Massachusetts Beverage Business



Does drinking beer give you a beer belly?  It certainly seems that way.  But a new study claims that the phenomenon is just a myth.  Nutritionist Dr. Kathryn O’Sullivan recently authored the study, titled “Beer & Calories; A Scientific Review”, on behalf of the beer industry.  She found that there’s no conclusive scientific evidence that suggests beer causes weight gain.  One point that needs to be stressed: The report was supposedly sponsored by the beer industry but O’Sullivan gives no indication as to what exactly the “beer industry” is.  Still, she makes some interesting points: beer has fewer calories by volume than wine, spirits and even orange juice.  This is true, but in the case of wine and spirits, the drinker usually must consume a greater volume of beer for the same amount of alcohol.  Regardless, she stressed that when consumed within reason, beer has health benefits that can provide many essential vitamins and minerals.  O’Sullivan’s claim is backed up by previous research suggesting that beer decreases the drinker’s chance of developing heart disease and diabetes.  Another study even suggests that the dietary silicon in beer helps prevent osteoporosis in women.  But New York University’s Dr. Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health stated: “Beer definitely has calories and if consumed in excess will put pounds on drinkers.”  She added: “Excessive alcohol intake raises the risk for alcoholic liver disease and beer can be just as much as of a cause as any other kind of alcohol.  But most beer bellies are just due to excessive calories from any source, beer among them.”  So there it is.  Drinking beer won’t necessarily make you grow a beer belly, but drinking it in excess might.  And in moderation, it may have some health benefits.

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