Prosit! Spanish research says beer is good for you

on 17/01/11 at 10:31 am

Beer

  • Moderate beer drinkers had lower body fat
  • Lager contains folic acid, calcium say experts
  • Study divides experts who say it ‘s not healthy

Men and women who drink moderate amounts of ale and lager reduce their risk of high blood pressure and diabetes, a study of 1249 volunteers has found.

The subjects, who regularly drank beer in moderation, also had a lower body fat content.

But Australian experts have criticised the Spanish study’s findings, saying alcohol does more harm than good.

Beer contains folic acid, vitamins, calcium and iron, which researchers say create a protective effect on the cardiovascular system.

Lead researcher Dr Ramon Estruch said drinking moderate amounts of beer was associated with nutritional benefits.

It did not necessarily mean weight gain, since beer had no fat and kilojoule content was low.

The researchers said binge drinking, fatty foods and a lack of exercise were to blame for beer guts.

They suggested men should drink three small glasses of beer a day and women should drink two, combined with exercise and a good diet.

But Melbourne Alcohol Recovery Centre founder Brian Cox said the study sent the wrong message.

“I don’t care what tests they do, for me alcohol is like heroin. Once you’ve had the first drink, it starts off the addiction,” he said.

“We’ve got to look at the big picture.” Alcoholism “is a progressive disease and we don’t want to educate people saying booze is good for you when we know it’s totally not”, he said.

Dieticians Association of Australia spokeswoman Melanie McGrice said people shouldn’t be encouraged to drink alcohol, because it was high in kilojoules. She said the study was in conflict with current research.

“We’re talking about one study here, whereas there’s a lot of research to suggest that alcohol puts on weight and that’s going to increase your risk of diabetes more than this study shows,” she said.

“If somebody isn’t drinking, I’d encourage them to maintain that.”

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