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Beer: A 12-pack of Health Facts

Beer: A 12-pack of Health Facts


  • Alcohol and Health: Yea or Nay? The harmful use of alcohol is a major factor contributing to death, disease, and injury, but low levels of alcohol use may have a beneficial effect on some diseases.

  • Most Popular Beverages in the World: 1. Water 2. Tea 3. Beer
    More information, here.

  • One of the world's oldest prepared beverages, perhaps dating back to 9500 BC. Early European beers contained fruits, honey, plants, spices, and narcotic herbs—but not hops. In 1516, the Reinheitsgebot (purity law) allowed only water, hops, and barley-malt as ingredients. In 1607, the first shipment of beer arrived in the Virginia colony from England.
    More information, here.

  • Belly Up to the Bar: Beer Myths & Misconceptions. Myth: Beer causes beer belly. Fact: Beer belly results more from genetics than from drinking beer. Myth: Dark beer is higher in calories. Fact: Beer color relates to how deeply the malted barley is roasted. Calories relate more directly to fermentation. Myth: Beer is bad for your health. Fact: Consumed in moderation, beer has proven health benefits.
    More information, here.

  • Some Reasons Why Beer is Good for You,: Having 1 or 2 drinks of beer, white wine, or liquor per day reduces men’s risk of diabetes by 36%.(1) Responsible drinkers are thinner, on average, than persons who do not drink. More reasons: Anticancer properties. Reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases. Increased bone density. Prevention of dementia and coronary disease. Aid to the digestive system. Anti-aging properties.
    More information, here.
    And, here.

  • Drinking Drawbacks: Alcohol interacts negatively with medications (eg, antihistamines, acetaminophen). Alcohol can cause a range of birth defects, including fetal alcohol syndrome. Long-term heavy drinking may cause liver disease, heart disease, certain forms of cancer, and pancreatitis.
    More information, here.

  • Beer Ups Cancer Risk. Light to moderate drinking is associated with minimally increased risk of overall cancer. For men who have never smoked, risk of alcohol-related cancers is not appreciably increased for light and moderate drinking. For women who have never smoked, risk of alcohol-related cancers increases even within the range of up to 1 alcoholic drink a day.
    More information, here.
  • Healthier Heart Choice: Beer or Wine

    Healthier Heart Choice: Beer or Wine? Some studies have suggested that red wine offers more cardiovascular benefits than beer or spirits. Red wine may contain more and more various substances that could prevent blood clots, relax blood vessel walls, and prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. In practice, beverage choice appears to have little effect on cardiovascular benefit.
    More information, here.

  • But Frequency Matters. In one study, moderate drinkers were 30% to 35% less likely to have had a heart attack than nondrinkers. This study suggests that drinking frequency matters: Men who drank every day had a lower risk of heart attack than those who drank once or twice a week.
    More information, here.

  • Getting Philosophical. He is a wise man who invented beer.—Plato. Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.—Benjamin Franklin. Ah, beer. The cause of and the solution to all of life’s problems.—Homer Simpson.
    More information, here.
  • Beer health benefits are being discovered.

    A Toast to Your Health! Beer has not yet gained the healthful reputation that wine has, but more and more benefits are being discovered.

Alcohol abuse is a major cause of morbidity and mortality, causing disease and injury and resulting in about 2.5 million deaths each year, according to the World Health Organization. In some population groups, however, low levels of alcohol use may have a beneficial effect on some diseases.

Beer is the most frequently consumed alcoholic beverage in the world and the third most popular beverage overall. And growing evidence supports the nutritional and health benefits of moderate consumption of alcohol as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Although beer has not yet gained the healthful reputation that wine has, more and more benefits are being discovered. The slides above offer a concise summary of the health pros and cons of drinking beer.


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Anonymous @

It is borderline, if not frankly, disingenuous to plant the idea that beer consumption 'causes' better health if the only basis for this assertion is that epidemiology data have been collected by looking backwards for evidence of beer use/health improvement and "discovered" benefit.

It may well be true that beer consumption is ASSOCIATED with longer life in certain defined populations, BUT this alone is not evidence of causal linkage. It is indeed evidence that at least one necessary condition for causal linkage is present (viz. the association of beer consumption and longer life) but that is no assurance that either beer use is sufficient, or does it deal with the other elephant in the living room here -- which is that epidemiology data are filled with all kinds of confounder relationships--this is so well known that textbooks are crammed with chapters about how to attempt removing such complicating variables. How do we know that beer drinkers in general don't do other things (e.g. dietary, etc) that themselves are the explanatory variables for achieving longer life span?

James @

I have to wonder which beer manufacturers / distributors sponsored or at least contributed to this article !
I sure would like to see the references of peer reviewed articles that this list of pros and cons was taken from (if any exists).
Until our American culture can redefine "light - to - moderate" drinking, I have to vote NO ! on promoting positive health effects of beer and other forms of alcohol.
Any of us who have lived overseas (especially Europe where some of these possible beneficial effects were first noted in comparison to the US health statistics) (I refer to "the French Paradox" and other early observations) have also seen that the entire approach to consuming alcohol in most other countries is distinctly different than in the USA.
When house wine is cheaper and safer than the local or bottled water in places like Italy, but is consumed over at least a few hours with a full meal with the family, it is no wonder the problems that can result from Alcohol use are much lower than in America where most still drink alcohol to get a buzz, get blatantly intoxicated, or to self medicate (i.e. calm anxiety or relax so can fall asleep).
a few years ago I was helping my son research the topic of whether to drink or not for a school debate. The literature had gone a step past a mild benefit for decrease in AMI to also show a slight decrease in Strokes as well - BUT if a person drank more than 1/2-1 drink-equivalent a day that benefit was right out the window and the problems began to mount. This is hardly wthe practice of many or most Americans, thus our high number of problems with alcoholism, other drug abuse/dependence, crime, sexual assaults, and accidents related to drinking.
Pros vs Cons?
Mostly Pros, if you ask me !!
Dr H in SC (and retired Navy family Dr)

Loren @


Flavia @

Those who drink liquor, beer or wine on a daily basis (1-2/day) have less chance of cardiac disease, daibetes or cancer than those who don't drink at all? All things being equal--and assuming that daily drinkers never drink more than that--I don't buy it.

sally @

Why the negative. Some people drink with their healthy meals and not necessarily what is indicated here

Edwin @

To some people that deli sandwich is a healthy meal.

Dr. Arnold @

liquor can be very seductive--we found a Reisling we both love and pretty soon we were drinking a glass of it with a sandwich, dinner, snack, etc. Finally realized what was happening and cut back to one 5-oz. glass a day.

Ray & Nancy @

Yes. but how about the corned beef, pastrami, and tongue combo on rye with cole slaw and Russian dressing that goes with the beer?

Dr. Arnold @

Like :)

Steven @

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