at work, it hits you again when an online sale or Twitter attracts you more than a compelling, if monotonous, task on the computer.

Many people believe that falling into temptation is reduced to one thing: willpower.

The renowned social psychologist Roy Baumeister has spent more than a decade researching issues related to self-control. Some of his most recent findings, which appear in his book "Strength of will: rediscovering the greatest human strength", demonstrate a strong relationship between willpower, self-control and glucose, or sugar - the main source of energy for your body and your brain.

You only have a supply of will power. You use it for a remarkable variety of things: limit your appetites, make decisions, exercise initiative, perform well at work and at school, be good to your loved ones, manage your money, and so on. The most successful people take this criterion into account.

Roy Baumeister, social psychologist

Your brain and sugar

"Willpower is a traditional folk term based on the idea that a person uses a little energy to resolve internal conflicts and do what correct, "said Baumeister." Self-control is the way to change your answers, and willpower is an essential ingredient of that process.

Although the brain does not stop working when glucose is low, it stops doing things Individuals, and start doing others.Willpower and self-control are factors that tend to suffer.This is one reason why skipping meals or doing a restrictive diet can cause more hunger than normal and less enthusiasm for your goals., exercise and other tasks Meanwhile, the desire for sweets increases.

In one study, a group of hungry college students entered Baumeister's lab and found the air smelling sweet of cookies of baked chocolate and a table covered with cookies, chocolates and radishes. The students were limited to choosing only the radishes or all three together. Baumeister and his colleagues observed the students through a hidden window, noting that the radish-only eaters showed significant signs of temptation.

Next, the students were given geometric puzzles to solve. These were irresolvable. Baumeister was not investigating the intelligence of the students, but his perseverance.The students who ate cookies and chocolates worked with the puzzles for about 20 minutes, without giving up. Those who had eaten only radishes, even though they had successfully resisted the temptation of the sweets, turned themselves in after eight minutes - a significant difference to the research standards.

These findings make sense, according to Baumeister, because the quickest providers of the glucose effect are simple sugars, like sugars. With more glucose available to the brain, which requires twice as much energy as the rest of the body's cells, it is easy to control.

Does this mean you should eat more chocolate to have better willpower and self-control? No. Although sweets can provide useful energy and concentration in some cases, the healthiest option is a balanced diet, based on nutrient-rich foods and sweets in moderation. Such a diet supports the balance of blood sugar, which is associated with constant energy levels, appetite control and mental capacity.

Considering this, is it the lack of glucose that is to blame for the high failure rate of most diets and the New Year's resolutions of weight loss? It is very possible.

In addition to eating enough - without depriving your body of glucose - setting realistic goals is crucial when it comes to losing weight and achieving wellness. "Most people set unrealistic goals," explains Baumeister. "Willpower is limited, and therefore wasteful in the pursuit of unrealistic objectives will result in the detriment of a person's ability to achieve other things."

Of course, dietary factors are only one way in which that your body is based on willpower.

"You only have a supply of willpower, you use it for a remarkable variety of things: limit your appetites, make decisions, exercise initiative, perform well at work and at school, be good to your loved ones Dear ones, manage your money, and so on, the most successful people take this criterion into account.

Want to eat well

If you feel challenged by willpower, you can take numerous measures to improve your eating habits, thus improving your overall health.

"I believe that willpower is more important than genetics or access to food for the majority, because if the will is there, it is The individual is more likely to find a way to adopt healthier eating habits, "said Jaime Schehr, a registered nutritionist and naturopath." This may be more important for some than for others. For example, a person with a history of an inability to commit to dietary modifications, willpower and / or diet perception makes a big difference compared to someone who does not have a close relationship with food and struggle less for making healthy changes.

Instead of diet, Schehr recommends the goal of lifestyle changes that can be adhered to in the long term. Such a diet includes a certain amount of sweets. "If done correctly, people should be able to enjoy their favorite foods in moderation and still concentrate on eating more of what is healthy for them," he added.

However, willpower can sink people and take them out of the game. Dining at a buffet where you can eat everything you want, having large snack packages at home, and eating directly from the packages or in front of the TV can make it difficult to follow a general pattern of healthy eating. When you have easy access to low nutrient foods, it is a potential trap for failure. Once you fall into an unhealthy lifestyle, taking a step back can help you prevent bad habits from becoming routine.

To increase your chances of wellness success, Schehr suggests stocking up on vegetables, which are high in fiber and low in calories and consume more fruits. Fiber is satiating, which is why foods especially rich in fiber such as beans, lentils, broccoli, raspberries and artichokes prevent against excessive food cravings. Since sugary elements cause glucose levels to rise higher than fiber-rich foods, reducing the consumption of sweets and eating more fiber can also prevent the decrease in willpower associated with low glucose levels.

For overall health, the USDA suggests limiting foods high in solid fats and added sugars to no more than 5% to 15% of your total daily diet. On average, Americans outperform it by around 180%.

Schehr notes that eating nutritious, low-sugar foods more often causes a tendency to start wanting them. In other words, a healthy diet may not require as much willpower. Instead, focus on adopting a mental state of healthy eating and healthy eating habits. Instead of looking at the restrictions, think about what you can eat freely, what benefits certain foods provide, and what you can do to add flavor and enjoy healthy foods.

Another look

6 steps to successfully losing weight

  1. Get enough sleep. Adults commonly lack sleep, according to Baumeister. By resting, you reduce your body's need for glucose and improve your ability to use it properly. Although sleep needs vary by person, do your best to sleep when you are tired and follow a positive sleep routine.

  2. Stay away from fast-solution diets, which generate reduced motivation and rarely lead to success.Go on a diet once or twice, and your body can cooperate, says Baumeister. Over time, however, you can refuse, which increases your risk of gaining weight, more than you initially had.

  3. Seek support. If you struggle with little self-control, Schehr suggests the search for a "godfather" - a friend or relative who encourages you with your efforts to make positive changes.

  4. Plan ahead. "When you feel stronger," Schehr said, "prepare healthy foods for the week that can be reheated.

  5. Do not compare overweight to lack of willpower Oprah Winfrey is a A good example of how a person with a strong will and self-control still struggles with his weight, says Baumeister It is easy to fall into the temptation of fast-solution diets, however, those that are slow and constant lead to success.> Concentrate on the present. "Uneven eaters often do not believe they can achieve success related to diet or weight because many diets have failed them or because they focus on weight rather than health and fitness "I prefer to help clients solve problems of food, exercise and personal care on a daily basis instead of focusing on the objectives." If you get excited about this, and concentrate on eating well at your next meal And taking better care of yourself today, may be more effective than thinking in terms of long-term physical fitness or weight-related goals.

  6. Video Tutorial: How to Break Sugar Addiction: 7 Steps to Help You Stop Eating Sugar.

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