FITNESS

news Why non-alcoholic post-workout beer is better than regular beer

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For many people who run, cycle, or exercise frequently, drinking beer and exercising are almost inextricably linked. However, for performance, recovery, and health, non-alcoholic beer is likely to be far superior, with benefits as good or better than regular sports drinks.

Studies show that healthy, active people can consume enough alcohol. A 2022 study, aptly titled “Fit and Tipsy?” It turned out to be more than double.

There are many reasons for this swig. Exercise enjoys a healthy circle and, for some of us, justifies unhealthy habits.

According to the authors of the 2021 systematic review of exercise and alcohol, “Got Beer?”, “Beer is used for post-exercise socializing, celebrating sports victories, and sympathizing after defeats.”

But beer has a downside for those of us who exercise.

beer is not a sports drink

For one thing, full alcohol beer is a mild diuretic, which is counterproductive if you need to rehydrate after exercise. It produced more urine than if you drank a sports drink.

Research also suggests that alcohol, including beer, can affect post-exercise muscle strength and growth, not surprisingly, impairing reaction time and balance. rarely.

As such, some researchers have begun to wonder if non-alcoholic beer might be a more appropriate, more acceptable, or even recommended drink for active people.

The first clue came from a much-publicized 2012 study of 277 men who participated in the Munich Marathon. The scientists asked half of them to start drinking about two to three pints of non-alcoholic beer daily for his three weeks before the race and his two weeks thereafter. Another group drank a similarly-tasting placebo as a control group. Declared no input.)

Less likely to catch a cold, less inflammation

The researchers took blood several times before and after the race and asked the men to report symptoms of respiratory infections. Colds and other upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) are common after marathons.

But non-alcoholic beer drinkers seemed relatively protected. The group’s “incidence of URTI was 3.25 times lower than the control group,” the study authors wrote. Beer drinkers also had lower markers of inflammation and other indicators of an overall improved immune response in their blood.

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

Polyphenols are natural chemicals found in plants that often have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, he said. and type will vary depending on the particular brew.

But the alcohol in regular beer is likely to impair the beneficial effects of polyphenols, says Maria P. Portillo, a researcher at the Center for Biomedical Research Network at the Carlos III Institute and the University of the Basque Country in Spain. says Mr. She and her colleagues published a study in December that reviewed the available, albeit lacking, data on beer, polyphenols, and cardiovascular health.

“The truth is that polyphenols present in both conventional and non-alcoholic beers exhibit interesting antioxidant effects and consequent anti-inflammatory processes,” she said of their findings. It can also accelerate inflammation at the same time, she continued.

On the other hand, in alcohol-free beer, polyphenols should calm inflammation without being affected by alcohol.

When to drink non-alcoholic beer

Non-alcoholic beer can also help with hydration. A 2016 study found that if a male athlete drank a non-alcoholic beer 45 minutes before an exhaustive workout, he was less dehydrated than after drinking beer, similar to drinking water, but with less sodium. and high potassium ratio. Drinking non-alcoholic beer “may help maintain electrolyte homeostasis during exercise,” the researchers concluded.

Johannes Scherr, Chief Physician, Director of the College Center for Preventive and Sports Medicine, Balgrist University Hospital, University of Zurich, said: 2012 marathon study.

Niemann agrees. “After a long, strenuous workout, non-alcoholic beer provides hydration, polyphenols, and carbohydrates,” he said.

It also has the signal advantage of being almost completely natural, which is rare among sports drinks. That’s it,” Niemann said. “Non-alcoholic beer falls into that category.”

However, none of these studies suggest that if you don’t like the taste, or if you’re worried that your current non-alcoholic beer will encourage you to consume full-alcoholic beer later, start guzzling non-alcoholic beer. I’m not suggesting that you should.

These beverages also contain calories, typically around 50-90 calories per can or bottle, less than most sports drinks, but not zero for weight management considerations.

And of course, beer during exercise, even non-alcoholic, is not good for your stomach.

So when’s the best time to have a non-alcoholic beverage if you’re exercising?

“Considering polyphenols and their anti-inflammatory properties, there probably isn’t much of a difference,” says Scherr. “But for hydration, you should drink mainly after sports.”

Have a fitness question? e-mail YourMove@washpost.com I may answer your question in a future column.

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