LAGOS – A good percentage of women drink beer, however many know their limitations. It is said that about 75% of women over estimate the calorie content of beer. They believe it is beer that gave their husbands the abdominal fat “beer belly”, not knowing that it is their over-feeding of the man. Nutritionists have maintained that Beer does not contain fat and in fact, has less calories than wine.
A good number of women, who take beer, also drink it at social occasions. Some prefer it as a shandy with sweeter drinks like soft drinks or juices. Because of the resultant sweeter taste, they tend to drink more.
In a society such as ours, there are different perceptions about the widely consumed white foamy liquid – beer
While some of this perception might have dated back decades it doesn’t necessarily make them true, as a matter of fact recent studies from around the world are presenting arguments to counter these perceptions
For instance, to what extent is beer is responsible for the ‘beer belly’ condition in some men? Research has shown that beer alone cannot be responsible for this occurrence. ‘Beer belly’ is caused by too many calories in an individual’s diet (from over-eating, sugary food and beverages etc) and a sedentary lifestyle.
More calories are ingested than what is burned. The excess is stored in the body as fat. Fat is stored more in the belly by men, hence the prevalence of ‘beer belly’ in men.
This explains why women are not associated with the ‘beer belly’, it’s purely a consequence of fat stored. Women sure do consume the alcoholic beverage almost as much as some men. Research and studies have shown that beer is as suitable for women as much as it is for men. Like so many other alcoholic options, beer if consumed responsibly and in a defined moderation, then all the health benefits can be gained.
Women, who consume beer in moderation, will benefit from the antioxidants present in beer which serves as protection against many forms of cancer.
For new mothers, research studies by Koletzko and Lehner (2000) have revealed that moderate beer consumption may help in the initiation and success of breastfeeding (Pregnant women are advised to stay away from beer as no safe level has been established them.) It seems that a component of beer, perhaps a barley polysaccharide, promotes prolactin secretion.
The authors further suggest that the relaxing effects of alcohol and hop components might also have a beneficial impact on lactogenesis-the onset of milk secretion.
Beer has also be proven to enhance a healthy hydration process, as 92% of beer is made up of water (though you should never substitute beer for water.), beer aids in stress relief even for women. Research has also further shown that there is a low risk of kidney stones in beer drinkers.
With all of this benefits and much more, why would any woman stay away from beer? Although it’s imperative to take beer in moderation and do so responsibly.
As a rough guide, The World Health Organization suggests that 60 grams of alcohol per day should be a maximum. For a beer of 5% alcohol by volume, which equates to approximately 4% alcohol by weight, this means 1.5 litres or 2 bottles. 2-3 units for women a day and 3-4 units for men a day
To encapsulate all of these for us, Stephen Beaumont was quoted to say “Anyone can drink beer, but it takes intelligence to enjoy beer”.
Meanwhile, Professor Bartholomew Okolo, a Professor of Applied Microbiology and former Vice Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, who spoke on the social and cultural roles of beer, maintained that alcoholic drinks are a symbolic vehicle for identifying, describing, constructing and manipulating cultural values and interpersonal relationships.
“In all cultures, different alcoholic beverages are classified in terms of their social meaning. Every drink therefore connotes a symbolic meaning and conveys a message. Thus the choice of alcoholic beverage to be presented and consumed at certain occasions is rarely a matter of personal preference,” he said.
Former governor of Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke has emphasized that beer plays a significant role in the sustenance of good health and cultural cohesion.
Duke who was the chairman of the 3rd Nigerian Beer Symposium held in Lagos on Thursday noted that not only is beer low in carbohydrates, it is as all-natural as orange juice and milk. “You see, beer has no need for preservatives because of the alcohol and hops- both of which are natural preservatives. The only processing beer undergoes is the same as with bread-it is cooked and fermented, filtered and packaged,” he said.
The former governor maintained that it is most astounding that beer has no fat or cholesterol and when taken in moderation, beer can tilt high- density lipoprotein levels (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol rations in the right direction. “HDL are the good cholesterols that protect your veins while LDL is the bad kind that builds up in your veins. Beer actually flushes the system and can boost the HDL by up to 4 percent with just a single beer a day,” the former governor remarked.