No doubt, we are in an era when the average person has probably never been more conscious of, and concerned about the state of their well-being. When it comes to alcohol consumption, many are of the opinion that drinking beer, aside from being unhealthy, also causes the drinker to misbehave, and some others grow potbelly. But Tola Atinmo, a professor in the department of Human Nutrition, University of Ibadan, Oyo State, has come up with a study that beer is actually a healthy drink. According to the professor, there is nothing in beer that is not in other consumed food. Explaining his stance, he pointed out that beer is about 90-92 per cent water, while malted barley, hops, yeast and corn, are the other ingredients that beer is being made of. “Malted barley is the soul of beer, while hops add spicy aroma and bitter flavours, yeasts changes sugars into alcohol, and corn give beer a milder and lighter-bodied flavour”, he said.
Providing evidence-based information on health potential of beer, the professor noted that a range of carbohydrate could be found in beers. “For most beers, the majority of these are the partial degradation products of starch, which generally amount to 20 to 25 per cent of the original starch. These are referred to as dextrin and contribute to the soluble fibre component if they survive to the large gut where they may form part of the feedstock for the microflora,” he said, adding, “The polysaccharides that originate in the barley cell walls, and their breakdown products, also contribute to the soluble fibre complement. Some sugars may survive fermentation, but if there are sugars in beer it is usually because brewers have added them in small quantities to balance sourness and bitterness.”
Atinmo also said beer is essentially fat free. “Fats are highly water-insoluble molecules which, when present in foodstuffs, are either in the form of emulsions or within a solid matrix, and beer, is largely water, and most beers contain very few insoluble solids.”
Explaining the protein content of beer, he stressed, “Although beer does contain some protein, indeed rather more than in other alcoholic beverages, the levels are somewhat lower than in many other foodstuffs, adding that, “beer contains the essential amino acids, at levels of the order of 5 to 10 milligrammes, mg, per 100 grammes.
The professor of nutrition, also noted that beer, being at least 90 per cent water, may clearly be a significant contributor to water intake among beer drinkers. “The recommended daily intake of water for an adult male in temperate climates is 2.5 litres, to be increased in relation to local temperature and/or physical exertion. Nutritionists recommend the consumption of at least six to eight glasses of water daily of which the beer drinkers can benefit from its consumption,” he said.
On the vitamins content of beer, the professor pointed out that the observation that alcohol suppresses the desire to take up calories from other foodstuffs raises the concerns about unbalanced diets, in particular that those who depend on alcohol as a source of calories run the risk of vitamin shortage. He however said “in this context beer, with its vitamins content, would be a wiser beverage than other alcoholic drinks, though, of course, it is wisest to use it in moderation as part of a properly balanced diet.”…