Thursday, June 7, 2012

Is Blueberry Beer the Next Super Food?

The running related magazines and blogs I enjoy are frequently touting the latest studies on super foods for athletic performance.  If it tastes good and provides a few benefits, I just might bite.  Despite being four weeks out from marathon No. 2, my diet resembles something closer to that of a couch potato than your stereotypical long-distance runner.  At this point in the training, I'm constantly hungry and I'm not craving vegetables.

"Blueberries and Beer" is the title of  an email I got this morning from Runner's World. Like most of these emails, it's a rehash of an article that ran in a previous magazine issue, but I'd somehow missed this one.  Citing to five different studies, the article made these points:
  • Blueberries protect you on long runs.  It seems anthocyanidins in blueberries are responsible for the protective benefits resulting in less inflammation and oxidative damage.  Whatever that is.
  • A pint of beer helps prevent colds.  News we can use! Well, then again, the Munich University study involved nonalcoholic beer (one to one and a half liters per day for three weeks per runner.) 
  • Ice baths hinder muscle refueling.  This is frickin' GREAT news! Try just one ice-bath and you'll be searching for any reason to never do it again.  Interestingly, this study was done at the University of Montana, a frequent destination for my noon-time runs. 
  • Chocolate milk helps you lose body fat.  I've read for years that chocolate milk was a great post run drink thanks to a good dose of useful proteins in the milk and other benefits from the chocolate.  I keep a stock on hand at all times. Who doesn't love permission to drink some chocolate milk? 
  • Many athletes are vitamin D deficient.  This, too, was a study done by the University of Montana which found eighty-five percent of athletes at the U have sub-optimal vitamin D levels during the winter.  No shit.  Anyone who has spent the winter in Missoula, MT  is not the least bit shocked by this news (going on 13 years for me).  The sun disappears somewhere near the end of October and doesn't reappear until March. That's almost an exaggeration. Almost. 
What do we take from this?  Researchers are afraid to give us news that would be useful when it comes to beer. Come on, one and a half liters of nonalcoholic beer per day will reduce the chance of a cold!?! Who drinks one and a half liters of nonalcoholic beer on any day?

I'm assuming the beer study is the same one that said nonalcoholic wheat beer improves your run time.  (Articles referencing studies without providing citations frustrate the heck out of me.) The author of that article conveniently extrapolated the results to include beer with alcohol despite no participant in the study actually drinking such beer.

What about blueberry beer?  The real stuff. Dark Horse Brewing Co. makes a pretty tasty Blueberry Stout.  Would that work?  Speaking of stouts, what about a milk stout? Milk stouts are typically brewed with lactose.  Any protein in there?  Could we brew up a special chocolate imperial milk stout?  

Mmm . . . . I'd better go for a run.

2 comments:

  1. Really enjoyed the post. Media misuse of science is always amusing. I happened to be writing a blog post about blueberry beer when I stumbled on yours and included a link. You can see the post here:

    http://www.eatdrinklaw.com/index.cfm/feature/187_50/blueberry-beer-bliss-saranac-blueberry-blonde-and-wachusett-blueberry-ale.cfm

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  2. Thanks Devin. "Media misuse of science" is the perfect way to describe it and I don't mind calling it out when I run across it.

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