Drunk on Sugar?

By Lon Kilgore

In ExPhysiology, Nutrition

December 28, 2015

PDF Article

Study results suggest guzzling a beer after a workout might actually be more productive than chugging a sugar-laced sports drink.

I just finished Grace, and I’m old, tired, sweaty and thirsty. What should I drink when I separate myself from this sweat angel? The media and academic exercise organizations favor Gatorade or some other sports drink to help people rehydrate and recover after exercise, and we are led to believe a body of sports science says high-fructose-laden drinks with some salt are optimal for those purposes. But are sports drinks really optimal or is the belief based on exceptional marketing?

Well, we know water is best for rehydration—adding carbohydrate and salts can reduce water uptake in the gut—and there is your answer. But is there something that rehydrates as well as water but tastes good and doesn’t contain mainly sugar water and salt?

There might be good news: A new study by David Jiménez-Pavón and company indicates beer can be an effective rehydration fluid. But beer is a mild diuretic and central-nervous-system depressant. It can’t be a recovery drink—or perhaps it’s actually more effective than sports drinks loaded with sugar.

So am I recommending everyone start keeping a six in their gym bag for easy access post-workout? No. But by detailing the superiority of a real but likely untenable alternative, it should be obvious that sports drinks are not the high-tech answer for rehydration and performance.

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1 Comment on “Drunk on Sugar?”


Dustin Kreidler wrote …

This was awesome... at the very least, I'm not going to feel too BAD after a good workout when beers are handed around. ;)

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