Flutterby™! : Willpower & Glucose linked

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Willpower & Glucose linked

2008-04-10 16:40:59.155602+00 by Dan Lyke 2 comments

I'm primarily passing this along for Chris, although all you other physiology hackers might be interested: Antigravitas had a link to FuturePundit: Brain Willpower Depleted By Use, which, among other things, links to The Physiology of Willpower: Linking Blood Glucose to Self-Control, Matthew T. Gailliot and Roy F. Baumeister, Pers Soc Psychol Rev 2007; 11; 303, DOI: 10.1177/1088868307303030:

Effortful, controlled, or executive processes require more glucose than simpler, less effortful, or automatic processes, and they are more likely to be impaired when glucose is low or cannot be used effectively. In this sense, effortful, controlled, or executive process are quantitatively different from other processes in that they require more glucose. It is plausible that effortful processes require more glucose because they are somehow qualitatively different from other processes, yet these qualitative differences are unknown at present. Regardless of whether the difference in biological process is quantitative or qualitative, however, the implication is that psychological theories about effortful, controlled, and executive processes, such as self-control, will have to incorporate energy dynamics much more centrally and prominently than will psychological theories that invoke the simpler and more automatic processes.

[ related topics: Psychology, Psychiatry and Personality Physiology ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2008-04-11 15:18:39.6317+00 by: crasch

So, eating the twinkie raises blood glucose, which fortifies the will to resist eating the twinkie.

No wonder I'm overweight! I only have retrospective self-control. :>

#Comment Re: made: 2008-04-11 16:40:39.674807+00 by: Dan Lyke

I think that's a reasonable way to start looking at the hypothesis, and figuring out how to steady the blood glucose rather than fueling it in wild swings seems like part of what's helped Charlene lose weight. Seems like preemptively avoiding the cravings, rather than managing them, is part of the strategy.