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Government funded research is needed

The Arran Brewery's managing director is calling on the Government to fund independent research to get to the truth behind the health benefit claims of moderate beer consumption

Gerald Michaluk Arran Brewery

I have heard both sides of the argument from those with a vested interest in the anti-drink lobby and the drinks industry who clearly I tend to believe more. But the truth is out there and it needs to be uncovered by independent professionals not associated with either the drink or anti-drink lobby.

The potential beneficiary from the truth should commission the research, the government.  They stand to gain substantially if there are indeed, as I believe health benefits and if not can point the finger effectively at the cause of health issues.  If moderate beer drinking improves your health then it is in the government’s interest to stop all this anti-moderate drinking legislation it is contemplating and if on the other hand it is not beneficial it is imperative we know and take steps to modify production, ingredients  etc to make it a safe beverage.

In a recent article in Beers of the World “Can Guinness be Good for You” outlined how in the past stouts and ales were promoted as giving health benefits to the moderate drinker, while books such as The Science of Healthy Drinking  by Gene Ford document numerous scientific studies supporting the health benefits of  a glass or two a day.  

Benefits claimed in Gene’s book include reduced risks of: Angina Pectoris, Atherosclerosis, Blood Clots, High Blood Pressure, Coronary Artery Disease, Heart Attack, Strokes, Certain forms of Cancer including Breast Cancer, Alzheimer, Diabetes Mellitus, Gallstones, Gastro-Intestinal Problems, Kidney Stones, Osteoporosis, Stress, Ulcers, Skin Ulcers, and Vision problems.  All these claims are well supported by reference to various scientific studies in the book.

There is a considerable body of evidence supporting the health benefits from moderate drinking but when you look closely it tends to be sponsored by the drinks industry while similarly when you read of the very negative effects of alcohol the research tends to be from those opposed to alcohol.  So who is to be believed?

We need to know what the facts are and separate them from all the faith and fiction surrounding the health benefits of beer consumption, hence my call for research that gets to the truth. The potential savings to the NHS are huge if the research shown by Gene is verified reduced risks are reported as high as 49% in for example the case of Heart Attack.  So I urge the Government to put its money where it mouth is and get to the truth and not just respond to whatever lobbing group shouts the loudest.

5 June 2013