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Beer Found to be as Healthy as Wine 517

Matt Clare writes "Researchers at the University of Western Ontario (Canada) recently found that beer has the same positive qualities that wine has previously been found to have. The media release quotes professor John Trevithick, 'We were very surprised one drink of beer or stout contributed an equal amount of antioxidant benefit as wine, especially since red wine contains about 20 times the amount of polyphenols as beer.' For more info on how beer helps police harmful free radicals in blood, The London Free Press also has an article."
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Beer Found to be as Healthy as Wine

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  • mmm (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @06:55PM (#10260991)
  • by MrRTFM ( 740877 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @06:55PM (#10260992) Journal
    ... when I say


    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @07:07PM (#10261107)
      I think I speak for intelligent people when I say "Who funded this study?"
      • no, you speak for the normal people. The intelligent people are asking "but what negative effects cancel out the positive ones?"

        It only mentions "positive" qualities.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @08:34PM (#10261763)
          The intelligent people are asking "but what negative effects cancel out the positive ones?"

          Really? I thought they already knew that one or two drinks a day is positive, but more are not. I don't see how this changes anything (except what to drink). I've never heard of a single study showing that two drinks a day is bad for anyone without specific contradictions (mostly liver related).

          • There has been some research published on effects on the brain that showed every drink has a negative impact there. I think the conclusion was that one drink a day could be justified to get the benefits described here, and more would be counterproductive. I read this in the newspaper earlier this year, and can't be bothered to google for it as I'm supposed to be working, so I don't have a reference handy.
      • "I think I speak for intelligent people when I say "Who funded this study?""

        I think I speak for N.O.M.A.A.M when I say STFU.
      • by darthwader ( 130012 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @08:11PM (#10261612) Homepage
        I think I speak for all the people who actually read the article, when I say: "According to the London Free Press article, the research was funded by Labatt and Guinness".

        (Who hoo! I'm going to get +3 informative, just because I actually bothered to RTFA. Karma karma karma.)
        • Medicinal (Score:3, Informative)

          by webgit ( 805155 )
          In Ireland, Guinness has long thought to be medicinal. In fact, it was suposedly administered to nursing mothers, blood donors, stomach and intestinal post-operative patients and mothers recovering from childbirth because of this.

          No wonder Guinness used the slogan "Guinness is good for you" for many years in their advertising.

          However, I do think it's a bit cruel that just down wind of St James' Gate (the Guinness Brewery in Dublin) is an old Hospital where they used to treat alcoholics. You would often
      • by nebaz ( 453974 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @08:12PM (#10261624)
        Answer: from the article

        I concurred. And then I jokingly asked if the study was sponsored by a brewery.

        But that's no joke.

        "The research was funded by Labatt and Guinness," said Trevithick, adding each brewery paid about $25,000 to finance the study. "But it's an unconditional grant and we made it very clear to them that if we had any findings we viewed as being appropriate to publish, that we'd publish them whether or not they were harmful to Labatt or Guinness."

    • by commodoresloat ( 172735 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @07:10PM (#10261129)
      According to the summary, the benefit to health comes with a corresponding decrease in civil liberties:

      For more info on how beer helps police harmful free radicals in blood...

      It's time to write your representatives, folks!

    • by uberdave ( 526529 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @07:14PM (#10261165) Homepage
      Do we really want beer helping the police to free harmful radicals?
  • Interesting.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mentalflossboy ( 811716 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @06:56PM (#10261001)
    And yet, you never hear about a "wine belly."
    • by savagedome ( 742194 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @07:07PM (#10261102)
      You will, the day they start selling a six pack of wine for $4 in supermarkets.
      • Re:Interesting.... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by mentalflossboy ( 811716 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @07:14PM (#10261169)
        Good lord, man, what kind of beer are you drinking? A decent beer costs at least 7 or 8 bucks for a six pack. And you can get "decent" bottles of wine for that much at Trader Joes.

        I don't think cost is the issue in the beer/wine debate. It's a lifestyle difference. Wine drinkers will have a glass with dinner. Beer drinkers chug a six pack watching the game on Saturday.

