January 27/Barcelona, Spain/Kentish Gazette -- A beer a day keeps the doctor away, according to new research. The Spanish boffins found that those who regularly drank moderate amounts of beer enjoyed various health benefits. These include a lowered risk of diabetes and high blood pressure and having a lower body fat content.
The joint study, carried out by Barcelona University, the Hospital Clinic in Barcelona, and the Carlos III Institute of Health in Madrid, found that people with a Mediterranean diet who drank up to a pint of beer a day "not only did not put on weight, but in some cases even lost weight."
Dr. Ramon Estruch and Dr. Rosa Lamuela tested 1,249 men and women over 57 years old for their study "Beer, Mediterranean Diet and Cardiovascular Disease."
Lamuela said, "In this study, we banish myths. We know that beer is not to blame for obesity."
Beer contains folic acid, vitamins, iron and calcium, which researchers confirmed provide a protective effect on the cardiovascular system.
Doctors also discovered that the beverage provides the same health benefits boasted by a moderate consumption of red wine, and are urging people to combine beer with exercise and a healthy diet high in fish, fruit, vegetables and olive oil.
Shepherd Neame chief executive Jonathan Neame said, "We welcome this research that supports what we've been saying for years" beer in moderation is good for your health."
Head brewer Peter Holmes said, "In the past few years, the image of beer and drinking it has reached rock bottom, mainly because of binge drinking and heavy discounting by retailers.
"The research now proves what we have known for a long time. "There are, of course, calories in beer, but there are just as many in a milky coffee or a glass of orange juice as there are in a typical pint of lager.
"We are talking about moderate drinking here. If you drink too much alcohol, whether it is beer wine or spirits, the risks are well known and documented."
From the February 7, 2011, Prepared Foods E-dition