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‘Beer Belly’ myth busted

15 February
MEDIA RELEASE

‘Beer Belly’ myth busted

It is widely thought that beer is fattening, but new evidence suggests the ‘beer belly’ is a myth. In fact, the latest scientific evidence from the UK concludes that beer has nutritional and wellbeing benefits which are at least similar to wine, reports the Brewers Association of Australia and New Zealand.

The report Beer & calories; a scientific review assessed the latest scientific literature on beer and was written by nutritionist Dr Kathryn O’Sullivan, a public health nutritionist with over 20 years’ experience. The aim of her report, produced for the British Beer and Pub Association, was to see whether beer was responsible for any extra weight gain over other alcoholic drinks such as wine.

Although Dr O’Sullivan does not dispute the evidence of the effect of excessive alcohol consumption on increased mortality and morbidity, she argues there is growing scientific support that moderate consumption of beer can be associated with health benefits. She says that obviously, if drunk in huge quantities, beer will cause weight gain - but so would any type of alcohol or excessive food intake. It must also be considered together with an individual’s health profile.

It is all about energy in and energy out, regardless of whether they are from beer, wine or food. In many instances beer has a relatively lower calorie value compared to other alcoholic drinks as well as a variety of everyday food items such as a banana, a bag of crisps or a cappuccino. Per 100ml a 5% lager contains 43 calories, compared to a 12% white wine, which contains 84 calories.
A good rule of thumb is the higher the alcohol content, the higher the calories, so in this sense beer is the drink of moderation.

Dr O’Sullivan notes that beer contains vitamins, fibre, antioxidants, and minerals such as silicon which may help to lower the risk of osteoporosis. Hops have a number of health benefits. She said: 'While the nutritional and health benefits of wine are regularly promoted, the scientific research on beer is less known and rarely reported’.

The Brewers Association of Australia and New Zealand says that whilst people should not rush out and drink large amounts of alcohol on the basis of these health benefits, this study shows that there are many potential benefits of beer, for our health and well-being, and when drunk in moderation beer alone will not lead to the dreaded “beer belly”.

BEER MYTHS
• 10 per cent of people wrongly believe that beer contains fat – it actually contains zero fat and zero cholesterol
• 24 per cent of people wrongly think that red wine, rather than beer, contains the most vitamins
• 13 per cent of people incorrectly believe that beer is made from ‘chemicals’, rather than its natural ingredients malted barley and hops.
For further information about the report see:
http://www.beer-the-natural-choice.co.uk/nutritional-information/

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