We tested a novel hypothesis that glucose taste acts as a signal for resource acquisition, motivating preference for immediate rewards while actual glucose ingestion prompts resource conservation, promoting future-orientated self-regulation. In Study 1, participants were engaged in a delay-discounting task and a grip-control task before and after a beverage intervention (glucose drink, water drink, or glucose mouth-rinse). Glucose ingestion decreased delay discounting, making larger-and-later rewards more attractive. In contrast, glucose rinse increased delay discounting. Water ingestion had none of the effects. In the grip-control task, only glucose ingestion improved the performance. Study 2 using fMRI revealed that glucose rinse and glucose ingestion resulted in distinct brain activational patterns. Compared to glucose rinse, glucose ingestion deactivated a few brain regions (e.g., the anterior cingulate gyrus and inferior frontal gyrus) that are previously shown to be more active when making more difficult intertemporal choices, suggesting that glucose ingestion eases the process of making intertemporal choice. In sum, our behavioral and neuroimaging findings together suggest a dual signaling role of glucose sensation and ingestion in regulating delay discounting and self-control.
Appetite – Elsevier
Published: Feb 1, 2018
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