About to Go Shopping? Gargle First!

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SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: MAY STOP MONKEY BRAIN

“Some people drink from the fountain of knowledge, others just gargle.”
–Dr. Robert Anthony

We probably all know the axiom that if you want to go grocery shopping, don’t do it on an empty stomach. You’ll be hungry, and every piece of food you pass will look good. As a result, you won’t stick to your list and come home with a bunch of food – probably junk food – that you didn’t really intend to buy, might not eat, but sure sounded good when you were pushing the shopping cart around.

The stomach and the brain are intertwined, causing our bodies to be flooded with ghrelin and forgetting to tell us we’re full until more than 20 minutes into a meal. We eat more at buffets when the quality of the food isn’t good, and are willing to pay more for food which has more satisfying tastes.

Now, researchers at the University of Georgia have discovered a way to trick the body into working for us. As I’ve written about previously, when we have to make a series of decisions and say no many times in a row, we suffer from what is known as ego depletion. Once we’ve experienced ego depletion, then we’re much more likely to say yes to something than we are to be able to turn it down.

If you’re shopping, then unless you’re the special breed who goes into the store, buys what you need, turns on a heel, and walks out (well, after paying, of course), then you’re going to be faced with having to say no to temptation after temptation after temptation. Eventually, saying no will seem like it’s impossible.

At that point, you need a boost.


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Specifically, according to the research done by the University of Georgia, you need a gargle of sugar. Students who swished sugar water around in their mouths were much more able to then perform difficult mental tasks than those who swished around water flavored with Splenda.

So, if you’re going to be faced with having to say no to a series of temptations, such as when you’re shopping, gargle some lemonade beforehand. No, you can’t gargle diet lemonade, and I’m not recommending drinking an entire lemonade and bombarding your body with a sugar high. Gargle. Give yourself a spike. Boost that ego!

Plus, the looks you get from strangers as you gargle lemonade will be priceless. Take some pictures of the flabbergasted strangers and send them to me!

About Jason Hull, CFP®

Jason Hull, CFP®, is the Chief Technology officer of myFinancialAnswers, an online comprehensive financial planning service.

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