Can Beer Aid in Recovery?

When I was in Grad School, my final project was a Grant Proposal and mock research study on recovery drinks. We chose three common beverages; whey protein mixed with water, chocolate milk, and tart cherry juice, along with water as the “control”. Spoiler alert, the whey protein and chocolate milk came out on top.
We all know that the best components for a post-workout recovery drink or meal is a mix of protein and carbs in order to replenish what was lost and broken down during our workout. Ironically, this concoction sounds a lot like another popular drink on the market.
Beer has made its debut over the last few years as a choice in the post-exercise recovery beverage line up. Most heavier beers contain a solid amount of carbohydrates, measureable amount of protein, and it’s made with water, right? Not to mention, there is a hint of electrolytes and some plant-based nutrients coming from the hops, yeast, and barley. All components we want after a workout.
Not so fast, most beer contains only about 14 grams of carbohydrates in one drink which is not sufficient for recovery. It is also missing out on lots of significant vitamins and hydrating electrolytes, also important for our recovery. The effect of alcohol on your body may also be a major disadvantage.
It’s not all bad! Beer may not be a sufficient drink post-recovery on its own but it’s not a bad addition to your post-exercise meal. Make sure to eat a balanced meal with the beer providing a sufficient amount of protein for your muscles and to buffer the effects of the alcohol.
So next time you go out for a recovery meal, don’t hesitate to grab a beer along with but remember moderation is key!