Strange and Bizarre: Pink drinks can help you run faster and further, study finds


Strange and Bizarre: Pink drinks can help you run faster and further, study finds


A new study led by the Centre for Nutraceuticals at the University of Westminster shows that pink drinks can help to make you run faster and further compared to clear drinks.

Researchers discovered that a pink drink can improve exercise performance by 4.4 per cent and can also elicit a 'feel good' effect which can make exercise appear easier.

The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition, is the first investigation of its kind which assessed the effect of drink colour on exercise performance and this research provides the potential to open new directions for future research in the sports drinks and exercise arena.

During the trial, participants ran on a treadmill for 30 minutes at a self-selected speed while maintaining consistent exertion levels. During the exercise they rinsed their mouths with either a pink artificially sweetened drink that was low in calories or a clear drink which was also artificially sweetened and low in calories.

Both drinks were exactly the same and only differed in appearance -- the researchers added food dye to the pink drink to change the colour.

The colour pink was used in the trial as it is associated with perceived sweetness and it increases expectations of sugar and carbohydrate intake.

Earlier studies have shown that rinsing the mouth with carbohydrates prior to and during exercise can improve performance by reducing the apparent intensity of the exercise, so the researchers wanted to find out whether rinsing with a pink drink that had no carbohydrate stimulus could produce similar response through a potential placebo effect.

The trial results show that the participants were able to run an average 212 metres further with the pink drink while their mean speed during the exercise test also increased by 4.4 per cent. The participants also found the running more enjoyable.

Discussing the study, Dr Sanjoy Deb, from the University of Westminster, said: "The influence of colour on athletic performance has received interest previously, from its effect on a sportsperson's kit to its impact on testosterone and muscular power. Similarly, the role of colour in gastronomy has received widespread interest, with research published on how visual cues or colour can affect subsequent flavour perception when eating and drinking.

"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."


University of Westminster. (2021, May 12). Pink drinks can help you run faster and further, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 25, 2021 from


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