Mental stress, like the cumulative
effect of having to make many
decisions, causes glucose
depletion in a specific area of
As a result, and in an
attempt to conserve energy, the
brain searches for shortcuts.
One shortcut is impulsivity. For
instance, a glucose-depleted brain
overwhelmed by shopping choices wants
the decision-making process to end.
Hence, the impulse is to buy. Another
shortcut is to err on the side of not
making a mistake, as was found in a
2011 study where the glucose-depleted
Israeli judges took a shortcut by not
granting parole, knowing they could
always grant parole the next time.
In this study, researchers tracking an
Israeli parole board found that parole
granting fluctuated wildly depending
on the time of day. For example, if a
prisoner saw the board early in the
morning, he had a 70 percent chance of
getting parole, but if he was in front of
the board late in the day, he had only
a 10 percent chance. It was determined
that this inequity in parole granting was
connected with brain glucose depletion.
you and your massage
therapist. If you're
experiencing low brain
glucose while on the
massage table, your brain
will look for shortcuts
to conserve energy. A
could result in inadequate
feedback about the
massage pressure, or you
may not be inclined to
express a concern (like
mentioning that lying on
your stomach for long
periods of time hurts
your back). Eating a small
snack before the massage
will help you avoid mental
shortcuts without making
you feel uncomfortable
on the table.
• Green vegetables
• Whole grains
• Starchy vegetables
(corn, potatoes, pumpkin,
and sweet potatoes)
• Beans, lentils, and peas
How to Make Better Decisions
Complex Carbs for Clarity
By Mark Liskey
IS YOUR CLARITY IMPACTED
BY YOUR DIETARY CHOICES?
Research has proven that low brain
glucose can be reversed immediately.
Researchers had dieters suppress laughter
while watching a comedy to simulate
mental stress. Then, the dieters were
shown pictures of food. Brain imaging
revealed there was more activity in
the reward center of the brain and less
activity in the impulse control area—
the perfect setup for a diet cheat. When
dieters were given sugar water, imaging
showed that "the perfect setup for a
diet cheat" was instantly reversed.
Outside the lab, complex carbohydrates,
such as fruit and whole grain snacks—
which provide a slow, steady release
of energy—are far better choices than
sweet drinks to fix a dip in glucose.
So, the next time you're ready to
pass on a workout or are tempted to
abandon your diet, take a minute to
pause. Are you stressed and experiencing
low brain glucose? If so, try a complex
carbohydrate intervention. It just might
keep you on track to a healthier you.
1. Douglas Lisle, "4 Ways to Increase Your
Willpower," Center for Nutrition Studies,
accessed December 2015, www.nutritionstudies.
2. Shai Danzinger et al., "Extraneous Factors
in Judicial Decisions," Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences of the United
States of America 108, no. 17 (2011).
3. Jamie Holmes, "How to Learn Self-Control,"
accessed December 2015, www.thedailybeast.com/
Mark Liskey relies on his 23 years of massage
experience to write about a wide range of topics.
Find out more at www.markliskeymassage.com.