A Canadian beverage company is set to launch a new protein-filled ale marketed as a post workout sports drink.
Created by a team of food scientists at Vampt, a Canadian beverage company, Lean Machine, a low-alcohol, protein-packed “fit beer” which is only 77 calories and just 0.5% abv, will be launched onto the fitness sector later this year and promoted as a “recovery ale”, according to a report by npr.org.
It is reportedly enriched with nutrients, antioxidants and electrolytes to help replenish the body after a good workout.
Ian Toews, founder of Vampt, said the idea was to align with the active lifestyles with young beer lovers, while promoting responsible drinking.
He told the paper: “We just thought that maybe we could do something that would support a drinker, make it still socially fun, and help them accomplish what needs to be accomplished after an aggressive workout.
“We wondered what science had to say about this seemingly contradictory, but nonetheless appealing, pairing. Can beer really join the ranks of Gatorade and Powerade to become the next go-to sports drink?
“Turns out, the idea isn’t as farfetched as it might seem”
According to Toews, when you exercise the body loses fluid and electrolytes through sweat as the body tries to cool down causing us to draw on small stores of carbohydrates and proteins as we put our muscles to work.
By the end of the workout, our body needs to get all those things back to recover, which is where sports drinks come in.
Ben Desbrow, a sports nutritionist at Griffith University in Australia, said: “Beer itself contains a small amount of carbohydrates and electrolytes, he says. It’s not enough to do your body any good after exercise, but researchers like Desbrow have been experimenting with ways to reformulate beer so it’ll have the properties of a sports drink without the dehydrating effects of alcohol.”
In a study published last December in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, Desbrow and his colleagues found that beer’s dehydrating effect can be weakened by changing its electrolyte content — the first step in turning ale into a sports beverage.
By lowering the level of alcohol by volume to 2.3 percent and adding salt, they found that the manipulated beer actually hydrated their sample of athletes better than traditional ale.
Plus, he adds, since beer is plant based — the key ingredients, aside from water, are barley, hops and yeast — it contains a whole range of naturally occurring nutrients that manufactured sports drinks don’t have.
He said: “A properly formulated beer beverage is likely to do you no more harm than you are likely to get from a sports drink.
“In fact, it probably is likely to do you more good, because it’s got a lot of these sort of natural compounds, like polyphenols, that are actually good for your health.”
A 2011 study in Germany suggested that polyphenols in beer may be especially useful for those who go through prolonged strenuous exercise, which tends to lower the body’s immune function. In the study, those who were given nonalcoholic beer every day for three weeks before and two weeks after a marathon reported fewer incidences of upper respiratory tract infections and were up to three times less susceptible to the common cold.
Of course the condition for making beer into a good sports drink is to lose most of its alcohol content, as excessive amounts of alcohol can impair protein synthesis, the process by which your muscles repair themselves after exercise.
John Hawley, an exercise and nutrition researcher at Australian Catholic University, told the paper: “[Alcohol] impairs some of what we call the protein signalling molecules in the body. These are the traffic lights that turn on protein synthesis. Alcohol dims the traffic light signals. So ultimately, that whole muscle protein synthesis is slowed down.”
Vampt is currently in the process of conducting consumer taste tests for Lean Machine in Canada and is expected to launch in Spring of this year.