Can beer be part of a healthy diet?

Believe it or not… yes it can!

When we’re talking about diets and nutrition, things can get a little vague. 

Chocolate cake can be part of a healthy diet. So can deep-fried Mars bars, really, but you wouldn’t see Jamie Oliver try to get them added to school dinners. Any dietitian worth their salt will tell you that a healthy diet consists of a varied mix of wholesome foods, with treats in moderation. 

Food writer Michael Pollan has a famous mantra for healthy eating: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” The ‘eat food’ part means eat real food, not processed stuff – fruit, veg, grains, fresh fish and meat – organic wherever possible. If you buy processed, packaged food that has a load of unpronounceable ingredients on the box, you might want to think twice. 

But as far as alcohol goes, it’s certainly not banned. Beer is, in moderation, a healthy drink. It just depends how you drink it. 

The general consensus is that regular, moderate beer drinking is healthier for you than stacking it all up into big sessions. 

So if you were to drink six pints of beer in a week, it’s much healthier to spread them out over the week, rather than sink them over the course of one boozy night. (Not only is it healthier, but you’ll avoid hangovers and regrettable behaviour this way too.)

Food writer Michael Pollan has a famous mantra for healthy eating: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

The ‘eat food’ part means eat real food, not processed stuff – fruit, veg, grains, fresh fish and meat – organic wherever possible. If you buy processed, packaged food that has a load of unpronounceable ingredients on the box, you might want to think twice. 

But as far as alcohol goes, it’s certainly not banned. Beer is, in moderation, a healthy drink. It just depends how you drink it. 

The general consensus is that regular, moderate beer drinking is healthier for you than stacking it all up into big sessions. 

So if you were to drink six pints of beer in a week, it’s much healthier to spread them out over the week, rather than sink them over the course of one boozy night. (Not only is it healthier, but you’ll avoid hangovers and regrettable behaviour this way too.)

The health benefits of beer

As well as being just plain delicious, beer is healthier than many people give it credit for – craft beer in particular. 

It’s said that craft beer might contain more B-vitamins than more mainstream brews, due to the often higher concentration of hops. It’s not quite health food, but it’s a start. Remember, in medieval times, beer was often drunk instead of water and provided some essential nutrition to those in need. 

There are a whole host of nutrients present in a glass of beer: antioxidants, calcium, potassium, zinc, manganese and more.

And if you need another excuse, beer is also a great source of dietary silicon, which is good for your bones, and reduces the risk of osteoporosis. (Although if you have one pint too many, you’re at risk of falling over and breaking a bone – moderation is the key here.)

The fibre and alcohol present in beer can stimulate the production of pancreatic enzymes and gastric acid, contributing towards the relief of some digestive disorders. The malt in beer can stabilise collagen in your skin too (the elastic stuff that keeps you looking young), although this works better if you apply it directly to the skin – beer facial cleanse, anyone? 

 

It’s also said that beer is healthier when drunk alongside a healthy meal. This should mean you drink slower and consume less, but it’s also a bit easier on your digestion compared to doing it on an empty stomach. If you’re looking for inspiration on which foods to pair with which beers, we’ve got a guide for you, as well as a tasty menu at our Ancoats beerhouse (including a range of veggie and vegan options).

Counting calories

We can’t deny it – beer contains calories. Just like any food or drink, really. Counting calories as part of your diet is a great way to achieve your health & fitness goals, especially if you pair it with regular exercise.

The alcohol content in beer is the main contributor to bumping up those calorie numbers. Calories are quite hard to define in beers as there’s so much variety in what they’re made from, but if you watch the % ABV it’s generally a good guideline. Higher percentage = more calories.

So if you’re watching your calories, you might want to go easy on the richer, stronger beers like stouts, porters and IPAs. Lagers such as pilsner should generally be around the 5% ABV mark (like our Seven Brothers Pilsner), and can be around 215 calories (kcal).  

A pint of mild bitter might be around 140-180 kcal.

If you’re looking to lower your alcohol consumption without losing out, session beers are a great compromise. Sessions are lighter brews that are generally lower than 5% ABV, with a crisp and refreshing body that’s perfectly drinkable (consider our very own Seven Brothers Session Ale). There are certain “low-calorie” beers available, but they’re brewed with fitness in mind before taste – drink at your own risk!

If you visit us at the Seven Brothers Beerhouse, you’re always welcome to try a low-carb alternative, like red wine, gin & light tonic or non-alcoholic beer. Non-alcoholic beers are really quite good for you – they’re actually used as sports drinks in some European countries, as the maltodextrin they contain (a type of carbohydrate) helps with the recovery of fluids after physical exertion. You probably wouldn’t down a pint of Imperial Stout after running a 5K, but you do still have a valid excuse for a post-run beer.  

To your health… cheers!

Keith McAvoy

Keith McAvoy

Leave a comment

the brewsletter

Seven Bro7hers in your inbox. Keep in touch…

keep up with the family