        • Re:Interesting.... (Score:5, Informative)

          by dasmegabyte ( 267018 ) <das@OHNOWHATSTHISdasmegabyte.org> on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @07:38PM (#10261357) Homepage Journal
          I think it's more an issue of the amount needed to produce the desired effect. To get a decent buzz on, I need to drink three 12 oz cans or two 16 oz pints of the average 5% alcohol beer. This is 510 calories, the equivalent of eating a large order of French Fries. Light beer is 330 calories, the equivalent of a medium order of french fries. Now, to maintain said buzz, I would need to consume a minimum of 16 oz of beer per hour, which means three hours of drinking is the equivalent of a McDonalds extra-value meal.

          On the other hand, I only need to drink 15 oz of wine to get the same buzz. Wine only has 106 calories per glass, so I'd be about as well off with wine as I would with light beer, though I'd probably enjoy it more as light beer doesn't hit the spot the way nice glass of Merlot would. Shit, drinking a whole bottle of wine is only 500 calories. So drink up, man...5 drinks for the caloric intake of 3, that's my idea of a party.
          • by Sponge Bath ( 413667 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @08:28PM (#10261723)
            drinking a whole bottle of wine is only 500 calories.

            Whiskey has an even better buzz to calorie ratio.
            In fact, if you drink enough, the shakes will help burn more calories.

          • by Achoi77 ( 669484 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @08:50PM (#10261852)
            I used to work at a wine shop, and one of the new periodicals we used to receive was nutritional/chemical breakdown of about 100 or so different wines from all over the world. They had all different kinds of ratings, from what kinds had the most carbs (yes carbs), calories, and a whole slew of antioxidants with long Organic Chemistry-like words that I don't bother to remember. From that list, I've sorted a few things out (note, these are just based on rough estimates from the graphs, and off the top of my head from roughly 2 years ago):

            White wines generally has fewer calories than red wines, but also has less antioxidant content than reds as well. The exception to the calorie count will be dessert wines, which have so much sugar in them it's pointless compare them to reds anyway. Also, not to put a damper toward white wine drinkers, but almost all 'light' whites are on the bottom of the list. These include Sauvignon Blanc and Rieslings (from almost any region, but veering towards colder regions like Alsace and Germany). Of the whites, the only wines that seem to rank well in antioxidant count(among other whites - none rank well against reds) are alcoholic, tannic chardonnays(from wood barrels) from very sunny regions, like Chile and Australia. I guess the sugar content helps there in the fermentation process.

            Red wines with more tannins were generally ranked higher on the antioxidant list. I haven't really checked whether the tannin count is from the barrels they aged in, or the grape skin itself, but the highest ranking 'healthy' red wines listed were from chile and some parts of australia. But there were plenty from france and California as well.

            Of the reds, small sized grape varietals seems to have more 'good stuff' in them; Most of the wines up on the list were Cabernet Sauvignon, some Cabernet Franc, and the occasional Shiraz/Syrah. Absent from the list (or I just don't remember seeing any) was primitivo/zinfandel, along with pinot noir. Most of the merlots were on the bottom of the list.

            In terms of alcohol content, the 'healthiest' wines had the highest amount of alcohol in them, generally all above 14-15 percent. I'm guessing this is due to the length of time the wines are allowed to stay in the barrels(forgive my lack of winespeak, it's been a while). Also, very very few steel barrel wines ranked high in terms of antioxidant content and 'other stuff.'

            I guess that's about it atm. If you want to drink healthy, make sure to aim for heavy, tannic wines made from the small grape varietals that have been aged in wood, which happens to have lots of calories, and lots of alcohol(disclaimer:there is no scientific basis on anything I've just said, this is all based off of my experience). :-) I haven't RTFA as of yet, but I'm curious of the types of beer high up on the list of 'goodness' reflect the wine criteria for 'goodness.' In particular the 'aged, high calorie, alcoholic' portion of it.

            One thing about heavy tannic wines: in my experience I've gotten the worst hangovers from them. I'm guessing it's from the tannins themselves, as light reds and whites don't affect me nearly as much.

            and not to be a downer on your post, but if I was looking to get a quick hit, my suggestion would be to aim straight for the vodka (not that I'm advocating that or anything). Vodka has some of the highest alcohol/dollar ratio making it super cheap, plus (if you buy good vodka) is has very little impurities so you don't have to worry too much about hangovers. And, it's pretty low on the calorie count compared to wine and beer. The problem with vodka is that because it's so clean, people have a hard time judging whether or not they have had enough.

