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Beer could be the new Gatorade, and jelly babies the new post-workout meal.

The nutrition habits of German skiers went viral during the 2018 Winter Olympics when Alpine skier Linus Strasser proudly told the New York Times that his team downs non-alcoholic beer after each training session. It sounds bizarre – but science backs the habit.

Johannes Scherr, a sports medicine professor at the Technical University of Munich, conducted a study in which he gave runners in the 2009 Munich Marathon non-alcoholic beer every day for three weeks before and two weeks after the race. The runners who drank the non-alcoholic beer suffered significantly less inflammation, recovered faster, and suffered fewer “upper respiratory infections” than those who had been given a placebo. The benefits of this buzz-free brew seem to lie in the concentration of electrolytes it contains, without the dehydrating effects of alcohol. Linus Strasser told the New York Times it not only “tastes good” but is technically an “isotonic drink” because, like Gatorade, it contains similar concentrations of carbohydrates and salts to the human body, and thus is easier for cells to absorb than standard water. “That’s why it’s good for us sports guys,” Strasser said.

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