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Beer & Health #9

Features November 1, 2006      
Written by hopscotch

Vero Beach, FLORIDA -

I’ve written several articles regarding beer and its purported health benefits, cures for hangovers, fitness trivia, etc. I’ll continue to do so whenever new research is reported that supports the idea of beer, in moderation, as a healthy addition to one’s diet. Until then, there are only so many different ways for one to say “lupulin and brewers’ yeasts are good for you, so drink up.”

Over the past several years, I have received lots of beermail posing general fitness and health-related questions; some regarding general fitness, some individual-specific . I’ve always answered your questions as promptly and accurately as possible. I’m every bit as “into fitness” as I am “into beer.” I love talking cardiovascular and resistance training, safe supplementation and diet, so answering your questions is never a chore for me.

After years of working in the fitness industry, I have found that people tend to ask questions very similar to those posed by others. In short, you probably have the same health concerns, fears, confusion and misconceptions as everyone else. Instead of continuing to report the “already-reported”, I thought it would be fun and useful to take some of your questions (and my subsequent responses) out of my inbox and into this open forum for others to read and learn from. My hope in doing so is that all of us can live longer, healthier lives. Maybe some of these tips will buy all of us a few extra, good years to continue exploring the wonderful world of beer.

First up, a question from Chriso420:

Q: There seems to be a lot of misinformed people out there perpetuating the whole "dark beer has more calories" myth (among other things), perhaps you could scrounge up some data on various mainstream beers and compare/contrast them. Also possibly include a breakdown of what’s in the "sludge" at the bottom of a bottle; I’ve heard yeast is composed of roughly 1/2 protein (by weight), with the remainder composed of cellulose and assorted B-vitamins, is this true?

A: Brewer’s yeast contains all the essential amino acids , 14 minerals, and 17 vitamins. It is one of the best natural sources of the B-complex vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6, pantothenic acid , biotin, and folic acid . It is also high in minerals, including chromium, zinc, iron, phosphorus, and selenium. Brewer’s yeast is also a good source of protein. It contains approximately 16 grams of protein per 30 grams of powdered yeast. Additionally, brewer’s yeast is one of the best sources of the mineral chromium. Two tablespoons of brewer’s yeast yields about 120 micrograms (mcg) of chromium, an amount equal to the recommended daily allowance. Chromium is an important factor in regulating blood sugar levels. High levels of chromium increase glucose tolerance. Diabetes and hypoglycemia are two conditions in which blood sugar levels are unstable. Brewer’s yeast has been reported to help improve symptoms of diabetes and hypoglycemia, and may act to prevent diabetes from developing in persons with a family history of diabetes and in those who have problems with blood sugar metabolism.

Yet another component of brewer’s yeast has wound healing properties. Glucan, a substance derived from the yeast, has been shown to improve wound healing in mice by activating macrophages and promoting the growth of skin cells and capillaries.

Brewer’s yeast may help to prevent constipation. Thirty grams of brewer’s yeast contains approximately 6 grams of dietary fiber (cellulose) (24% of the recommended daily amount) . Fiber is an important part of the diet as it helps increase the bulk of fecal matter, thereby promoting healthy bowels and intestines. Brewer’s yeast has also been found to be helpful in cases of diarrhea. The yeast acts to encourage the growth of good bacteria in the intestines.

Regarding the myth that “dark beers” have more calories than “lighter-colored” pale lagers, RealBeer.Com provides the following:

Blue Moon White = 171 Calories, Pabst Blue Ribbon = 152 Calories, Murphy’s Irish Stout = 150 Calories, Coors Original = 148 Calories, Corona = 148 Calories, Budweiser = 143 Calories, Miller Genuine Draft = 143 Calories, Guinness Draft = 125 Calories.

Next up, a question from kenb:

Q: Hey there, those are some great articles you wrote, I never knew about those before.

Do you mind if I ask you a question?

I eat low carb (lost 50 lbs doing it and kept it off until I started drinking beer a couple months ago.)

What is the best way to low carb and drink beer?

I assume it is not good to eat fatty foods while drinking, as the body will burn the beer carbs and store the fat correct?

Would it then be better to only drink half way in between meals? Say 3 hours after and 3 hours before? And just eat high fibre before drinking?

Or what do you suggest to keep the weight off?

A: There’s really no way to go low carb <U>and</u> drink craft beer (other than eating only protein and roughage while obtaining all your carbs from beer). However, you <U>can</u> trick your body by going low net carb while drinking craft beer. Drink six to eight ounces of water mixed with three or more rounded teaspoons of smooth texture, sugar-free Metamucil, Citricel, etc. before each glass of beer. You’ll knock down your net carbs and the glycemic index of the beer that way. You’ll also have less room in your stomach for over-indulging in beer or anything else.

Regarding eating fatty foods while drinking beer; two things: 1. Eating fatty foods is never a good idea unless you are trying to coat your stomach in order to protect it before or during a lengthy beer-drinking/tasting session. In that case, you may be better off using <a hrefhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mineral_oil>mineral oil which is almost never absorbed into the bloodstream and usually passes directly through the gastrointestinal system and is evacuated by the body… along with everything else that’s been festering in your intestinal membranes. In other words, if you’re going to use mineral oil, stay within spitting distance of a restroom after ingesting it. 2. Refer to <a hrefhttp://ratebeer.com/Beer-News/Article-450.htm>this article for more interesting fitness facts, including the importance of what you eat while consuming alcohol.

Finally, it’s always a good idea to consume something every three hours to keep your metabolism cranking for weight/body fat loss. Although not the healthiest option for a meal or snack, beer can be considered such. Refer back to <a hrefhttp://ratebeer.com/Beer-News/Article-459.htm>Beer & Health #5 for more information regarding the importance not of eating more, but of eating more often for better health and body composition.

That’s it for now. If you have any questions about diet, exercise or beer (as it relates to both), feel free to beermail me anytime at <a hrefmailto:[email protected]>[email protected]. I’ll address more questions next month in Beer & Health #10. Until then, as always, everything in moderation… including moderation.

Eric Starnes

ACE Certified Personal Trainer



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start quote Brewer’s yeast contains all the essential amino acids , 14 minerals, and 17 vitamins. It is one of the best natural sources of the B-complex vitamins end quote