            I used to drink wine very heavily, so I've built quite a tolerance to alchohol. I don't drink as often as I used to, but every once in a while I enjoy having a beer or a glass of wine, and I notice that I get a nice little buzz, even with my heavy tolerance. Man, work must be more stressful than I thought. :-P

            • The chemical compounds found in red wine are called resveratrol, polyphenols and anthrocyanidins. Resveratrol [wikipedia.org] is described to be "a potent anti-oxidant (about 20-50 times as effectively as vitamin C alone) and act synergistically with vitamin C enhancing the effects of each. Resveratrol has been demonstrated to have an anti-clotting effect that prevents the formation of thrombi or blood clots in the blood vessels."

              The article [advance-health.com] I found goes on to explain why alcohol can cause a hangover and why it is bad f

        • Re:Interesting.... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dlbowm ( 99810 )
          The problem with your argument is, the people who chug a six pack on the couch also don't buy $8 beer. They are quite possibly in the $4 camp.

          I think the people who buy $8 beer are likely to just drink a glass with dinner, as a replacement for wine. I believe a good beer can be just as good an accompaniment as wine. Just depends on the food, or your mood.

          • Re:Interesting.... (Score:3, Interesting)

            by suckmysav ( 763172 )

            "I think the people who buy $8 beer are likely to just drink a glass with dinner, as a replacement for wine. I believe a good beer can be just as good an accompaniment as wine. Just depends on the food, or your mood."

            This is true. In fact, in Belgium [visitbelgium.com] they do use beer in place of wine. Belgium is a small country, yet it has 130 breweries and over 400 types of beer.

            mmmmmm, beer

      • Re:Interesting.... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @08:15PM (#10261638)
        You can already get a 5 liter box of 12% alcohol wine for 6 bucks.

        Only an alcoholic would mod this informative.
    • by mmmmmhotpants ( 800341 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @07:24PM (#10261247)
      That reminds me of my driver's education teacher (many years ago) who shared his views with us that he doesn't drink anything unhealthy like beer or soda-pop. Of course I had to make the comment: "so that's a lemonade-belly you got there?".
    • Re:Interesting.... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by PsiPsiStar ( 95676 )
      Wine contains chemicals (possibly resveratrol, I'm not sure )
      which act as lipase inhibitors, slowing the absorption of fat.
  • A bit one-sided... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by phaetonic ( 621542 ) * on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @06:56PM (#10261002)
    To quote from article [yahoo.com], ...

    But the key is moderation. The researchers found three beers would have the opposite effect.

    The study was funded by beermakers Guinness and Labatt. But the university says the financial support had no influence on the outcome.
    • by Omega1045 ( 584264 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @06:59PM (#10261041)
      The researchers found three beers would have the opposite effect.

      So just make sure your two beers are both liters/quarts!

    • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @07:04PM (#10261082) Homepage Journal
      But the key is moderation. The researchers found three beers would have the opposite effect.

      WARNING: The Surgeon General has determined that having your car wrapped around the trunk of a tree or overturned in a ditch may be harmful to your health. Drink in moderation and call a cab if you've had too much.
    • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @07:30PM (#10261288) Homepage Journal

      But the key is moderation. The researchers found three beers would have the opposite effect.

      Yeah, but those are canadian beers, right? That means you either drink a third of a german beer, or six american beers...

  • by funny-jack ( 741994 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @06:56PM (#10261006) Homepage
    After the Great Britain Beer Festival, in London, all the brewery presidents decided to go out for a beer.
    The guy from Corona sits down and says, "Hey Senor, I would like the world's best beer, a Corona." The bartender dusts off a bottle from the shelf and gives it to him.
    The guy from Budweiser says, "I'd like the best beer in the world, give me 'The King Of Beers', a Budweiser." The bartender gives him one.
    The guy from Coors says, "I'd like the only beer made with Rocky Mountain spring water, give me a Coors." He gets it.
    The guy from Guinness sits down and says, "Give me a Coke." The bartender is a little taken aback, but gives him what he ordered.
    The other brewery presidents look over at him and ask "Why aren't you drinking a Guinness?" and the Guinness president replies, "Well, I figured if you guys aren't drinking beer, neither would I."
    • by savagedome ( 742194 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @07:10PM (#10261130)
      Alright. One more.

