Is BEER the key to staying hydrated in the heatwave?

Is BEER the key to staying hydrated in the heatwave? Experts reveal that the high water content and electrolytes  can boost fluid levels (but don’t have more than two pints!)

  • Australian doctor took to Twitter to share hacks for surviving UK heatwave
  • Suggested drinking half a pint of beer followed by lots of water to hydrate 
  • Dr Stuart Galloway of the University of Stirling, told Femail beer can help
  • It has high water content and electrolytes but beware of overdoing it  

With temperatures across the UK set to hit record-breaking highs of more than 40C today, we’re all looking for ways to stay hydrated, and surprisingly a glass of beer could be the answer.

While drinking alcohol in the heat is usually considered a no-no because of its dehydrating effects, experts have revealed that indulging in a post-work pint could actually be helpful. 

Responding to a viral discussion on Twitter on how to beat the heat, Dr Stuart Galloway of the University of Stirling, told Femail that because beer contains some electrolytes and has a high water content, it can be useful for hydration. 

However, he added that any beneifical effect is likely to be lost if you drink more than two pints.  

We’re all looking for ways to stay hydrated, and surprisingly a glass of beer could be the answer due to its  high water content (stock image)

The discussion was prompted by Dr Ellie Mackin Roberts, an Australian living in England, when she shared her 10-stage plan for beating dehydration in a heatwave on Twitter. 

‘If you are dehydrated (and an adult, and able to do so) drink a half a pint of beer (inc. alcohol free!) and then move straight onto water (or a sports drink or cordial if you don’t like water),’ she wrote. 

Naturally, the thread filled with comments from people asking why she had recommended drinking beer, because alcohol is known to have a diuretic effect. 

However, beer contains electrolytes, sugar and salt, all of which help the body to uptake and retain fluid, rather than it going straight through you. 

How to avoid dehydration if you drink alcohol in a heatwave 

Alcohol is a diuretic that causes you to urinate more, and can leave you severely dehydrated.

‘Alcohol makes us pee more and more frequently, and fluid leaving our bodies at this rate can lead to dehydration if not replaced,’ Drink Aware explains.

‘It is important to replace lost fluid by drinking water if we choose to drink alcohol.

‘The effects of dehydration include feeling thirsty, dizzy, lightheaded and tired, experiencing a dry mouth and lips and dark yellow and strong-smelling pee.’

Alcohol also causes the blood vessels in your skin to dilate, making you feel hotter. 

Granted, other drinks, such as sports beverages, contain all of these too. 

But if all you’ve got in the fridge is a can of lager, a small amount of beer followed by plenty of water could actually be the best thing for you.

Dr Stuart Galloway, who is Aqua Pura’s hydration expert, confirmed to Femail that beer can count as part of your daily intake of fluids.

‘With the UK in the midst of a heatwave, it’s important that people ensure they’re staying hydrated and keep their fluid levels topped up to avoid any unwanted health issues,’ he said 

‘Beer has a relatively high water content and contains some electrolytes, so if a small amount is consumed as part of your daily fluid intake alongside non-alcoholic drinks, such as water, beer can be part of a plan to keep you hydrated during the heatwave.

‘However, you should be aware that alcoholic drinks will lead to dehydration if you drink more than one or two servings. 

‘With beer in particular, if you drink more than two pints, it will most likely have a negative effect on your hydration status.’

He explains that the same rule applies to coffee and tea, too.

He explained: ‘A similar situation occurs with caffeinated drinks, for example, a black coffee is mostly boiling water so this makes up part of your daily water intake. 

‘The dehydration effect of caffeine starts to kick in after around a litre of regular coffee. Up until then it can be classed as part of your daily intake of water.

‘So, the best and healthiest way to ensure you’re meeting your water requirements during hot weather is by drinking still or sparkling water.’

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