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Drinking Beer in Moderation is Good For You

By Allan Johnson Jun 28, 2010

A study by the Beer Academy suggests that the health benefits of drinking beer are not widely understood by a significant proportion of the UK population.

According to UK News MSN, a recent study commissioned by the Beer Academy of Great Britain released on 21st June 2010 highlights the ignorance of the many healthy aspects of drinking good quality beer in moderation. The survey found that while 68% recognised beer as UK's national drink, almost 10% thought it contained fat and 13% believed it was made from chemicals rather than from the fermentation of barley malt.

The Nutritional Profile of Beer

Analysing beer is tricky because there are many variations in the ingredients and methodology among the bottles and barrels, but there are some well-known nutrients common to all decent brews which the report enthusiastically identifies.
A typical pint (570ml) of 3.4% ABV (Alcohol by Volume) beer contains:
  • vitamins from the B complex, including riboflavin, niacin, B6, folate, pantothenate and biotin
  • a broad range of minerals, depending on the water added in the fermentation process, but including copper, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, silicon, iron and zinc
  • 12.5g of sugars, mostly glucose and maltose (1)
  • 1.7g of proteins from the added hops
  • variable amounts of soluble fibre from the cell walls of the hops
  • antioxidants such as polyphenols and flavenoids from the cell sap of the added hops
  • a calorific value of approx 190kcals per pint, equivalent to the same amount of skimmed milk
  • 19ml of ethyl alcohol, equivalent to almost two units of alcohol
  • 530ml of water, which more than explains the need to pass urine after consumption!

The Psychological and Social Benefits of Drinking Beer in Moderation

The Beer Academy report explores the social benefits of visiting the pub and enjoying a few pints among friends - at a time when public houses in the UK are closing at the rate of 39 per week. Drinking at home may be cheaper, but it does not offer the same level of social interaction and networking, according to the study. If things get out of hand, is binge drinking at home more serious than doing it in public, where at least someone else knows what's happening?

Beer Versus Wine

Beer should not be automatically considered inferior to wine, says the report's author, Pete Brown. "We persist in the myth that somehow beer is an inferior drink to foreign imports such as wine. From government receptions through to weddings and business occasions, wine rather than beer is served. It has been fashionable to look down on our own national drink in favour of overseas imports, but to do that is to turn our backs on our great British success story and our own heritage, and miss out on the myriad tastes and complexities that beer can offer."
Strong words supporting an even stronger marketing campaign for good beer perhaps, but in the end it's worth paying a decent price for a decent drink. Whereas a poor quality wine at the restaurant is not unusual, poor quality beer in a decent pub is impossible to drink - even in moderation.

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