      A Texan walks into a pub in Ireland and clears his voice to the crowd of drinkers. He says, "I hear you Irish are a bunch of hard drinkers. I'll give $500 American dollars to anybody in here who can drink 10 pints of Guinness back-to-back." The room is quiet and no one takes up the Texan's offer.
      One man even leaves. Thirty minutes later the same gentleman who left shows back up and taps the Texan on the shoulder. "Is your bet still good?", asks the Irishman.
      The Texan says yes and asks the bartender to line up 10 pints of Guinness. Immediately the Irishman tears into all 10 of the pint glasses drinking them all back-to-back.
      The other pub patrons cheer as the Texan sits in amazement.
      The Texan gives the Irishman the $500 and says, "If ya don't mind me askin', where did you go for that 30 minutes you were gone?".
      The Irishman replies, "Oh...I had to go to the pub down the street to see if I could do it first".
      • by lucabrasi999 ( 585141 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @07:22PM (#10261235) Journal

        Ok, a couple of more, from here [ahajokes.com].

        An Englishman, a Scotsman and an Irishman each order a Guiness in a pub. Upon being served, each finds a fly in their beer. Repulsed, the Englishman sends his back. The Scotsman gently flicks the fly out of his mug and begins drinking. The Irishman, carefully lifts the fly up by its wings and screams, "Spit it out! Spit it out!"

        An Irishman walks into a bar and orders three glasses of Guiness, drinking them one at a time. Noticing this odd ritual, the bartender explains that the beer goes flat when poured and informs the man his beer would be much fresher if he ordered one glass at a time.

        The Irishman explains he began this custom with his two brothers, who have moved to America and Australia, respectively. This is their way of remembering all the time they spent drinking together.

        The man becomes a regular at the pub, well-known for always ordering three beers at once. One day he walks in and orders only two beers. Assuming the worst, a hush falls among other patrons.

        When the Irishman returns to the bar to order his second round, the bartender quietly offers his condolences. The man looks confused for a moment, and then explains, "No, everyone's fine. I gave up beer for lent."

    • "I'd like the best beer in the world, give me 'The King Of Beers', a Budweiser."

      Actually, Budweiser truly deserves the title 'King Of Beers'. Not the American version, though. I'm talking about the original [budvar.cz]!

      Mmmmm.... Budweiser....

  • by xsupergr0verx ( 758121 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @06:57PM (#10261010)
    Smashing your head into a wall while taking steroids is as healthy as professional football!
  • Excellent. (Score:5, Funny)

    by DrEldarion ( 114072 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [0791uhcsm]> on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @06:58PM (#10261026)
    We can now rest assured that Homer Simpson will be cancer-free.
  • by I Love this Company! ( 547598 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @06:58PM (#10261029)
    Pfft. Mostt of uzsd hav knonnnw bou)t this fofr yeawrs!!@
  • ok, I'm outta here! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Chuck Bucket ( 142633 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @06:58PM (#10261031) Homepage Journal
    Happy hour here I come!

    Seriously though, I've always wanted to start drinking a glass of wine or beer with lunch at work. Think about it long term; it would be a health benefit. One beer isn't going to make anyone loopy, and you'd be at your desk or in the kitchen, so you wouldn't be going outside like smokers, plus you'd only do it once a day unlike smokers.

    Hmmm...perhaps I should send this article to our HR department...

  • by SteroidMan ( 782859 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @06:59PM (#10261033)
    1 drink of wine = 1 glass 1 drink of beer = 1 pony keg. I personally prefer the weight of the glass, but some may prefer the durability of the keg. But really a pint of beer vs. a glass of wine is hardly comparable at least from a calorie standpoint.
  • I love beer but.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RobPiano ( 471698 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @06:59PM (#10261037)

    I think the reason wine drinkers are healthier than beer drinkers remains consistent. Wine has fewer calories, so you don't get as fat. As a general rule, wine drinkers have healthier weights than beer drinkers.
  • Well heck! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Krypto420 ( 652140 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @07:02PM (#10261073)

    I guess that means I'll live to be 100!!! Excuse me while I crack open another cold one!! WooHoo!

