04 December 2019

Can beer help fight obesity? It could, say scientists

Could the gut-friendly bacteria in in strong beers help curb obesity? A new study reckons it’s a 'yes'.

When you need to lose weight, beer may be one of the first things you swear off, as this alcoholic drink is also dense in kilojoules.

But according to a Dutch scientist at Amsterdam University, some types of strong beer, just like yoghurt, contain gut-friendly bacteria and probiotics that can provide various health benefits, including preventing obesity and better sleep.

Professor Eric Claassen presented his study at an event held by a manufacturer of probiotic beers. He explained that unlike regular beers that only go through one fermentation process, stronger beers undergo this process twice, which makes the flavour drier and strengthens the beer with a different yeast strain.

It is this specific yeast strain that converts sugar into alcohol and helps produce acids that can fight disease-causing bacteria, according to a news report.

“You are getting a stronger beer that is very, very healthy," Claassen said.

This, however, does not give people free reign to consume as many of the beers as they possibly can. Claassen still urges people to drink in moderation.

"In high concentrations, alcohol is bad for the gut, but if you drink just one of these beers every day, it would be very good for you,” he added.

Why are fermented foods and probiotics so healthy?

Fermentation and probiotics have been buzzwords in the health industry for a number of years, and with good reason.

Probiotics are microorganisms (almost always bacteria) that have beneficial effects on the body and its functioning, especially the digestive system.

These microorganisms are the same or similar to those occurring naturally in the human body. Each of us has up to 100 trillion bacteria, good and bad, in our digestive systems, according to Health24.

Over the past few decades, several studies have been done to explore the benefits of probiotic supplements.  

The studies that have been conducted so far show promising results with regards to the effect that probiotics may have on gut health and integrity.

For example, probiotics have been used with some success to reduce and improve symptoms of various gut diseases and disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Foods that undergo a fermentation process such as kimchi, yoghurt and sauerkraut, are also deemed to be full of health benefits as the process creates beneficial enzymes, B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids and various strains of probiotics, which are especially great for gut health.

Image credit: iStock


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