Australian PhD Ben Desbrow, who shall hereafter be known as the hero, is an Associate Professor of Human Nutrition at Griffith University, whose work is focused on turning things like caffeine and beer into exercise aids.
You read that right. While many diet fads and health magazines will say that caffeine and beer are among the things one must give up to really be healthy, the hero and his team are looking at things from a different angle. Desbrow’s main mission is to turn a drink like beer, which is the most highly consumed alcoholic beverage, into something that is good for you… or at least not as bad for you.
“From our perspective it’s about exploring harm minimization 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 re-hydration potential,” Desbrow told ABC in 2013.
By infusing both regular beer and light beer with additional electrolytes the team hopes to create a gentle balance that will leave the beer with its original flavor, but will reduce the dehydration affect that leads to hangovers, keeping the body hydrated and healthy while not having to forego the spirit lifting effects of beer. During the study the light beer seemed to have the most significant effects, though it was only one third more hydrating than a regular light beer.
With his main area of focus being the health of the human body, Desbrow has also combined his expertise in applied sports research and food-borne drug research to find the benefits in the world’s most widely consumed drug, caffeine. In the book Caffeine For Sports Performance, the hero, along with Louise Burke, Australian Sports Commissions Head of Sports Nutrition, and Lawrence Spriet, Human Health Professor at University of Guelph, the use of caffeine as a sports supplement is discussed.
The three health professionals/avid caffeine users walk the reader through the do’s and don’t's of using caffeine to enhance performance in sport, while preparing and protecting your body from the potential downsides of its use, such as dehydration. We’re guessing this is where the beer research comes into play.
While the hero’s work is ongoing, his approach is changing the face of how we might use beer and caffeine, which humans have been using to feel for for thousands of years. Bottoms up to you, Ben Desbrow!