A new study shows that people who drink moderate amounts of beer, ale or lager reduce their risk of high blood pressure and diabetes. The study involved 1,249 volunteers over 57 years old who combined a Mediterranean diet (fish, olive oil, and fruits and vegetables) with exercise and up to a pint of beer a day. People, who drank beer in moderation, had a lower body fat content.
The Spanish scientists who conducted the study entitled “Beer, Mediterranean diet and cardiovascular disease,” speculate that beer contains folic acid, vitamins, calcium and iron, which researchers say create a protective effect on the cardiovascular system. Lead researcher Dr Ramon Estruch added that 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. He blamed binge drinking, fatty foods and a lack of exercise for the beer belly and suggested that men should drink three small glasses of beer a day and women should drink two, combined with exercise and a good diet.
However many including Melbourne Alcohol Recovery Centre founder Brian Cox feel that the study is sending out 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… 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.
According to Dieticians Association of Australia spokeswoman Melanie McGrice also, the study should not encourage people to drink alcohol, because it was high in kilojoules. She said the study was in conflict with current research adding, “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… If somebody isn’t drinking, I’d encourage them to maintain that.”