Photo: Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

If you’re not going to be in the Olympics this month or otherwise training for a huge athletic event, you may be unfamiliar with the concept of “carb-rinsing.” But apparently, this seemingly bizarre practice of washing your mouth out with Gatorade or similar can have a positive effect on your physical capabilities.

The trick is, your stupid brain tastes the carbs, and reacts accordingly, not realizing that all that high-powered sugar is not actually entering your body. The Guardian reports:

A study published last year in the European Journal of Sport Science found that carb-rinsing boosted a range of performance measures. The researchers, from Coventry University, tested 12 healthy men in their early or mid-20s and found that carb-rinsing significantly improved jumping height, the number of bench presses and squats, sprint times over 10 meters, and their sense of alertness.

Another study found carb-rinsing increased performance in a series of leg exercises. Researcher Trent Stellingwerff, director of research at the Canadian Sport Institute, the Olympic research facility in Vancouver, stated: “We were really shocked. The rinse has an instantaneous effect. It allows subjects to perceive that the task is easier.”

To test this out, we just swished around a mouthful of Monster Energy Drink to see if it would affect our writing of this, then spit it out (how meta). We think you’ll notice that this copy practically sings compared to the hack claptrap we usually churn out, along with a definitive lack of typos and adherence to style guide policy. Just like those high-jumping and leg-lifting athletes! The advantage of course, is that we are currently mentally steered by energy drink, without all those unfortunate carbs and sugar calories. Kind of like those weirdos who chew steak and then spit it out.

While some studies have shown no changes in performance whatsoever, there may be something to be said for this placebo effect. The Guardian quotes sports and exercise scientist Neil Clarke, who says the process appears to be subconscious: “When you carb-rinse, it activates the reward and arousal areas of the brain. The brain expects a carbohydrate boost, so it gets aroused. You’re almost tricking the brain. The brain says: ‘Okay, carbs are on the way, we can push harder now.’” We’re not about to set up a spittoon at our desk or anything, but we can definitely see the advantages.

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