Earlier studies have exhibited how individuals who rinse their mouth with carbohydrates can positively influence exercise performance by reducing the perceived intensity of the exercise, but the researchers of this study (which is the first to explore how drink color impacts exercise performance) wanted to see if rinsing with a pink drink without carbohydrates could have similar benefits through a placebo effect.
The team chose the color pink because of its associated sweetness, which also triggers increased expectations of sugar and carbohydrate consumption. The participants of the study were instructed to run on a treadmill for half an hour at a speed of their choosing. During their run, they rinsed their mouths with low-calorie, artificially sweetened beverages that were either clear or pink. Other than the color, the drinks were identical.
Those who had the pink drink ran an average of 212 meters further than those with the clear drink. The average speed of the pink drink participants increased by 4.4 percent, and they also reported enjoying the run more than their clear dink counterparts.
Though the results are quite interesting, further research would be needed to see whether the placebo effect activates the same reward areas of the brain as actually rinsing with carbohydrates.
In the meantime, the next time you feel like exercising, using a pink-tinted water bottle or choosing a pink electrolyte drink could amp up your workout without you even realizing it.
Source study: Frontiers in Nutrition—Mouth rinsing with a pink non-caloric, the artificially-sweetened solution improves self-paced running performance and feelings of pleasure in habitually active individuals