Australian researchers at Griffith University's Health Institute in Queensland have synthesized a better-hydrating beer by adding electrolytes, compounds commonly found in sports drinks. The goal was to create a beverage that is more refreshing, while possibly reducing the hangover symptoms caused by dehydration.
The research team tested out two different brands of commercial beer, as well as one regular and one light variety, noting that the adding of electrolytes didn't alter the taste across the board. It was found that only the light beer, with the lowest alcohol content, had enhanced hydrating qualities. "Of the four different beers the subjects consumed, our augmented light beer was by far the most well retained by the body, meaning it was the most effective at rehydrating the subjects," according to Ben Desbrow, an associate professor who led the study.
Still, one might reconsider trading their Gatorade for electrolyte-enhanced light beer, as preliminary findings show that it's only a third more hydrating than regular beer. Yet, there are still potential advantages. Desbrow adds, "from our perspective it's about exploring harm minimisation approaches that may still allow people to potentially drink beer as a beverage but lower the risks associated with the alcohol consumption - and hopefully improve rehydration potential." Essentially, the team seeks to find the gentle balance between added electrolytes and alcohol content, to where one can still become intoxicated, though perhaps suffer a minimal hangover.
The enhanced beer would better suit athletes who like to imbibe after sporting events, and might also prevent alcohol-related tragedies and binge-drinking deaths. No word on when electrolyte-laced beer might hit the shelves, though Pedialite might soon take a hit.