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The Color of Sports Drinks May Keep You Running Faster & Longer

According to a recent study, there may be a connection between motivation and the color of sports drinks we choose to consume.

The study, published in Frontiers of Nutrition and shared through TheBeet.com, found that pink sports drinks increased exercise performance in the study’s participants more than any other color.

sports drinksTo conduct their study, researchers asked the participants to run on a treadmill at a desired speed for 30 minutes. While running they were asked to rinse their mouths with one of two options: a pink artificially sweetened drink that was low in calories, or a clear artificially sweetened drink that was equally low in calories, TheBeet.com reported.

The only difference in the sports drinks was the food dye used in the pink option to give the drink its hue. The researchers found that the pink sports drink option was often selected because it’s associated with being sweet and makes people believe they’re getting a sugar boost.

“The influence of color on athletic performance has received interest previously, from its effect on a sportsperson’s kit to its impact on testosterone and muscular power,” corresponding author, Dr. Sanjoy Deb, said in an interview. “Similarly, the role of color in gastronomy has received widespread interest, with research published on how visual cues or color can affect subsequent flavor perception when eating and drinking. The findings from our study combine the art of gastronomy with performance nutrition, as 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.”

The end result of the study found that those who received the “pink drink” ran 212 meters further (or approximately 0.13 miles) and boosted their average speed by 4.4%, TheBeet.com reported. The same group also had increased feelings of pleasure, which indicates they enjoyed the workout and it seemed easier than the clear drink group.

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Gastronomy is the study of food and culture, and it helps us understand how tasting, experiencing food impact our sensory responses to nutrition, or how our brain reacts to certain foods and beverages, TheBeet.com reported.

In this case, it’s believed the pink color of the sports drink made the brain believe it was getting energy from carbohydrates, which allowed the participants to run faster and longer.

To read the full study on the impact sports drinks has on runners from TheBeet.com, click here.