Beerlandia: Is Beer Bad for Us?

Is beer bad for us? There’s a myth out there that it is…

written by Jeremy Storton | illustrated by Allison Bye

Is beer bad for us? There’s a myth out there that it is. It comes from the beer belly and the mentality of, “A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.” Know what actually gives beer a bad name? Cartons of ice cream, corn dogs, curly fries, 32-ounce mochas and other copious amounts of calories. Alcohol has calories, sure, but beer is fat-free and contains carbs. You know, those things we load up on before an athletic event. Excess beer lowers our inhibitions and standards, and that can result in 1 a.m. nachos with a new friend who seemed attractive back at the bar. Used in moderation, however, this effect can be a tool to improve our mood, calm the nerves before approaching someone new or inspire the creation of, say, this month’s beer column.

Beer may also extend and improve one’s life. A study done at my alma mater, University of California, Irvine, found that moderate beer drinkers will live about 18 percent longer than those who abstain. Not only is beer riddled with the essentials of life such as fiber, B vitamins, protein, potassium and calcium, but beer has empirically been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, diabetes, osteoporosis, bad cholesterol and cancer. Yes, even cancer. Turns out xanthohumol, a compound found in hops, “has been characterized as a broad-spectrum cancer chemopreventive agent” that may also do wonders for menopause, according to a paper published in Phytochemistry in 2004. The moral of the beer story is, if we are going to drink, we ought to drink well and drink often—just don’t drink a lot. Moderation is still the accepted key to all that is good. Therefore, I propose we skip the diet light beer and enjoy some proper Oregon suds, especially after earning it with an outdoors adventure in our great state.

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