19 May 2021

Pink panters: dyed drink makes you go faster

The Back Page

Think pink for a performance boost, suggests a new study reminiscent of the Ork adage that red wunz go faster.

A Brazilian/Australian research team took 10 active individuals and had them all perform two trials running at their chosen speed for 30 minutes on a treadmill. In each, the participants were given a no-calorie artificially sweetened liquid to swill around their mouths and spit out (they diligently collected and measure the spit-out to check none had been ingested).

The only difference between the fluids in the two trials was that one had been coloured with pink dye.

When they rinsed with the pink drink, the subjects’ distance covered and mean speed increased by around 5% (p<0.025 in each case).

It’s well known that just rinsing with a sugary liquid will enhance athletes’ performance, thanks probably to a detection of calories that inhibits fatigue even when the calories don’t arrive.

It’s also been found, the authors say in the study, published in Frontiers in Nutrition, that a non-calorific drink you’re told contains calories will enhance performance more than one you’re told is just a placebo.

Pink also enhances perceptions of sweetness, consistently across European, Asian and American cultures. Therefore, the authors hypothesised, the placebo effect should be greater when the drink is pink, leading to greater ergogenic benefit.

We do wonder what results they would have got with that pretty blue colour popular in sports drinks, presumably because blue = water = won’t die of thirst on this run.

The authors conclude that “Future research should seek to elucidate the link between mouth rinse colour, perceived carbohydrate intake and psychophysiological outcomes in exercising humans.”

The Back Page begs to differ and proposes that future research would be better spent testing the ergogenic benefits of negronis vs martinis.

Send your sweet tips to felicity@medicalrepublic.com.au.

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