Hydration and Hops


After a hike or a bike ride, I like to drink beer. My wife says beer dehydrates me and tells me to drink water instead. I contend that beer is mostly water, and I’m getting more hydrated every time I crack open a barley pop. Who’s right on this one?

—Bud Man

Hey Bud,

You’re both right. Beer is mostly made of water, so your body gains a brief period of hydration immediately upon consumption. Alcohol, however, is a diuretic (meaning that it stimulates the production of urine). I won’t confuse us both by trying to explain the physiological intricacies of the human body as it absorbs and eliminates alcohol. Suffice it to say that drinking beer is a losing proposition if you are trying to hydrate after strenuous exercise. So the missus is correct when she suggests water for the post-workout beverage.

Perhaps there is a compromise. Many experts recommend drinking one beer per day to maintain a healthy heart. If you consume generous amounts of water immediately after a workout, you’d reap the combined benefits of both hydration and marital harmony. Later, you could enjoy a beer with a clean and hydrated conscience.

Cheers, Jock