Why is non-alcoholic beer better than regular beer after a workout?


For many people who often run, cycle or exercise, drinking beer and exercising are almost inextricably intertwined. But for performance, recovery, and health, non-alcoholic beer is likely to be a much better option and can be as good as, or better than, a regular sports drink.

Research shows that active, fit people can drink copious amounts of alcohol. The 2022 study is appropriately titled “Vet and drunk?” , He determined that men and women with relatively high aerobic fitness were twice as likely to be moderate or heavy drinkers as those who were in poor shape.

There are many reasons for this beating. Exercise has a healthy aura that justifies, for some of us, unhealthy habits. The social nature of working out often leads to bar visits after a bike ride or yoga class.

According to the authors of the 2021 systematic review on exercise and alcohol entitled “Do you have a beer?”

But beer has downsides for those of us who exercise.

Beer is not a sports drink

Full-alcohol beers are mild diuretics that, on the one hand, are counterproductive if you need to replace fluids after a workout. in 2016 studyHealthy men who drank beer after exercise produced more urine than if they drank water or a sports drink.

Research also indicates that alcohol, including beer, can effect How our muscles get stronger and grow so well after exercise, not surprisingly, weaknessreaction time and equilibrium. Sugar rarely improves performance.

Therefore, some researchers have begun to question whether non-alcoholic beer might be a better, more palatable, and even recommended beverage for active people.

The first clues came in the much-discussed 2012 study Of the 277 men who registered for the Munich Marathon. The scientists asked half of them to start by downing approximately 2 to 3 pints of non-alcoholic beer each day for three weeks before the race and two weeks after. The others drank a placebo that tasted similar to a control group. (The study was funded by a German brewery, but the researchers declared in the study that the brewery had no input into the study design or analysis.)

Fewer colds and infections

The researchers drew blood before and several times after the race, and also asked the men to report any symptoms of a respiratory infection. Colds and other upper respiratory infections are common after a marathon.

But nonalcoholic beer drinkers seem to be relatively protected. “The incidence of UTI was 3.25-fold lower” among that group than the control group, the study authors wrote. The beer drinkers also showed lower markers of inflammation and other indicators of an overall better immune response in their blood.

“We attributed these benefits to beer’s polyphenols,” said David Nieman, a professor of biology and human performance at Appalachian State University, who co-authored the study.

He said polyphenols are natural chemicals found in plants that often have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Beer, including the alcoholic variety, tends to be rich in polyphenols, the numbers and types of which depend on the particular brew.

Maria B. said: Portillo, a researcher affiliated with the Center for Biomedical Research Network at the Carlos III Research Institute and the University of the Basque Country in Spain, says the alcohol in regular beer probably undermines any beneficial effects of the polyphenols. She and her colleagues published a study In December a review of available, albeit scanty, data on beer, polyphenols and cardiovascular health.

“What is true is that polyphenols, which are present in both traditional and non-alcoholic beer, exhibit interesting antioxidant effects and an anti-inflammatory action,” she said of their findings. She continued that alcohol can stimulate inflammation at the same time. Therefore, “in the case of traditional beer, the beneficial effects of polyphenols may be masked by the negative effects of alcohol.”

On the other hand, in non-alcoholic beer, the polyphenols should calm inflammation, without interference from alcohol.

When should you drink non-alcoholic beer?

Non-alcoholic beer also seems to be helpful for hydration. In a 2016 study, if athletes drank a nonalcoholic beer 45 minutes before a workout, they dehydrated less afterwards than after drinking beer, similar to drinking water, but with a better sodium-to-potassium ratio. The researchers concluded that drinking non-alcoholic beer “can help maintain electrolyte balance during exercise.”

In other words, “a non-alcoholic beer can be a reasonable recovery drink,” says Johannes Scheer, senior physician and head of the University Center for Prevention and Sports Medicine at the University Hospital Balgrist of the University of Zurich, who was also the lead author of the 2012 marathon study.

Neiman agrees. “After long, vigorous bouts of exercise, a non-alcoholic beer provides hydration, polyphenols, and carbohydrates,” which “together will aid in metabolic recovery,” he said.

It also has the notable advantage of being almost completely natural, which is not uncommon among sports drinks. “One of the goals of my research group is to show that sports drinks can be replaced with healthier alternatives,” said Niemann. “Non-alcoholic beer would fall into this category.”

However, none of this research suggests that exercisers should start drinking non-alcoholic beer if they don’t enjoy the taste or worry that non-alcoholic beer now might encourage full-alcohol beer later.

These drinks also contain calories, usually around 50 to 90 per can or bottle, fewer but not zero than most sports drinks, which is a weight control consideration.

And of course, a beer during a workout, even if it’s alcohol-free, isn’t going to play nice with your digestive system. The beer is sparkling and is likely to cause discomfort, belching, nausea, or worse.

So, when is the best time to have a non-alcoholic drink, if you are working out?

“If you think about polyphenols and their anti-inflammatory activity, it probably doesn’t make a huge difference,” Scherr said. “But for rehydration, it must be drunk primarily after sports.”

Do you have a fitness question? e-mail YourMove@washpost.com We may answer your question in a future column.

Sign up for the Well + Being newsletter, your source of expert tips and simple tips to help you live well every day

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *