A piece of research was released in 2021 with the following conclusion:
"Mouth rinsing with a pink non-caloric, artificially sweetened solution improved self-selected running speed, total distance covered, and feelings of pleasure obtained during a 30min running protocol when compared to an isocaloric and taste-matched clear solution."
When I saw this I thought how bonkers this was! Drinking, sorry not even drinking, mouth rinsing a pink drink makes you faster!
How? How can this be? 🤔
Although I'm no expert in reading scientific journals (my concentration span is dreadful!), I read it all and here is what I took from it....
How did they come to this conclusion?
When looking into the detail of the paper, the experiment only included 10 people, they visited 3 weeks in a row and given a clear solution or an identical, but pink solution.
What I didn't know before reading this was that other the effects of carbohydrate mouth rinse on running and cycling performance are well-documented.
The theory being the brain expects carbohydrates and so inhibits the fatigue response.
The group in this trial were told that mouth rinsing carbohydrates did produce an energy benefit but not the purpose of the trial (I.e. the colour).
They were asked to run for 30 mins on a treadmill at a self-selected pace that felt hard (15 on the rate of perceived exertion scale). When having the pink mouth rinse, running performance improved by 4.4%. That's HUGE! It's the equivalent of knocking 1 min 19 seconds off a 30 min 5k or 53 seconds off a 20 min 5k.
At the end of the trial participants thought the pink drink was sweeter (also a separate group validated this).
Interestingly there was no difference noted in heart rate.
So the big questions..... Do I believe it? and Am I going to try it?
As you may know I'm a huge believer in mindset, it's one of my pillars that I think every training programme should have (you can download my How to PB parkrun guide here to see all 7 components that every training programme should have).
Performance can be destroyed with negative mindset and can see huge improvement with a positive mindset.
So I think there may have been some mindset benefit, if you are part of a trail also maybe participants were a bit more disciplined between the weeks and maybe got a bit fitter?!!
But... reading the paper, I do believe they got quicker but do I think its due to the colour of the drink? Mmmm I'm a bit skeptical, and would like to see a bigger study.
Would I do it? I don't think so! I think it would depend on my mindset, if I went into it feeling positive and feel I have some reasons to perform well, I may perform better. The fact that I'm very very sceptical about it then I'd probably approach it without that positive feeling and hence. If I did I'd probably do it with a sugary pink!
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