Beer or Ethanol Effects on the Body Composition Response to High-Intensity Interval Training. The BEER-HIIT Study

Nutrients. 2019 Apr 23;11(4):909. doi: 10.3390/nu11040909.


High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is promoted as a time-efficient strategy to improve body composition but concomitant beer intake, which is common among physically active individuals, may interfere with these effects. The primary aim of this study is to determine the effects of a 10-week (2 days/week) HIIT program on anthropometric and body composition measurements, and to assess whether those effects are influenced by the moderate consumption of beer (at least 5 days/week), or its alcohol equivalent. Young (24 ± 6 years old) healthy adults (n = 72, 35 females) volunteered for a non-training group (Non-Training group) or for HIIT training. Those going for training choose whether they preferred to receive alcohol or not. Those choosing alcohol were randomly allocated for receiving beer (5.4%; T-Beer group) or the equivalent amount of alcohol (vodka; T-Ethanol group) in sparkling water. Those choosing no-alcohol were randomly allocated for receiving alcohol-free beer (0.0%; T-0.0Beer group) or sparkling water (T-Water group). From Monday through Friday, men ingested 330 mL of the beverage with lunch and 330 mL with dinner; women ingested 330 mL with dinner. Before and after the intervention, anthropometry and body composition, through dual-emission X-ray absorptiometry, were measured. No changes in body mass, waist circumference, waist/hip ratio, visceral adipose tissue or bone mineral density occurred in any of the groups. By contrast, in all the training groups, significant decreases in fat mass together with increases in lean mass (all p < 0.05) occurred. These positive effects were not influenced by the regular intake of beer or alcohol. In conclusion, a moderate beer intake does not blunt the positive effect of 10-week HIIT on body composition in young healthy adults.

Keywords: alcohol; beer; body composition; exercise; fat mass; high intensity interval training; lean mass; training program; visceral adipose tissue.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Beer*
  • Body Composition / drug effects*
  • Ethanol / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • High-Intensity Interval Training*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Young Adult


  • Ethanol