  • by interactive_civilian ( 205158 ) <mamoru AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @07:04PM (#10261083) Homepage Journal
    Several years ago, my grandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Luckily the chemo-therapy beat it down and it hasn't returned.

    Anyway, the point is when he was recovering, the doctor asked him about his life-style. My grandfather, a wine-drinker, answered a solid "NO" when asked if he drank beer. The doctor recommended that he change that and start drinking a beer per day.

    The doctor was under belief a beer per day would keep the prostate cancer from returning, and it (among other things) seems to have worked. My grandfather celebrated his 80th a few years ago and is still going strong.

  • by TheFlyingGoat ( 161967 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @07:10PM (#10261127) Homepage Journal
    It may have as many antioxidants, but it also has a hell of a lot more carbs. If you REALLY want to get a lot of antioxidants, try blueberries instead. All the good stuff, little of the bad.
    • by DarkMan ( 32280 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @10:50PM (#10262502) Journal
      ...only a healthy diet.

      That goes for everything, be it beer, crisps, hamburgers, apples, lettuce, hell - even water [0]. Get it out of balance, and it's a problem.

      Accordingly, some bad qualities != Unhealthy. For example, my natural [1] diet is too low in salt [2]. So, the odd bag of crisps is not a bad thing [3] for me. On the other hand, I know someone whose got high blood pressure - a single bad of can push him towards the danger area - it's a very bad thing for him. Most people, are in the middle.

      With that in mind, what does this research actually mean, for the average person? Bugger all. The odd beer won't hurt, and hey, has some good points too. Too much is still bad.

      May I reccomend, "Total diet approach to communicating food and nutrition information", J Am Diet Assoc 2002;102:100, available from
      http://www.eatright.org/Public/GovernmentAffairs /9 2_adar_0102.cfm
      for some further reading.

      And, if your looking for antioxidents, eat more raw fruit and veg. Particular foods may have more than others, but, frankly, if you are worried about antioxident intake, then either any will help, or your micromanaging your food intake excessivly. The human body is not a brittle thing - we've lasted this long by being able to live on a range of inputs, so just eat a broad range, and let the body do it's thing.

      [0] Although, granted, drinking too much water is damn hard to do without some other contributry factor.
      [1] By natural, I mean the diet I would eat if I didn't really think about it - just eat what I want, when I want.
      [2] By too low, I mean averages 500mg of salt daily. Reccomended is 1-3g, recommended limit 6g.
      [3] Better would be to have it more evenly distributed, prehaps.
      • I'd go even further and say that there is no such thing as a healthy diet, only a healthy lifestyle (which includes a diet).

        Different people have completely different needs from their diets, depending on their lifestyles. There is nothing wrong with eating craploads of sugars and complex carbs if you are going to use them all in the course of the day.

        Many athletes have diets which would make an average person unhealthy. Your diet has to match your lifestyle.
  • by Exousia ( 662698 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @07:11PM (#10261134)
    As Benjamin Franklin said, "Beer is proof that there is a God and that He loves us."

    I couldn't agree more.
  • Homer says it best (Score:4, Interesting)

    by whovian ( 107062 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @07:13PM (#10261152)
    "To alcohol! The cause of -- and solution to -- all of life's problems."
  • by i0n ( 33788 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @07:14PM (#10261167) Homepage
    Beer has a lot more to offer than just antioxidants, especially when you drink unfiltered homebrew/craft beers. For one, there's a ton of fiber (I've heard 5g/12oz quoted (too lazy to confirm)) which is good considering that most of us dont get near the recommended amount (~25g/day I think). Also, unfiltered beer contains a considerable amount of yeast (no, not just on the bottom, suspended too) which has tons of vitamin B12 (ever seen 'brewers yeast' at the health food store). I've heard also that lack of B12 is one of the main causes of hangovers - to this day, I've never had a (bad) hangover drinking my own beer.
  • by f8free ( 779580 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @07:16PM (#10261184)
    So if I've already spent four years averaging six beers/day, I need to stay sober for the next twenty years to benefit?

