Young adults are drinking less alcohol, some giving up the habit altogether, while millenials are spending more time and money at the gym. Because of this, beverage manufacturers started marketing formulations tuned to our health, like the 26.2 Brew, a beer for runners by runners.
The flagship drink of Marathon Brewing Company, was created by marathoner, triathlete and cicerone, Shelley Smith. It has a 4.0 percent alcohol by volume, 120 calories and 9 grams of carbs. This golden ale is made in part with Himalayan sea salt that helps replenish the body with electrolytes.
Smith explains that hardworking runners are always on the lookout for optimal post-workout drinks that taste good and give them a buzz without undermining their fitness regimen. He shares with The Post, “Even before creating 26.2 Brew, I would often enjoy a post-run beer. Many of the running clubs I am a part of go out for beers after our runs, and it’s always a great way to celebrate crossing the finish line.”
Another beer called Fastest Known Time targets athletes and outdoorsmen. The 165-calorie, 5.5 percent ABV pale ale is owned by Sierra Nevada Brewing, and has about as much electrolyte-replenishing sodium (96 milligrams) as many standard sports drinks. It also contains vitamin C-packed black currants, which the brand claims to be able to boost gut and kidney health.
Harpoon, too, says their 120-calorie, 3.8 percent ABV Rec. League beer was created with a “groundbreaking blend” of nutritional ingredients, such as vitamin B-rich kasha, high-fiber chia seeds and Mediterranean sea salt, plus an abundance of omega-3s and antioxidants.
Winemakers, with their centuries of highly regulated practice, are also into the hype by inventing ways to produce vino that address a number of dietary concerns. For instance, the Napa Valley company, Dry Farm Wines, offer low-sugar, paleo- and keto-friendly, low-carb and lower-ABV varietals for a “better, cleaner buzz.” And the buzzy natural, organic or raw wines claim to be made with fewer additives than traditional wine, which some producers say help stave off hangovers — a benefit that is yet to be supported by clinical research.
26.2 Brew is endorsed by the Boston Athletic Association (BAA), but they don’t claim to be a better option than Gatorade or water. Experts warn that the idea of alcohol as a healthy workout-recovery bev should be taken with a grain of Himalayan salt.
Senior clinical nutritionist at NYU Langone, Samantha Heller, says all alcohol is metabolized by the body in the same way, regardless of herbs or sodium or other ingredients. “It’s toxic, which is why we get intoxicated,” she adds.
US dietary guidelines recommend that alcohol be consumed in moderation with servings of up to one drink a day for women and two for men.
At the end of the day, Heller and other experts understand that people are going to drink, and some options could be better than others, but they caution consumers against buying into the health-conscious hype.
Heller shares, “If you drink ‘responsibly,’ alcohol can be a part of a healthy lifestyle, but we should not be fooled into thinking drinks with added substances might negate the [effects of] alcohol or make it a healthy [choice].”