I recently attended the Beertopia event with 400+ beers available to taste. It got me thinking of the merits of beer and my mentoring professor whose motherland is the emerald isle. He always professed (pun-intended and I paraphrase)”…the Irish are hardy people, we survived on beer. How else do you think we got through the famine?”
There are many health benefits attributed to wine, the anti-oxidant factor called resveratrol, is the most studied wine compound with definite links with heart health (1). Although, realistically, the amount in 1 glass of wine do not equate to the amount of the phytochemical compound used in studies that show benefits. The health connection may not be so farfetched due to the main ingredient in wine: grapes. For beer, the main ingredients is water with a bit of fermented plants-barley and hops-for “flavor”. Overall, there may be more nutrients* in beer when compared to wine. *Vitamin B family complex, proanthocyanidin. However, BOTH wine and beer have more micronutrients than the average person would think such as calcium or magnesium. Below is a brief summary from the handy Google tool for nutrient comparison, just type in the search “x compare to y” or in this case “red wine vs beer”. I did compare the data to the standard USDA Nutrient Lab Database and they were similar enough for a rough eyeball comparison, but not to used for exact calculations in research.
What is a “drink”? (defined by USDA)
- 12 oz beer
- 5 oz wine
- 1.5 oz spirit
The recommendation is 1 drink/day for women; 2 drinks/day for men. Interestingly, I looked at the France’s Manger Bouger, the equivalent to the USDA’s MyPlate (2) since the culture of food and eating is very different from a typical American.
Their recommendation is: 2 glasses/day for women; 3 glasses/day for men.(3) Just a little bit different than USDA’s recommendations.
Giancoli A., A Toast to Good Health ADA Times Winter 2011.
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