    Man, am I glad I didn't go for that post-graduate degree!
  • Just remember..... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Meowing ( 241289 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @07:19PM (#10261205) Homepage
    It's also been linked to gout, stick to the wine.
  • Reality check (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drmike0099 ( 625308 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @07:21PM (#10261219)
    This article should be taken with a grain of salt. First of all, it's about as minor a medical discovery as you could find, in terms of potential impact of the study, where it was published, etc. (makes me wonder if the submitter was an author). There was a massive article on a similar topic in the New England Journal of Medicine last year, which actually studied actual humans and their actual outcomes (link here [nih.gov]) that didn't make it onto slashdot, and proved essentially the same thing. This is just talking about a lab proof about antioxidants, which are currently only one theory as to why alcohol is good for you. In other words, this is nice to know, but doesn't prove anything we didn't already know.
  • by IvyMike ( 178408 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @07:24PM (#10261249)
    Not that YOU personally would do this, but I have seen discussions arguing over "Beer X is better than Beer Y" where both sides clearly need to widen their beer horizons.

    So let's get edjumucated. (and seriously, what could be more fun?) Here are two lists of (mostly) great beers that have very wide distribtuions--go out and find something on these lists that you haven't had, and try it tonight!

    RateBeer's top 'accessible' beer list. [ratebeer.com]

    BeerAdvocate's 'Best Most Available Beers' list. [beeradvocate.com]

    There are other lists, too, these are just to get you started. You can go to both site's "Top beers" to find a list of even better beers, although many of those could be hard to find.
  • by RealProgrammer ( 723725 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @07:25PM (#10261256) Homepage Journal
    The study showed that there is a nonlinear curve relating the amount of beer consumed and overall health. So there must be some factor other than the antioxidant effect at work.

    I'm not a physiologist, or even very smart, so the rest of this is pure guesswork:

    Probably small amounts of alcohol don't do bad things to you, and may even clean crud from the blood and arteries. Larger amounts make the kidneys work harder, and the excess is eventually converted to fat.

    Since most people (in the population that eats enough to read Slashdot) have enough fat already, these negative health effects of alcohol take over with increased consumption.

    The formula for health may be formed like:
    health = q + .5 q ^ 2
    where q is the daily consumption.

    It's obviously more complex than that, but as I said, I'm not a medic. The point to my guess is that the effect is not linear, but it's also not exponentially bad for you to drink more. 10 beers/day is not much worse for you than, say, 5. The curve levels off.
  • by upsidedown_duck ( 788782 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @07:34PM (#10261318)

    Beer still has to battle against the more extreme low-carb advocates out there. One book, the popular South Beach Diet, goes to such an effort to discredit beer that it fallaciously compares consuming beer to consuming 100% pure maltose, simply because beer contains some maltose. The claims in the book made me think the author has some sort of agenda against beer or alcohol that go far beyond low-carb eating.
    • <tinfoilhat>

      I think the "South Beach" author has some sort of agenda that has nothing to do with dieting, period.

      My take on it is that, while flying the banner of health and weight loss, a lot of these books and diets are nothing more than thinly veiled attempts at promoting prohibition and, for want of a better term, puritanism. Lord knows most of the diets themselves are certainly not healthy (Atkins).

      </tinfoil hat>

      • I think it is more likely that these authors, like many advocates for various causes, have gained just enough knowledge to think they know what's right for everyone else while causing harm due to the remaining things they don't know. There are so many contradictions among fad diets with real health consequences, that I'm suprised the FDA/FTC/etc. haven't stepped in and declared them all as false advertising and bad advice based on faulty evidence. The profit motive isn't very encouraging, either.
      • Atkins as a 'hack' (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DarkMan ( 32280 )
        The Atkins diet, as descibed by the various books and articles from Atkins, is not that bad, in principle. Let me distil down the logic behind it:

