We hear about the negative impacts of refined sugar all day long. It makes kids cuckoo. It systematically thickens the waistlines of our nation's residents. It hardens arteries and skyrockets cholesterol levels.
It destroys the ozone layer. Okay, that particular complaint hasn't been made, but you get my point.
Commercials praise products for being naturally sugar-free. Every big name food company sells sugar-free versions of their most coveted processed foods although they often replace the sugar with artificial sweeteners like aspartame, which is an iffy choice. Agave nectar, honey, maple syrup and other natural sweeteners are used in place of refined sugar in granola bars, cereals and snacks.
But does sugar ever have a place?
I offer you a hearty and resounding, "YES!" And this comes from someone who avoids most sugars at all costs. There are times when a tiny bit of sugar can actually be helpful. When? When you're testing, of course, but only if you're strategic. Here's the program:
On the morning of your big test, whether it's the GMAT, SAT, PSAT or another standardized exam, eat a nice, healthy breakfast. Something like whole grain toast with egg whites and fruit will do. Then, put a piece of candy like a peppermint or a Lifesaver into your pocket for later.
Near the end of the test, when you start to get sleepy or lose focus, pop that little bit of sugar into your mouth for a very quick pick-me-up. No, it's not healthy, so you can save those emails for someone else who will read them. It is, however, good testing strategy. Sugar can aid your test score by giving you just enough of a zing to keep moving through difficult material.
I'm guessing that students who are scoring a spot into one of the top business schools in the country with their crazy-good GMAT scores have learned the secret of strategic sugar intake. If not, then perhaps they're just good testers.
Regardless, a touch of sugar can help, but make sure it's just one piece of candy. Eating an entire roll of Lifesavers or a bag of mints could have the opposite effect, and I really don't want that on my conscience.
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