Drinking a pink-coloured drink could help you to run faster and further, a new study has suggested. Exercise performance increased by almost 5 per cent when participants had a pink-coloured drink.
Researchers from the Centre for Nutraceuticals at the University of Westminster found that pink drinks increased exercise performance by almost five per cent, compared to clear drinks.
The beverages could also increase – and sustain – the feel-good endorphins released during a workout.
Participants were asked to run on a treadmill for 30 minutes at any speed they wished, ensuring that it was consistent, and throughout the workout, they rinsed their mouths with either a low-calorie pink drink that was artificially sweetened or an artificially sweetened low-calorie clear drink.
Both drinks were exactly the same beverage, with the pink drink dyed with food colouring by researchers.
Participants ran an average of 212 metres further with the pink drink, their average speed increased by 4.4 per cent, while feelings of pleasure during the exercise were also enhanced.
The findings suggested that participants associated the pink drink with being sweet, so expected to feel a rush of sugar.
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The study's corresponding author Dr Sanjoy Deb said that the findings showed the influence of colour on athletic performance.
"The findings from our study combine the art of gastronomy with performance nutrition, as adding a pink colourant to an artificially sweetened solution not only enhanced the perception of sweetness, but also enhanced feelings of pleasure, self-selected running speed and distance covered during a run," he explained.
Previous studies have also shown that rinsing the mouth with carbohydrates can improve exercise performance by reducing the perceived intensity of the exercise. The researchers therefore wanted to explore whether a pink drink that had no carbohydrate stimulus could offer the same result via a placebo effect.