Unit Rinse from Unit Nutrition


Unit Nutrition, a new nutrition brand based in New York, has launched an entirely new sports fuel: Unit Rinse, a carbohydrate mouth rinse.


Unit Nutrition Unit Rinse


A mouth rinse, such as Unit Rinse, is a carbohydrate solution that is taken into the mouth, rinsed and held for five to 10 seconds before either spitting or swallowing.  Incredible though it might seem, this has been shown to have a greater positive impact on performance than would be gained from simply ingesting carbohydrates as a drink or a gel.


If that sounds almost too good to be true, it is worth remembering that fuelling a session of up to one hour does not required any carbohydrates to be taken into the body.  That is because there is enough stored energy (in the form of muscle glycogen) to fuel moderate to high intensity sessions of up to 90 minutes, so you do not actually need to take on any more carbohydrates for a ride, race or session that lasts 60 minutes or less.  As a slight aside however, it is worth noting that carbs taken on board whilst training will help replenish muscle glycogen quickly and that be likely to aid recovery but, crucially, these carbs will not fuel activity immediately.


That much is old news and really only a small a part of the story... this, in our opinion, is where it gets really interesting.  There is a significant amount of well documented evidence, from numerous independent studies, which demonstrates that rinsing the mouth with a carbohydrate solution like Unit Rinse has immediate and measurable performance benefits when exercising for up to an hour.


How?  Well we have receptors in the mouth and throat which signal the presence of carbohydrate to the brain, hence some have called it “cognitive fuelling”.  It is, if you like, a promise of fuel to come and the performance effects of that promise are instantaneous.  The anticipation of fuel affects the body more significantly than actually ingesting fuel, or in one study, even injecting glucose straight into the blood stream.  It is worth repeating ourselves here, the one hour duration is important because there is enough energy stored as muscle glycogen to fuel sessions of between 60 and 90 minutes, so any additional carbohydrate ingested (or injected) is not actually required during the session for fuel.


We have been aware of this research for a number of years, following a dinner party discussion with a respected coach – never let it be said we are not fascinating dinner guests! – and so we jumped at the chance to try Unit Rinse for ourselves.  It is of course very difficult to measure the effects in a study of one but we did our very best by riding two maximal, 20 minute FTP tests in three days.  It is difficult to convey the joy we felt when we saw that pop up in the training plan but it was the perfect opportunity to try Unit Rinse.


First of all, we should say that Unit Rinse tastes delicious.  There are three flavours; mixed berry, peach mango and just in case you had forgotten the American heritage of this brand, root beer float.  All of them are very palatable and so after holding the solution in the mouth for a good 10 seconds and swilling it around, we swallowed.  Then, with some unprintable words aimed at our coach, we got on with the 20 minute test.


We were not trying to replicate the huge volume of research that already exists – our sample of one would obviously not be statistically valid and, perhaps more to the point, we would at the very least have had to repeat the 20 minute test without the benefit of using Unit Rinse when, honestly, two was quite enough thank you.  But we did deliver an impressive power number for both efforts and, most notably, we were able to work at a heart rate that was 98% of maximum ... for the full 20 minutes!  A number of studies reported that alongside an increase in power output, the test athlete’s perception of fatigue was reduced.  Personally we subscribe to the Greg LeMond view that “it never gets easier, you just get faster”.


So would we use choose to use Unit Rinse in the future?  Hell, yes, what is not to love?  The benefits are very well researched and documented, it tastes delicious, if you choose to spit rather than swallow, it is calorie free and we thought it did precisely what it promised on the bottle – helped to boost performance. 


As an aside, Unit Rinse is of course perfect for anyone who has experienced the GI distress that can be quite common with more traditional sources of fuel


Unit Rinse can be taken along side more traditional fuelling sources, such as carbohydrate powder mixed with water in a drink bottle, gels and bars, for longer sessions but ultimately it is a whole new way of fuelling that has real and immediate performance benefits and anyone who is looking to get the very best from themselves should take note.


Size: 3fl oz or 89ml

Ingredients: water, organic maltodextrin, organic flavour, citric acid, natural flavour (NB it is organic, non GMO, gluten free and contains no added sugars, artificial preservatives or flavours)

Flavour: mixed berry, peach mango, root beer float

Price: TBA

Website: www.unitnutrition.com


Performance: 9/10


Tested by Jan Birkmyre



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