I was a bit depressed by something I read today - according to a new bit of research by Datamonitor beer is considered 'old-fashioned' by many consumers to whom "the appeal of a beer belly is apparently diminishing".
Well, apart from the fact that no one wants to look like the person who ate all the pies, there's no real startling insight there - but what depressed/annoyed me is that the beer belly is pretty much total bollocks - no really!
Beer has had a bad rap over the past few years but research done at the University of London has shown that moderate beer drinkers are no more prone to developing a paunch than anyone else, being overweight is actually more a combination of taking insufficient exercise and too much fatty food - for example did you know that a packet of peanuts contains over three times the calories of a pint of beer?
In fact, whilst we’re on the subject of calories, a half pint of 4%ABV beer (roughly 280ml) weighs in at a mere 95 calories; contrast this with 131 calories in a 125 ml glass of sparkling wine, 136 calories in a half pint of soft drink, or the 220 calories of a 330ml Bacardi Breezer and beer is already looking good.
Ally this low calorie count with the fact that researchers at Harvard in America have shown that it is moderate alcohol consumption that protects against heart disease, be it red wine or beer, and the case for beer keeps building.
And contrary to popular misconception - that mainstream beers are somehow chemically created - all lagers, ales, milds and stouts basically share the same brewing process and all natural ingredients, malted grains, hops, water and yeast.
The carbohydrate in beer is mainly polysaccharide i.e. dextrins and dietary fibre, in fact a pint of beer can contain a significant proportion of the recommended intake of dietary fibre.
Thus, in nutritional terms, beer is fat free, low in free sugar, a source of protein and dietary fibre and rich in B vitamins - as well as generally being low in alcohol compared with other alcoholic drinks.
Moderate consumption is the key though, so don’t feel too bad about popping out for a quick pint every so often because it’s doing great things for your heart – and soul.