Over the years, we’ve all heard the health news regarding wine, which is made with grapes, and thus all the nutrients that grapes provide. For instance, red wine has the ability to help unclog blocked arteries in people who have the threatening condition, which can lead to serious heart problems. It’s generally assumed that drinking wine is better for you than drinking beer, which only leads to the well-known “beer gut.”
Yet beer isn’t all that bad. By helping raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels, and helping avoid blood clots, beer is able to help protect against stroke and coronary heart disease. It’s been proven in studies. Gallstones, arthritis, stomach ulcers, and even diabetes are conditions that are also linked to moderate alcohol intake. In short, are people who drink wine really any healthier than beer drinkers are?
The answer still may be “yes” — but not for the reasons we may think. As many experts had silently predicted, it may be the choice of food that influences health more than the choice of drink does. A new study out of London’s British Medical Journal notes that wine drinkers were more likely to purchase healthy foods (e.g. olives, low-fat cheese, etc.) while beer drinkers were more partial to pizza, chips, and other not-so-healthy choices.
So our way of looking at wine drinking may have less to do with what’s in the glass and more with what’s lined up on the accompanying plate. It is possible that whatever health benefits wine drinkers enjoy more than beer drinkers are derived from an overall better diet. The study has firmly confirmed this point.
Instead of relying on a survey about what people eat and drink (which are open to many inaccuracies), the researchers looked at what consumers bought at 98 different supermarkets. They tracked the sale of beer and wine, and then the kinds of foods that shoppers bought along with the alcohol. Thus, what people buy is far more accurate than what they say they eat and drink is.
Researchers say there are other reasons wine drinkers tend to be healthier. A Chardonnay or Pino Noir tends to be consumed with food and in smaller amounts — this may affect how the body metabolizes it. In any event, if you are a beer lover, don’t despair or believe that the wine drinkers are any healthier for it than you are.
Remember to drink beer in moderation and maintain a healthy diet. Beer doesn’t just go well with fried and salty foods — it also goes well with a balanced diet full of vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.