        1) People eat too much.
        2) Eating less just makes you hungry. Ergo, it's difficult.
        3) If you look at the rates of ``fullness'' to calories, carbohydrates are way down the list.
        4) Thus, if you skip the carbs for a while, it lets the body get used to lower total volume of food, without feeling hungry.
        5) After the body is used to lower volumes of food, replace the h
  • by Joe Tie. ( 567096 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @07:38PM (#10261354)
    I think jumping to any conclusions is a little premature at this point. While I've only been picking up tidbits of information in this area, I was under the impression that we're only just now getting to the point of understanding the actual mechanism of action behind the health benefits provided by red wine. This article seemed to imply that the study is working under the assumption that all or most of the benefit is being provided by it acting as an antioxident. While I'm certainly not going to dismiss any benefit from antioxidents, I do think they get a little more positive press than deserved based on most studies.
    • by 808140 ( 808140 )
      Yeah. The antioxident thing may be true, but the whole "people who drink a glass of red wine everyday live longer, have lower rates of heart disease, etc" study that everyone was parroting back in the early 90s in fact turned out to be a flawed experiment.

      People that drink a glass of red wine everyday tend to live a much more, dare I say it, bourgeois lifestyle than those that don't. That the rich are healthier and live longer shouldn't surprise anyone.

      It was actually shown to be a lifestyle difference
  • Genius.. (Score:4, Funny)

    by polyp2000 ( 444682 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @07:50PM (#10261447) Homepage Journal
    Researchers at the University of Western Ontario (i.e piss-head students)

    I imagine the research was a real bind ;) .. Even so I wish I'd had an idea like this for my final year!

    Im thinking of doing some research into proving that an end of night curry or chilli kebab helps prevent a killer hangover. Anyone care to sponsor me ?

  • by GillBates0 ( 664202 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @07:51PM (#10261460) Homepage Journal
    except for the new fangled low-carb beers like Michelob Ultra.

    In the process of trying to lose weight, I've done a lot of reading lately on why low-carb diets work, and most of thee details seem pretty logical and convincing to me. Here in a nutshell, is why I think high-carb beers cannot be healthier than (usually) low-carb wines for people trying to lose weight:

    High carb and sugar diets cause the release of Insulin in the body, which is a signal to the body that more than adequate nutrition is available as a result of which, the survival mechanism kicks in and stores any fat consumed thereafter as body fat, with the carbs being used for energy. When carb consumption is lowered, however, Insulin is absent from the bloodstream, and fat is burnt instead for energy.

    Hence, from this standpoint, the food pyramid (which suggests low fat instead of low carbs) as well as high carb beers are unhealthier, since they encourage storage of more fat in the body, leading to obesity.

    In any case, I'm not a biologist, and I've found this way of eating quite health and effective. Thought I'd chip in with my $0.02.

    For those interested in more details, look up Slashdot's earlier coverage of the subject:Hackera on Atkins" [slashdot.org].

    • The low-carb diets fall short where they do not discriminate among different forms of carbohydrate. Of all the fad diets, the ones based on the glycemic index actually make the most sense, as it is obvious that a cup of chick peas will be easier on the pancreas than a cup of boiled potatoes. The pure black-and-white low-carb diets are pretty much based on poor logic and/or all-out misinformation (they really do read like pseudo-science, few citations, many conclusions). For example, ketosis just isn't a
    • by 808140 ( 808140 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @10:18PM (#10262329)
      High carb and sugar diets cause the release of Insulin in the body, which is a signal to the body that more than adequate nutrition is available as a result of which, the survival mechanism kicks in and stores any fat consumed thereafter as body fat, with the carbs being used for energy. When carb consumption is lowered, however, Insulin is absent from the bloodstream, and fat is burnt instead for energy.

      While this may be strictly true, the body's "store as fat" mechanism only happens if your body isn't burning all the Calories it ingests. This is a result of having a low metabolic rate. A low metabolic rate is caused by lack of exercise, surprise.

      This is why starving yourself will also lead to losing weight, and why the minute you stop doing it, you'll gain it all back (as is the case with low carb diets, and any diet in fact, which is not accompanied by exercise.) Your body goes into survival "I'm starving quick store everything I eat who knows when I'll eat again" mode.

      Americans (and I say this as an American) are hopelessly overweight, and we have a very weight conscious society. As a result, we spend a tremendous amount of time trying to lose weight. But very few people (especially fat people, sadly) want to do the actual work required to lose it. This is why stuff like the Atkins diet, anorexic self-starvation, and diet pills are so popular. People don't want to actually get off their butts and work out. They want to continue leading their sedentary lifestyles and lose weight.

