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Beer: Part of a Healthy Diet?

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Guests enjoy atmosphere and the beer at Mike Hess Brewing.in San Diego Guests enjoy atmosphere and the beer at Mike Hess Brewing.in San Diego Photo: Mike Hess Brewing

TASTE News Service, November 6, 2017 - Whether you enjoy a pint of Pilsner, a stein of Stout, or a mug of Maibock, it's the question beer drinkers around the world have been asking for years: can beer consumption be part of a healthy diet?

Michael McCullough Cal Poly SLO 2 PicmonkeyDr. Michael McCullough of Cal Poly SLO

Lucky for lager lovers, that is the exact question Michael McCullough and Richard Volpe of California Polytechnic State University explore in a new article in Choices Magazine. We've heard for years about how wine has certain healthy characteristics, now McCullough and Volpe dive into how beer can do the same thing.

Great news if you're headed to a party or the sports bar this weekend, right?

"Ha, no that's not right at all," McCullough said. "Most research out there on the healthfulness of beer is geared towards those that consumer moderate amounts on a regular basis. Consuming large quantities in a single sitting is not healthy and can actually negate some of the healthy attributes of the beverage."

So while this research may give you pause on the way to the pub, McCullough said pairing beer with a healthy meal is one good way to utilize the healthy qualities found in moderate beer consumption. And does it matter what kind of beer you drink?

"Many different styles of beer have different amounts of ingredients (malted barley, hops, yeast, and water), and the different health aspects of beer come in different forms from these ingredients. Craft beer, for example, probably features more fiber and B-vitamins than does macro beer."

Can beer consumption be part of a healthy diet? As for when five o'clock rolls around today, does a beer a day keep the doctor away?

"That's about right," McCullough says. "However, it has been pointed out there are no real downsides of excessively eating apples and there certainly is with alcoholic beverages."

ABOUT AAEA: Established in 1910, the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) is the leading professional association for agricultural and applied economists, with 2,500 members in more than 20 countries. Members of the AAEA work in academic or government institutions as well as in industry and not-for-profit organizations, and engage in a variety of research, teaching, and outreach activities in the areas of agriculture, the environment, food, health, and international development. The AAEA publishes two journals, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, as well as the online magazine Choices. To learn more, visit www.aaea.org.

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