On Blast: Beer as an Ergogenic Aid
I’ve posted recipes, gadgets, and food deals…it’s time for an article. My latest reads are on ergogenic aids. No, I’m not talking about those expensive, modern-looking chairs that make your back feel better– those are ergonomics. I’m talking about supplements and enhancers that people take to improve their physical performance. :o)
According to a great article in American Family Medicine, 76 to 100 percent of athletes in some sports are reported to use them. Typically, these include vitamins, steroids, amphetamines, creatine, caffeine, and various others. The one that struck my eye was…alcohol. I have been noticing an upward trend of runners being offered beer as ergogenic aid during various races. These were time-chipped races, so I have to ask why? And this is what I’ve found.
- Alcohol is not the greatest for energy balance. One beer will afford you about kcal 150, CHO 13g, and 13g alcohol, which is metabolically costly. It requires more oxygen to metabolize each gram of alcohol than any of the other substrates involved. This can affect the rest of the body’s energy metabolism.
- Although it reduces anxiety, it also acts as a depressant.
- During events of long distance running, alcohol can decrease the liver’s glycogen production, as well as the stomach’s release of glucose. Science jargon…what does that mean for me? It means that the runner can have lower blood sugar later in the event, which can affect performance.
- The end result of alcohol intake is dehydration, which is detrimental for muscle performance, energy level, and runner safety.