The sweetness of surrender

Glucose enhances self-control by signaling environmental richness

Neil Levy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


According to the ego-depletion account of loss of self-control, self-control is, or depends on, a depletable resource. Advocates of this account have argued that what is depleted is actually glucose. However, there is experimental evidence that indicates that glucose replenishment is not necessary for regaining self-control, as well as theoretical reasons for thinking that it is not depleted by exercises of self-control. I suggest that glucose restores self-control not because it is a resource on which it relies, but because it serves as a signal of environment quality. I suggest that the evidence is better explained by a rival opportunity costs model of self-control than by the ego-depletion account.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)813-825
Number of pages13
JournalPhilosophical Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2016


  • Ego depletion
  • glucose
  • self-control

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