Hydrating Beer? Hydrating Beer

Associate Professor Ben Desbrow from the School of Public Health, Griffith University, has just created hydrating beer (and it's published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism to boot). So, what'd they study?

Seven male volunteers exercised on a cycle ergometer until 1.96±0.25% body mass (mean±SD) was lost. Participants where then randomly allocated a different beer to consume on four separate occasions. Drinks included a low alcohol beer (2.3% ABV) [LightBeer], a low alcohol beer with 25 mmol·L-1 of added sodium [LightBeer+25], a full strength beer (4.8% ABV) [Beer] or a full strength beer with 25 mmol·L-1 of added sodium [Beer+25]. Volumes consumed were equivalent to 150% of body mass loss during exercise and were consumed over a 1h period. Body mass and urine samples were obtained before and hourly for 4h after beverage consumption.

“We basically manipulated the electrolyte levels of two commercial beers, one regular strength and one light beer and gave it to research subjects who’d just lost a significant amount of sweat by exercising. We then used several measures to monitor the participant’s fluid recovery to the different beers,” he says. “Of the four different beers the subjects consumed, our augmented light beer was by far the most well retained by the body, meaning it was the most effective at rehydrating the subjects.” (Those that drank LightBeer+25 peed a helluva lot less. Meaning...we have hydrating light beer.)

But even though the study's title is Beer as a Sports Drink? Manipulating Beer's Ingredients to Replace Lost Fluid - Prof Ben says not so fast. “This is definitely not a good idea, but what we’ve found is that many people who sweat a lot, especially tradesmen, knock off work and have a beer; it’s pretty normal. But alcohol in a dehydrated body can have all sorts of repercussions, including decreased awareness of risk.So, if you’re going to live in the real world, you can either spend your time telling people what they shouldn't do, or you can work on ways of reducing the danger of some of these socialised activities.”

But...we are one step closer to something better than Miller 64...

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