Is beer healthy?

February 16th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Al Williams at Stuff reports:

The belly getting you down? Still parked on the couch and wanting to shed some kilos?

Stop for a minute and forget about it – new research suggests it’s healthy.

While it is widely believed that beer is fattening, new scientific evidence from the United Kingdom suggests it has “nutritional and wellbeing benefits” which are at least similar to .

A report was commissioned by the British Beer and Pub Association to see whether beer was responsible for more weight gain than other alcoholic drinks, including wine.

It found that there was growing scientific support that moderate consumption of beer could be associated with health benefits.

It also found that 100ml of a 5 per cent lager contained 43 calories, compared to the 84 calories of the same quantity of a 12 per cent white wine. The rule of thumb was, the higher the alcohol content, the higher the calories.

Moderation, as with most things, is the key. Few things (except poisons) are totally bad for you.

But I would point out one flaw in the advocacy that beer is less fattening than wine. It is true on a per ml measure – but this ignores the nature of both drinks. You inevitably drink more beer and faster, than you do wine (although I may have disproved that theory last night!). If you drink more than a litre of wine you will be highly unlikely to carry on drinking. But one can drink a litre of beer fairly easily without too many noticeable effects.

A standard beer glass tends to be 330 mls or more and wine up to 150 mls only. So yes beer per ml is less fattening  but a glass of beer is more fattening than a glass of wine I’d say.

Having said that, I generally drink a lot less wine than I used to – mainly because of the calories in it.

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25 Responses to “Is beer healthy?”

  1. dime (9,664 comments) says:

    vodka & soda. 50 calories per double from memory.

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  2. gazzmaniac (2,319 comments) says:

    Using the figures quoted, a 150 ml glass of wine has 126 calories.
    A 330 ml glass of beer has 141.9 calories, which is 12% more than wine. So there’s not a huge difference there. It’s not going to make a hell of a lot of difference if you drink to excess.

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  3. cha (3,856 comments) says:

    Is beer healthy?

    Of course, beer is healthy and more.

    It’s the weekend, which means it is time for scientists, science journalists, book authors and intellectually curious readers to think about microbiology. And that means beer. Beer is actually safer to drink than water. You didn’t know that? Let’s talk some biology.

    The master ingredient in beer is yeast. That’s a microbe! So if you do experiments with beer this weekend, you are advancing the world of science. If you make beer, you are a microbiologist. If you drink beer, you are a microbiologist. Microbiologists understand beer and bacteria and stuff, which is why they drink beer more than water.

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  4. Judith (8,442 comments) says:

    Yes, but most beer drinkers have hairy chests. (There is a definite correlation)
    (check the statistics if you don’t believe me, it is true!)

    For many I am sure this could be a sufficient deterrent to prevent regular consumption.

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  5. redeye (638 comments) says:

    “commissioned by the British Beer and Pub Association”.

    No bias there.

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  6. Mobile Michael (432 comments) says:

    All beer is good. Some is just better…

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  7. toad (3,672 comments) says:

    If you drink more than a litre of wine you will be highly unlikely to carry on drinking.

    Speak for youself, DPF. I’m sure your mate Cactus Kate would disagree with you on that point too.

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  8. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    redeye (572) Says:
    February 16th, 2013 at 12:41 pm
    “commissioned by the British Beer and Pub Association”.

    No bias there.

    redeye youjoyless puritan . Would you consider a finding by the usual tax payer funded busy-bodies to be any less bias ?

    dime (5,508) Says:
    February 16th, 2013 at 12:09 pm
    vodka & soda. 50 calories per double from memory.

    My drink of choice has recently changed from beer to vodka and soda. I find it is a totally different feeling and is gentler on the body. I have noticed I have lost some weight too, though I usually only drink one night a week.

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  9. Harriet (4,614 comments) says:

    It’s peoples’ genetic make-up which partially, and in some people mostly, decides if foods/drinks are bad/good/better for them.

    As an aside, all foods and/or chemicals[Government regulated quantities] in foods, won’t GIVE you cancer/etc, nor will they INCREASE the likelyhood of you getting cancer from them. It’s largly a matter of your genetic make-up being predisposed to being ‘effected’ by them that they ‘might’ increase the ‘likelyhood’ of you getting cancer/ect.

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  10. marcw (238 comments) says:

    Ethanol has 10 times as many calories as sugar – so drinking two glasses of beer compared to 1 glass of wine is only marginally less fattening.

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  11. Johnboy (15,586 comments) says:

    “Few things (except poisons) are totally bad for you.”

    Leftwing/socialist beliefs are a poison. Who’d have guessed! :)

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  12. redeye (638 comments) says:

    Nothing puritan about me Kea. But this sort of marketing is dishonest. And I personally know of borderline alcoholics that use these sort of ‘studies’ as a justification for getting shit faced daily.

