Thinkin Dunkin

Dunkin’ Thinkin’ in the News

Honors for the best nutrition news fable of the week goes to Fox News. That’s because intrepid reporter Meredith Lepore made magic from a dense review article on energy requirements for cognitive work. From that humble starting material, she conjured up some great clickbait. Don’t think twice about grabbing an extra donut, she says. So long as you’ve got a workday filled with heavy thinking, you’ll burn those extra carbs in a snap. Dunkin’ thinkin’ at its very best.

Serious Research on Cognitive Energy

Ewan McNay and colleagues have been working for some time on how the brain uses energy. They published a fine review of current neuroscience to explain how the brain uses energy to do its work. It’s all about getting sufficient glucose to fuel the work.

But they poke a hole in the theory that self-control is somehow different from other work the brain does. Some folks have proposed that the brain has a limited capacity for exercising self control. And they say the reason goes back to the metabolic cost of exercising self control. Makes your brain ache, so to speak.

Hogwash, says McNay et al. “We argue that there is no evidence that self-control is special in regard to its metabolic cost,” they write.

Donuts on the Brain

Perhaps Lepore had donuts on the brain when she set about reporting on this research. After, this week we also had the blockbuster news from Dunkin’ Donuts, that the brand is dropping donuts from its name. (Is nothing sacred?) Henceforth, it’s just Dunkin’.

So we get it. How can you write about boring neuroscience when donuts are in play? The brain just can’t handle it. Pass the donuts, please.

Click here for McNay’s review article and here for Lepore’s translational reporting. Of course, if you want lackluster reporting on the subject – minus the the dunkin’ thinkin’ – you can get that from Time here.

Thinkin’ Dunkin’, photograph © Thomas Hawk / flickr

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September 27, 2018

One Response to “Dunkin’ Thinkin’ in the News”

  1. September 27, 2018 at 9:00 am, Stephen Phillips said:

    According to this report, so long as you’ve got a workday filled with heavy thinking, you’ll burn those extra carbs in a snap.

    Perhaps that is the etymology of “Jogging your brain”

    Sign me up for the Marathon