More and more athletes are replacing their post-workout sports drink with a non-alcoholic beer - and not just the German athletes! But hold on a minute...isn’t beer bad for us? Turns out, wheat beer has quite a few beneficial traits that come to the forefront once the alcohol is removed.
Beer as an Isotonic
Non-alcoholic beer contains water, carbohydrates, protein and micronutrients. It’s a natural isotonic drink, meaning it contains a similar amount of salt and sugar as found in the human body. Usually consumed by endurance athletes, isotonic drinks replace fluids and electrolytes lost through sweating. An ice-cold alcohol-free beer is therefore not only refreshing AF, but it’s also ideal after a long training session to prevent cramping and aid in recovery.
Polyphenols: behind beers health benefits
Polyphenols are molecules created in plants to help protect them from ultraviolet radiation and pathogens. These little guys, found in the hops and spices used to make beer, have become an interesting subject of investigation in the world of sports nutrition. Recent studies indicated their probable role in the prevention of various diseases associated with oxidative stress, including different types of cancers and diabetes.
The proof is in the pint glass
In the 2009 Munich Marathon, a study was conducted where random participants consumed one non-alcoholic beer each day for three weeks leading up to the race and for two-weeks after the race. Another group was given placebo non-alcoholic beers for the same amount of time. The runners given the real non-alcoholic beer reported significantly less inflammation and fewer upper respiratory infections following the race than those given a placebo.
Beer vs sports drinks
Our bodies hold water better and can properly hydrate when we consume calories as we drink. Energy drinks are therefore helpful during exercise, because they restore glycogen in the body - the sugar-based compound that we use to store energy. After training, however, we don’t need to worry about getting these immediate carbs when we hydrate. So when you drink sports drink after exercise, you’re just packing your body with extra sugar and sodium it doesn’t need. An alcohol-free wheat bear, on the other hand, does what your body really needs: hydrates, restores minerals and supports the recovery process.
But why non-alcoholic?
Alcoholic beer is a diuretic. This means it causes the body to let water pass through it quickly without properly absorbing the valuable minerals. This is also the reason why you urinate more frequently when you drink alcohol and feel dehydrated. Since it is critical to stay hydrated after sports, alcohol should be avoided at all costs.