Summary: Swishing and spitting out a sweet-tasting sucrose mouth rinse as you run may significantly improve your performance by 5 percent.
All you endurance runners may want to read this. You might be able to increase your performance by swishing with a little sucrose sugar solution a few times in your mouth while running.
Researchers at the University of Georgia have found that endurance athletes, who swished their mouths several times with (but did not swallow) a solution containing sucrose, significantly increased their running times.
It is thought that the sweet-tasting sucrose solution not only provided a little amount of energy, but also stimulated “reward areas” in the brain related to motor control. This in turn helps boost endurance performance.
The researchers found that the “sucrose swishers” increased their performance by about 5 percent compared to those who only swished with water.
Five Percent Improvement in Performance
The improvements were so drastic that it surprised the researchers. A five percent improvement equated to almost a three minute improvement in the athletes’ times. For endurance runners, this is a huge performance improvement.
In the study, 16 endurance athletes (nine men and seven women) from the ages for 18 to 45 ran a 7.9-mile time trial course in an indoor track. During the run, they swished and spit out the a mouth rinse eight times.
They ran four time trials and used a different mouth rinse each time. The mouth rinse contained either sucrose (table sugar), a low-intensity sucralose, an article sweetener that provided no energy but was sweet tasting, a high-intensity sucralose, and just plain water.
Need Both Energy and Sweetness
The artificial sweetener that provided no energy did not improve running times, so it seems there needs to be energy in the mouth rinse to get the performance gain.
The researchers concluded that the main driving force behind the performance gains seems to be the presence of energy in the mouth rinse. So you need to swish with a mouth rinse that tastes sweet and have energy in it.
According to the researchers, the performance gains by swishing with sucrose is most optimal for athletes who run 10K or 15K races, cyclists who do 20-miles time trials, or those who participate in sprint triathlons.
So if you are an endurance runner, start swishing with a sweet-tasting sugar solution and spitting it out as you run. You may be surprised at your huge performance gain by simply swishing and spitting.
Keely H. Hawkins, Sridevi Krishnan, Lara Ringos, Vanessa Garcia, Jamie A. Cooper. Running Performance with Nutritive and Non-Nutritive Sweetened Mouth Rinses. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 2017, http://dx.doi.org/10.1123/ijspp.2016-0577