Researchers at the University of Westminster's Center for Nutraceuticals found that pink energy drinks could make an athlete run faster and improve their exercise performance by around 4.4% over clear fluids.
Researchers published their study, entitled "Mouth Rinsing With a Pink Non-caloric, Artificially-Sweetened Solution Improves Self-Paced Running Performance and Feelings of Pleasure in Habitually Active Individuals," in the journal Frontiers of Nutrition.
Pink Energy Drinks Could Help A Person Run Faster and Further
According to the university's news release published in PR Newswire, the study is the first to investigate the effect of drink color on exercise performance and provided a new insight for future studies on sports drinks and exercise.
Researchers asked the participants to run on a treadmill for 30 minutes at their own pace to make sure that their rate of exertion remained consistent.
They were asked to rinse their mouths with either pink or clear energy drinks throughout the exercise. Both of the pink artificially sweetened and clear energy drinks were low in calories. Ultimately, both drinks are exactly the same, with the only difference is their color because they added a food dye to the pink drink to change its appearance.
Participants started exercising by drinking the clear energy drink and then the one with pink food dye. Those who drank the latter had a running record of an average distance of 3.13 miles (5,047 meters), which is 696 feet (212 meters) greater than the former with only 3.00 miles (4,835 meters).
Additionally, participants who drank pink energy drinks reported finding their run more enjoyable.
Pink Color Enhances Perception of Sweetness
Study author Sanjoy Deb said that color's influence on athletic performance has been gaining a lot of interest recently, from its effect on the athlete's kit to the impact on their testosterone power, Daily Mail reported.
In the field of gastronomy, color has been widely received with interest, especially since several researchers have published studies on how colors could affect flavor perception when eating or drinking.
"Adding a pink colorant 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," Deb said.
The team chose pink food dye because it is typically associated with the sweet flavor, which increases a person's expectations of sugar and carbohydrates in energy drinks.
The study is built on the results of previous studies that showed rinsing the mouth with carbohydrates could enhance exercise performance by reducing the perceived intensity of the activity.
Researchers in this recent study wanted to test whether using pink food dye on an energy drink with no carbohydrates could elicit a similar response through a placebo effect.
"The findings from our study combine the art of gastronomy with performance nutrition," Deb said.
The team said that future research on this topic could look into whether the placebo effect in their study could cause a similar effect to areas of the brain activated as when a person rinses their mouths with carbohydrates.
RELATED ARTICLE: Black Chocolate Packaging Makes People Think it is Bitter [STUDY]