Health Benefits of Beer

I think beer should be classified as a nutritional supplement.

I know some of my readers will read that and think I am being facetious.

But studies have shown that people who drink just a little bit of beer or wine are healthier than people who drink too much or even none at all.

The evidence on the health benefits of light to moderate alcohol consumption is quite a bit stronger than it is for most of the health claims on your average vitamin or herbal supplement. In fact, I am a little surprised the beer companies haven't been more active in promoting these benefits, especially the craft brewers. I guess it is still easier to sell beer with attractive members of the opposite sex than it is to tout the healthiness of beer. But that doesn't change the facts.

I think that since a couple of beers can be shown to have a statistically beneficial health benefit, then why shouldn't it be called a nutritional supplement? I mean, those are the same claims implied by most other nutritional supplement manufacturers.

Now, it is true that a lot of people don't just stop at two or three beers, and alcohol abuse is very unhealthy. But abuse of almost anything is unhealthy. You take 15 aspirin and you will be in the hospital. Even fish oil can have ill effects on the heart and prostate gland in higher than normal doses, and there is the risk of heavy metal toxicity with fish oil from shady sources.

You can overdose on a vitamin or nutritional supplement, if you take too much of it. Vitamin A can be great in normal doses, but causes all kinds of problems in excess. Beta-carotene as a purified isolated nutrient has been shown to actually INCREASE lung cancer risk in smokers. Yet, beta-carotene from the diet (carrots) is protective.

Conventional multivitamins contains pharmaceutically high doses of certain vitamins compared with the amounts found in a healthy diet. They are also purified isolates of nutrients that don't really occur in nature. They can be very harmful if consumed in excess.

Same for beer. But like most other nutritional supplements, a little bit can't hurt you and it might help you. That's all I am saying.

So have a couple of beers and call me in the morning!

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