Beer as a sports drink? Manipulating beer's ingredients to replace lost fluid

Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2013 Dec;23(6):593-600. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.23.6.593. Epub 2013 May 20.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Beer*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Dehydration / therapy*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Random Allocation
  • Sodium / urine
  • Sports Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance*


  • Sodium