By: Hana Kotb

You might have noticed a lot of players spitting out their water at the World Cup. They could be simply rinsing out their dry mouths without consuming water so that they would avoid stomach cramps and bloating. However, scientists think they might be doing something called “carb rinsing.”

Carb rinsing is where you swirl a carbohydrate solution around your mouth to trick your body into thinking energy is coming. This way you may give your brain a boost to stay alert, which essentially tricks your body into performing better. It isn’t common practise yet, but sports scientists believe the technique is on the rise.

It works by receptors in the mouth sensing the carbs and sending signals to the pleasure and reward centers of the brain, saying there is more energy on the way. This makes the muscles work harder, without the negative effects of carbohydrate drinks like stomach heaviness and cramps.

A study published in 2017 in the European Journal of Sport Science found that carb rinsing boosted performance in a range of activities. It tested 12 healthy men in their twenties and found after carb rinsing they could jump higher, do more bench presses and squats, sprint faster, and were more alert.

Regardless of the extent of the efficiency of carb rinsing, when soccer players are expected to run for over 90 minutes, they need to try every trick in the book!