The research, conducted at the University of Warwick, found that sugar improves memory in older adults and makes them more motivated to perform difficult tasks at full capacity.
The study found that increasing blood sugar levels not only improves memory and performance but makes older adults feel happier during a task.
However, older adults who had a glucose drink showed significantly better memory and more positive mood compared to those who consumed the artificial sweetener.
The study, which was also conducted on young adults, found that the glucose drink increased their energy but that’s where it ended.
The glucose did not improve either their mood or their memory performance.
“Over the years, studies have shown that actively engaging with difficult cognitive tasks is a prerequisite for the maintenance of cognitive health in older age,” said Konstantinos Mantantzis, a PhD student from the University of Warwick’s department of psychology.
“Therefore, the implications of uncovering the mechanisms that determine older adults’ levels of engagement cannot be understated.”
The authors concluded that short-term energy in the form of raised blood sugar levels could be an important factor in older adults’ motivation to perform a task at their highest capacity.