Published March 10, 2014
Drinking and working out don’t usually go hand in hand, but one Canadian brewing company wants redefine the post-workout drink.
The drink will be infused with vitamins, antioxidants and electrolytes, similar to other sports beverages that replenish the body after a hard workout. While the drink is still in development, Vampt plans to release the drink later this year, if funding permits.
Vampt founder Ian Toews hopes the beverage appeals to young fitness enthusiasts who also like to drink.
"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," Toews told The Salt.
Unfortunately for those wishing to catch a post-workout buzz (from alcohol, that is), Lean Machine only packs a meager punch at 0.5 percent alcohol by volume. But lower alcohol content could mean a healthier beer, according to a study published last December in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.
Sports drinks like Gatorade work by replenishing the carbohydrates and sodium lost while working out. Traditional beer has beneficial carbs and electrolytes – but it’s the alcohol that dehydrates, according to Ben Desbrow, sports nutritionist at Griffith University in Australia and co-author of the study.
His team decided to experiment with ways to reformulate beer so it’ll have the properties of a sports drink without the dehydrating effects of alcohol. By lowering the level of alcohol by volume to 2.3 percent and adding salt, they found that the manipulated beer hydrated their sample of athletes better than traditional ale.
Unlike synthetic energy drinks, beer is plant based, which provides naturally occurring compounds like polyphenols and antioxidants, which, according to Desbrow “are actually good for your health."
But can a post-workout beer really be all that good for you?
Not so fast, says John Hawley exercise and nutrition researcher at Australian Catholic University.
Too much alcohol can impair protein synthesis, the process by which your muscles repair themselves after exercise, according to a separate study.
“It impairs some of what we call the protein signaling molecules in the body. These are the traffic lights that turn on protein synthesis," Hawley told The Salt. "[Alcohol] dims the traffic light signals. So ultimately, that whole muscle protein synthesis is slowed down."
Although the athletes in Hawley’s study were drinking copious amounts of alcohol – roughly eight screwdriver shots in only 3 hours – he contends that the effects with smaller amounts of alcohol would not have an optimal effect on the body. Hawley also notes that the market is rarely receptive to faux alcoholic-tasting beverages and is skeptical that Lean Machine will break the cycle.
But never fear healthy-beer lovers, Vampt is moving forward with the new product. According to Toews, the company is moving forward with consumer taste tastes in Canada.