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  13. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    I personally know of borderline alcoholics that use these sort of ‘studies’ as a justification for getting shit faced daily.

    Then the problem is their drinking, not the “studies”. The alternative is to suggest only certain approved findings (of studies) should be presented for public consumption. The next question is, who will decide what we are allowed to read ?

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  14. redeye (638 comments) says:

    Where did I say you weren’t allowed to read them? I just pointed out the so-called ‘study’ might be a bit biased. For the people that may want to use them as an excuse.

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  15. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    redeye, I am only pulling your leg. Relax, have drink :)

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  16. Johnboy (15,586 comments) says:

    DPF is looking awfully healthy these days! :)

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  17. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    The most recent science is showing it is in fact sugar and carbohydrates that cause weight gain. The calories in/calories out dogma is false and a misapplication of the law of theomdynamics. Its how your body responds to the source of the calorie that determines if you get fatter or not. Basically Carbohydrates drive insulin which drives body fat accumulation. If you drink beer then drink the low carb stuff….tastes as good and not as bad for you weight wise.

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  18. marcw (238 comments) says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t ethanol a carbohydrate? So it should be low carb including low alcohol.

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  19. jonno1 (80 comments) says:

    Something wrong with the units here (but only by a factor of 1000, so no worries). Still, if the numbers are right we can drink more! But sadly, I think Mr Williams means kilocalories, not calories. Does he also write for the Herald? I know that kcal is sometimes loosely written as Calories or Cal, but never calories.

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  20. MT_Tinman (3,044 comments) says:

    A standard (wine) glass tends to be ……. up to 150 mls only.

    Your glasses may be, I’m bloody sure mine aren’t.

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  21. Viking2 (11,275 comments) says:

    Don’t care if its healthy it will be going down a treat round here today.
    Bloody hot.

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  22. Steve (North Shore) (4,522 comments) says:

    The cheapest, nicest that I drink is Export Gold. So common but I don’t care.

    And in between drinks I have Durbanville Hills Shiraz, common but it’s $9.99 and I like it

    Now this beer pot/fat guts thing. Well I had some surgery and gave up smoking. That and eating better food and more food is the reason for the weight gain. Alcahol has nothing to do with it.

    Phark I’m just over 80kg now

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  23. Left Right and Centre (2,883 comments) says:

    The cheapest, nicest that I drink is Export Gold. So common but I don’t care.

    Export Gold cans are pretty looking too. Snap… I’m 80-82kg at this time. Down from 96-98kg at start of October. I’m in my healthy weight range at 80-82kg though. In fact one dipshit now ex-friend thinks I look anorexic. He’s a 107kg lardarse. Next to him I do look anorexic.

    The Scorned….

    The calories in/calories out dogma is false and a misapplication of the law of theomdynamics

    I radically reduced the calorie intake in my diet and lost six kilos per month for three months straight. Now that’s a science experiment with factual results. I could help anyone burn fat and lose weight. You could help them wish they hadn’t been born. How many times can you repeat the word ‘thermodynamics’ before most people fall asleep do you reckon? I had a nap after looking at your comment.

    likelyhood

    Red tick. Spelling. Are you in year 9? Is Harriet spelt correctly or did you get that wrong too? Hey, I’m no fuckin Karl du Fresne myself but seriously. Also; I take it you’ve got some relevant credentials to spout about nutrition?

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  24. Left Right and Centre (2,883 comments) says:

    Ok… nothing is ‘fattening’. If you consume more calories than you burn, the body will convert the unburnt calories to fat. Stored in fat cells.

    Where those calories come from doesn’t make any difference.

    Alcohol = empty calories. No-one needs the calories from them.

    I am not a wowser. Get fucking shit-faced when it suits. But be an informed shit-faced goon. Personally I’d rather blow my calories on ice cream or sweets.

    My alcohol count in 2013 is two beers. To have a beer with visiting friends as a social courtesy. I wanted to fit in with them.

    Comparing wine to beer in terms of calories is a joke. Oh… one of them has slightly more…. so what?

    At what point does alcohol consumption become no longer correct to be described as ‘moderate?’.

    Moderation, as with most things, is the key. Few things (except poisons) are totally bad for you.

    I’m pleased to see someone else that says ‘is the key’ instead of ‘is key’ or ‘is key to’. Pet hate of mine. Practice is key to success’. ‘Practice is the key to success’. ‘Innovation is key’… yeah… I don’t like it. It’s all over the bloody place too. Like a lot of other Koiwi language… monkey see monkey do straight from the good ol’ US of McCulture.

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  25. Left Right and Centre (2,883 comments) says:

    PS: I like using rum and brandy flavoured essence in icing. That’s my cheating way of getting jiggy with something that reminds me of the good stuff. On the ice cream as it melts…. mate mate mate…. oh yeah….

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