Home | Blogue

Beer: benefits and inconvenients in runners

Beer: benefits and inconvenients in runners

Beer is popular as a drink to relax and feast on after physical activity! Thirst-quenching or dehydrating drink ?! Here are some facts.

Positive effects of beer:

  • Being produced from cereals, this drink is rich in carbohydrates which metabolize quickly into glycogen, which is an important source of energy for muscles during exertion.
  • The yeasts that are added during brewing of beer provide the B complex vitamins, which are involved in carbohydrate metabolism and energy production. Please note that brewer’s yeast supplements are found on the market for therapeutic use (inactive form) and as a probiotic (active form). Drinking beer does not in any way provide the benefits associated with these forms of supplements.
  • Antioxidants called polyphenols are found in modest quantities (especially in dark beers). These compounds are known to have positive effects on the immune system and aging.

Negative effects of beer:

  • Nothing new … alcohol consumption is linked to several adverse health effects, including blood pressure, blood triglyceride levels and cholesterol, and psychomotor skills.
  • Alcohol competes with the formation of glycogen: the liver can eliminate about 10 g of alcohol per hour, or the equivalent of a glass of beer … However, during this time, the liver cannot maximize the glycogen recharge !
  • Drinking alcohol causes blood vessels to dilate, which increases inflammation and can delay recovery and healing from injury.
  • Diuretic effect: Alcohol inhibits the secretion of antidiuretic hormone (ADH), which increases urine volume and may contribute to dehydration.
  • By limiting the action of the enzyme LDH (lacticodehydrogenase), alcohol interferes with the elimination of lactic acid, a substance associated with muscle pain and burning sensation during intense exercise.
  • Alcohol adds “empty” calories as it is absorbed quickly without being converted into efficient fuel for athletic performance. In addition, it can contribute to weight gain, because for every gram of alcohol there are 7 calories, which is almost double that of carbohydrates and proteins (4 calories / gram).

So to initiate recovery from vigorous training, we have shown that we need:

  • > 30 grams (g) of carbohydrates: to help rebuild glycogen stores, a source of fuel used during exercise)
  • > 7 g of protein: to renew amino acids when muscle mass has been called upon.
  • 1.5 liters of liquid for each kilo lost during exercise: to rehydrate!

Since we lose electrolytes in perspiration (mainly sodium, and some potassium, magnesium and calcium), it is worthwhile to consume drinks and / or foods containing these micro-nutrients as a result of activity.

What you should remember

  • Alcohol has been shown to interfere with athletic performance and recovery. We therefore avoid consuming it in preparation for an endurance race, especially the day before!
  • Alcohol can be a part of a healthy lifestyle … remember, however, moderation tastes much better! The limit for women is 2 drinks / day (10 / week) and 3 / day for men (15 / weeks).
  • When, at the end of a running event, you are offered a beer: I suggest you drink water first to rehydrate yourself, then eat your meal before getting into beer … then feel much better to celebrate and feast the rest of the day!


– Fichier Canadien sur les éléments nutritifs. Santé Canada. https://aliments-nutrition.canada.ca/cnf-fce/report-rapport.do (consultée 23 juin 216)
– La modération en quatre chiffre. Educ’alcool. //educalcool.qc.ca/alcool-et-vous/sante/la-moderation-en-quatre-chiffres-2-3-4-0/#.V2yT8Ve7Z2B (consultée 23 juin 2016)
Levure de bière. Passeport santé. //www.passeportsante.net/fr/Solutions/PlantesSupplements/Fiche.aspx?doc=levure_biere_cerevisiae_ps (consultée 23 juin 2016)
– The total antioxidant content of more than 3100 foods, beverages, spices, herbs and supplements used worldwide. Carlsen MH, Halvorsen BL, Holte K et al. Nutr J. 2010 Jan 22;9:3. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-9-3.
– Alcohol, athletic performance and recovery. Vella LD, Cameron-Smith D. Nutrients. 2010 Aug;2(8):781-9. doi: 10.3390/nu2080781. Epub 2010 Jul 27. Review.

Subscribe to our newsletter

To receive exclusive news from your nutritionnists, recipes and more!