      When you think about it, it really isn't surprising. Americans work harder (longer hours, etc) than essentially anyone else in the world, on average. It stands to reason, then, that we have very little free time, and many of us have office jobs where we sit around all day. So those of us who don't much like exercise to begin with are unlikely to use what little free time we have working out. It's a problem.

      But recognize that any diet without exersise will, at best, give you temporary results, which will force you to diet basically forever.

      The way you describe the Atkins diet is the same way that people suffering from anorexia describe the celery diet. Celery has negative Calories -- it requires more energy to break it down than you get from it, it being mostly cellulose. Anorexics discovered that they could just eat celery and lose weight extremely fast. They were essentially starving themselves (hello, negative Cals) but it didn't feel that way, because they always had a full stomach.

      Low carb diets are the same. Eat only food which is more difficult to burn than fat, and your body will preferentially burn fat. But this is just as stupid as the celery diet, for exactly the same reasons.

      If you want to lose weight, exercise. Play a sport. Do something. Get off your ass. And eat what you want.

  • by 0x1234 ( 741699 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @08:01PM (#10261542)
    When red wine was declared (in moderation) to be healthy, the price went up. A bottle of merlot that used to cost 5 dollars a bottle (when it wasn't good for you) now costs 8 dollars. When it was widely publicized that Oats helped lower cholesterol, the price of everything containing oats went up. Check the cereal isle. Now beer is healthy!!? ARRRRGHHHH!!!
    • If you've ever had Two Buck Chuck [traderjoes.com], you'd know you can get a decent wine for relatively little money.

      I'm not going to call it the best wine in the world, or even the best bang for your buck, but it's nice with food when one can't afford better (you can replace "one" with "I" in my case).

    • When it was widely publicized that Oats helped lower cholesterol...

      And when you read the fine print, it is by only 3%. I.e, this is 6 points for a person with a cholesterol of 200. So oatmeal gets someone down to 194. Big whoop-de-doo. Just lay off the chili cheese fries and quintuple-scoop ice cream, folks.

  • by Lord Kano ( 13027 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @08:05PM (#10261571) Homepage Journal
    Honestly judge, I wasn't drunk, I was taking a nutritional supplement.

  • by mikael ( 484 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @08:08PM (#10261587)
    how beer helps police harmful free radicals in blood, The London Free Press also has an article."

    beer, Police, free radicals, blood, London Free Press?

    All the standard ingredients for another protest day in London.
  • by PsiPsiStar ( 95676 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @08:16PM (#10261655)
    Since alcohol isn't the cause of most of these effects, wouldn't this reccomend non-alcoholic beers and wines?

    Ideally, you'd use yeast to make a vitamin drink, removing excess sugars/calories. You'd remove the alcohol. Then you'd drink.
  • Free Beer! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Brandybuck ( 704397 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @08:22PM (#10261695) Homepage Journal
    Free Beer! That's beer that's free as pretzels and open as speech. I'm talking about the Free and Open Source QBrew [kde-apps.org] Homebrew Recipe Calculator.

    [Hey, it's shameless self-promotion, but beer related stories don't appear on Slashdot that often]

    You don't even need to know how to brew, because it comes with a brewing primer. To be honest, while the software is free as in pretzels, brewing ingredients might set you back twenty bucks for a two case batch, but that twenty buck is worth it. Now go and make some "Beer Found to be as Healthy as Wine".

    [Now I'm starting to feel ashamed about this shameless self-promotion, better wrap up quick]

    It's even free for Windows and Mac (but is much cooler under a Free and Open system like Linux or BSD). A new release is due within the month, but why wait? Build now and avoid the rush...
  • by Xabraxas ( 654195 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @09:25PM (#10262039)
    This is great news! I am immediately going to go out and drink as much beer as possible before they change their minds and decide beer is bad for you again.
  • by euxneks ( 516538 ) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @09:37PM (#10262101)
    Interestingly, the researchers have found that only Canadian beer has this healthy benefit.

  • by B747SP ( 179471 ) <slashdot@selfabusedelephant.com> on Thursday September 16, 2004 @02:03AM (#10263528)
    ... everybody say:

    cd /pub
    more beer

    That's all I have to say, thanks for coming!

Neutrinos have bad breadth.