Cheers to a Lager a Day

Oktoberfest season is creeping closer, and if you are one to enjoy a cold lager once in a while – in moderation, of course, you may be helping to improve gut health, according to a recent study. Men who drank one alcoholic or non-alcoholic lager daily had a more diverse set of gut microbes in a pilot study, indicating greater intestinal health. 

In recent years, research has demonstrated the importance of a healthy and diverse set of gut microbes to support overall health.  Greater bacterial diversity in the gut microbiome has been associated with playing a role in the prevention of a number of chronic diseases including heart disease and diabetes. 

The new double-blind study, published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, followed 19 healthy men over a period of 4 weeks.   Both groups of men, who drank either one 11-ounce alcoholic or one non-alcoholic lager with dinner showed greater diversity in their gut microbiome and higher levels of fecal alkaline phosphatase, a sign of intestinal health. 

According to a recent Science Daily report, the participants’ weight, body mass index, and serum markers for heart health and metabolism didn’t change during the study.  Because no amount of alcohol consumption is deemed perfectly safe, researchers suggest non-alcoholic beer may be the healthier choice. 

Beer, like wine, can have health benefits when consumed in moderation.  The American Heart Association recommends that men consume no more than 2 alcoholic drinks per day and no more than 1 for women.  However, the AHA does not advise that anyone who does not already consume alcohol start drinking for health benefits. 

Don’t want the alcohol?  No problem.  There are a rapidly growing number of award-winning non-alcoholic beers available today that are both great-tasting and low in calories.  Zum Wohl! (to your health)