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Energy Level Affects Decision-Making Ability

When it concerns stress management, food and mood are closely connected. Did you know that your ability to make rational decisions is dependent on your menu? Based on a new scientific study, impulsive live-for-today decisions versus rational, cognitive processing for future events directly relate to blood sugar levels.

So, if you are hungry and feeling low energy which means low blood sugar levels, you are likely to have little self-control and look for immediate gratification. However, if your blood sugar levels are stable, like after a balanced meal, you will think about future consequences.

Psychologists X.T. Wang and Robert D. Dvorak from the University of South Dakota investigated how blood glucose levels alter the way people process present and future rewards. Volunteers were asked questions like if they would rather get a lesser amount of money tomorrow or a larger amount of money in the future. Low blood sugar levels were associated with “I’ll take less money today.” Also, worthy to note: diet sodas triggered more impulsive decision making because of their empty calories.

Now that you know that your brain needs to have more stable blood sugar levels to think straight, you can biochemically attain better control of your life! This new study is particularly helpful to shopaholics, and those suffering from eating disorders, drug and gambling addictions: “My low blood sugar level made me do it!” A good treatment might be the healthy, sunny Mediterranean diet.

This metabolic concept makes great sense. When are you most likely to sabotage your diet and reach for that candy bar or make that expensive purchase? The answer is when your blood glucose levels have dipped and you need a “high.” Soon thereafter you feel bad, “What was I thinking?” Well, you weren’t thinking straight at all. Therefore to ward off bad decisions which will impact on your future you need to keep your food intake in balance. Here’s how:

* Don’t skip breakfast.
* Eat balanced meals throughout the day: a complex carbohydrate, a lean protein and a healthy fat like olive oil, nuts or avocado. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Eating a healthy fat or a complex carbohydrate ensures a steady absorption of nutrients.
* Avoid white processed foods which create surge and crash syndrome with blood sugar levels.
* Avoid artificial sweeteners as the body interprets them as a calorie crisis and they actually make you crave sugars.
* When you feel fatigued and hungry, make it a priority to refuel your body – the way you put gas in your car. Don’t override what your body is telling you. Putting yourself last on the list might lead to a costly error by compromising good judgment.
 

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