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The Power of the Sports Drink

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A sports drink like Gatorade may be a more powerful performance enhancer than you think.

A small study in the Journal of Physiology discovered that cyclists who took a swig of a sports drink—but spit it out before swallowing—actually experienced a significant speed boost during timed trials. Turns out, the quick taste helped decrease their perceived exhaustion from exercise, causing the endurance athletes to feel fresher, longer.

Based on these findings, the scientists concluded that certain receptors in the mouth register the presence of natural sugars (carbohydrates) and send reward and pleasure signals directly to the brain, which subsequently causes a boost in performance. Previously, it had been believed that sports drinks were effective due to their ability to provide energy to working muscles.

The bottom line: Sports drinks—whether you spit them out or swallow them—can help in your endurance pursuits. Just remember that you’ll have to actually drink the stuff in order to effectively hydrate your body.

About The Author

David Schipper – David began writing for CorePerformance.com in 2008, after spending six years at Men's Health magazine digging up the newest scientific research in health, weight loss, nutrition, muscle and cardiovascular fitness.

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Tags: Hydration, Beverages, Carbohydrate