Beer and cycling: is it good or bad?
Beer and cycling, an almost perfect combination. The favourite post-workout drink for many cyclists is not a protein shake, but rather a very cold beer. There’s something special about sharing a pint with a group of friends at the end of a ride, but when it comes to your performance and health, are we sure it’s really good for us?
A recent study stated that beer is officially good for the heart because it reduces heart risk and improves health of the brain. Although the cardiac risk sounds a little vague, the news sounds good.
“The antioxidant content of beer is equivalent to that of wine, but the specific antioxidants are different because the barley and hops used in beer production contain different flavonoids from those of grapes”.
From 1900 to the 1960s, the Tour de France participants used to drink alcohol during the race. Beer, wine and even champagne were consumed to make the race more fun and less gruelling.
For example, on stage 17 of the 1935 Tour, almost the entire group took a drinking break with the locals. Julien Moineau, the rider who didn’t stop for beer, won the stage by a few minutes. It was later discovered that Moineau and his friends had organized the impromptu beer break.
THE BAD NEWS
“If you drink a couple of beers after every outing and you’re training four or five days a week but you’d like to get better, you should know that these drinks become a problem because we have evidence that protein synthesis and muscle repair are hampered by alcohol up to 24 hours after drinking” said Nanci Guest, a dietitian who studies nutrigenomics.
“It inhibits glycogen production, compromising recovery. It also affects sleep cycles,” Guest continued.
“Although many people fall asleep after drinking, as soon as the alcohol wears off, you go from a deep sleep to a lighter one,” she explained. “A lot of repair and regeneration takes place during the night and even a little alcohol, which disturbs sleep, would compromise these important activities.
THE GOOD NEWS
Instead of eliminating alcohol completely, the Doctor suggested that you enjoy a drink or two from time to time.
“If you think you deserve a good drink and it’s not too often, treat yourself to a beer. It is always a question of understanding what the objectives are and evaluating the cost-benefit analysis.