Although too much alcohol is dehydrating, a single pint of beer is more effective at rehydrating the body than the equivalent amount of water, according to a study at the University of Granada in Spain.
The scientists monitored 40 students – with half drinking beer and half drinking water after exercising in a 40C environment. They found that the carbon-dioxide bubbles in beer not only made the drink feel more thirst-quenching but increased water absorption, while the carbohydrates in beer replaced lost calories .
‘It could be that the better hydration levels are also down to the sugars and salts found in beer,’ says Dr Philliskirk. ‘It is a good source of potassium – which is needed after exercise to help rehydrate.’
Beer is also rich in B vitamins – particularly riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pyroxidine (B6), folate (B9) and cobalamin (B12) – necessary for maintaining energy levels and building new muscle tissue. Although amounts vary, Dr Philliskirk says a pint could provide about ten per cent of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of some B vitamins.
‘Beer is in no way empty calories,’ says Charles Bamforth, Professor of Malting and Brewing Sciences at the University of California, Davis. ‘It contains far more nutrients than any other alcoholic beverage.’