Beer as a Sports Drink? Manipulating Beer’s Ingredients to Replace Lost Fluid

in International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
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Purpose:

To investigate the effect of manipulating the alcohol and sodium content of beer on fluid restoration following exercise.

Method:

Seven male volunteers exercised on a cycle ergometer until 1.96 ± 0.25% body mass (mean± SD) was lost. Participants were 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 4 hr after beverage consumption.

Results:

Significantly enhanced net fluid balance was achieved following the LightBeer+25 trial (–1.02 ± 0.35 kg) compared with the Beer (–1.59 ± 0.32 kg) and Beer+25 (–1.64 ± 0.28 kg) treatments. Accumulated urine output was significantly lower in the LightBeer+25 trial (1477 ± 485 ml) compared with the Beer+25 (2101 ± 482 ml) and Beer (2175 ± 372 ml) trials.

Conclusion:

A low alcohol beer with added sodium offers a potential compromise between a beverage with high social acceptance and one which avoids the exacerbated fluid losses observed when consuming full strength beer.

Desbrow and Murray are with the Griffith Health Institute, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia. Leveritt is with the School of Human Movement Studies, University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia