Suitability of Beer As An Alternative to Classical Fitness Drinks

Klaus Krennhuber, Alexander Jäger, Heike Kahr

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


During longer physical strains, our body loses water and salts through sweating. This deprivation leads to states of exhaustion and convulsions. A fitness drink should replenish both, water and mineral nutrients (mainly sodium). Different beers, alcoholic, alcohol-free and yeast-clouded, alcohol-free beer were analyzed by HPLC and Ion chromatography to determine the content of mineral salts and carbohydrates. Osmolality as a degree of tonicity was calculated based on the dissolved components. Data was compared to fitness drinks declared as mineral nutrient containing and isotonic. Subsequently, different sodium salts were added to alcohol-free, yeast-clouded beer to reach the EU recommended sodium concentrations of 500 mg L-1. These spiked beers were blind tested for flavor impairments. This study shows that the fitness drinks came close to fulfill the EU direction. Generally, almost all beers are mineral nutrient containing, as defined by Austrian law. Due to the alcohol concentration, none of alcoholic beers are isotonic, as they are hypertonic. Most of the alcohol free beers are within the isotonic range, especially considering dissolved carbon dioxide. After ingestion, it is degassed by the acidic conditions in the stomach, changing many beers to hypotonic in the end. Each beer fulfills the EU recommended carbohydrate content but none comes even close to reaching the required sodium content. The blind tasting of the spiked beers showed minor flavor impairment with sodium carbonate causing the least negative effects on taste and odor. In conclusion, yeast clouded, alcohol-free beer might be labeled as mineral nutrient containing and isotonic, implying to be an ideal sport drink. Due to the lack of sodium, the real benefit of such a beverage could diminish unless mixed with beverages containing high levels of sodium or sodium carbonate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-31
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Research in Nutrition and Food
Issue numberSpecialIssue2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016


  • Beer
  • fitness drink
  • sodium
  • osmotic pressure
  • isotonic
  • sport
  • minerals
  • Fitness drink
  • Isotonic
  • Minerals
  • Sport
  • Sodium
  • Osmotic pressure


Dive into the research topics of 'Suitability of Beer As An Alternative to Classical Fitness Drinks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this