A new study led by the Centre for Nutraceuticals in the University of Westminster, London shows that pink drinks can help to make you run faster and further compared to clear drinks.
The researchers found that a pink drink can increase exercise performance by 4.4 per cent and can also increase a ‘feel good’ effect which can make exercise seem easier.
The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition, is the first investigation to assess the effect of drink colour on exercise performance and provides the potential to open a new avenue of future research in the field of sports drinks and exercise.
During the study, participants were asked to run on a treadmill for 30 minutes at a self-selected speed ensuring their rate of exertion remained consistent. Throughout the exercise, they rinsed their mouths with either a pink artificially sweetened drink that was low in calories or a clear drink that was also artificially sweetened and low in calories.
Both drinks were exactly the same and only differed in appearance – the researchers added food dye to the pink drink to change the colour. The researchers chose pink as it is associated with perceived sweetness and therefore increases expectations of sugar and carbohydrate intake.
The results show that the participants ran an average of 212 m further with the pink drink while their mean speed during the exercise test also increased by 4.4 per cent. Feelings of pleasure were also enhanced meaning participants found running more enjoyable.
Future exploratory research is necessary to find out whether the proposed placebo effect causes a similar activation to the reward areas of the brain that are commonly reported when rinsing the mouth with carbohydrates.