According to a British study, consuming a pink-coloured drink during an exercise session could increase performance.
The placebo effect produced by the colour – linked to sugar in the collective imagination – may also intensify the feeling of wellbeing.
In this study, published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition, researchers from the Centre for Nutraceuticals at the University of Westminster in London asked participants to run for 30 minutes on a treadmill at a speed of their choice.
The runners were separated into two groups: those who were given a pink beverage with which to rinse their mouth and those given a clear drink to do the same.
Both drinks were artificially sweetened and low in calories, with only food colouring added to the first drink to give it its pink colour.
The participants who were given the pink drink ran an average of 212m longer than the other group, and researchers noted a 4.4% increase in their performance.
The athletes in the pink drink group also felt more pleasure in running.
The exercise seemed easier and more enjoyable for them.
The researchers explain these results by the particularities of the pink colour chosen for the study.
Pink is associated with sweetness and therefore promotes the body’s expectation of sugar and carbohydrate intake.
“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,” commented study author Dr Sanjoy Deb.
More research is needed to find out if the proposed placebo effect – in this example, the pink drink – causes a similar activation of the brain’s reward areas. – AFP Relaxnews