April 10/Washington, D.C./Washington Examiner -- A new study at Granada University in Spain indicates the advice to quench the thirst after exercise with a sports beverage or water may have been wrong. Manuel Garzon, who led the research team, suggests the bubbles in beer help quench thirst at the same time the carbohydrate content helps replace lost calories.

For the study, Garzon asked a group of students to perform strenuous exercise in temperatures of around 104 degrees. Half the subjects were given a pint of beer after the workout, while the other half received the same quantity of plain water. Garzon said the hydration effect in those who drank the beer was "slightly better."

Juan Antonio Corbalán, a cardiologist who formerly worked with Real Madrid soccer players and Spain's national basketball team, says beer has the"perfect profile" for a rehydrating beverage after sports. Corbalán adds he has long advocated the drinking of barley-based beverages by professional athletes.

Not everyone agrees, however. James Betts, an expert on nutrition and metabolism at Bath University in England, agrees that a moderate amount of beer might be as effective as water at helping the body with liquid retention but doubts it is more efficacious.

Plus, there is the matter of electrolytes, which Garzon seems not to address in his findings. Electrolytes are inorganic compounds -- chiefly sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium -- which regulate fluid balance in the body. These chemicals are lost through perspiration during vigorous physical activity. Beer contains some sodium but it lacks other essential electrolytes. However, so does water

From the April 11, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News