A beer a day keeps the doctor away? Increased diversity of gut bacteria, study finds

June 17, 2022 — A pilot study on men published in the ACS Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry shows that beer positively affects gut microbes when consumed in moderation. According to the study, drinking a beer a day, with or without alcohol, reduces the risk of several chronic diseases by increasing the variety of bacteria in the gut.

NutritionInsight speaks with Ana Faria, assistant professor with aggregation at the NOVA Medical School of the Nova University of Lisbon and principal researcher of the study.

“Our study shows that beer is a complex product made up of ingredients that can modulate our gut with a positive impact. Products with this nutritional richness and little or no alcohol are very interesting to integrate into the context of a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

Previous studies have shown that when more types of gut bacteria are present, people tend to have a lower risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic diseases. Gut health has also received a lot of attention over the past decade. During the COVID-19 pandemic, holistic connections between the gut and overall health have received increased attention.

How much is too much?Consuming a beer a day can increase the variety of bacteria in the gut.
Beer contains microorganisms from its fermentation, polyphenols and other compounds that can affect the variety of intestinal microbes. The microorganisms of the human gastrointestinal tract have a direct impact on well-being.

“We know that the microbiota can be modulated by dietary components, such as phytochemicals, post-biotics and fiber, among others. Beer is a rich source of all these components derived from grain fermentation and hop extraction,” says Faria.

The study concludes that drinking one beer a day increases intestinal bacterial diversity. At the same time, body weight, body fat mass, and serum cardiometabolic markers for heart health and metabolism remained without significant change.

Although no clear distinction could be made between alcoholic and non-alcoholic beers on gut health. However, the researchers mention that the safest amount of alcohol consumption is to not consume it.

“The key here is caution. We know that continued excessive alcohol consumption can have serious health and social effects, so if we can achieve the same health effect, an improvement in our gut health, with a non-alcoholic beverage, it is better. Oversimplifying the message can lead to unhealthy behaviors,” notes Faria.

Request for non-alcoholic alternatives
Consuming a large amount of alcohol negatively affects health, even in young adults. A previous study showed that drinking from an early age contributes to the premature tightening of blood vessels, a precursor to cardiovascular disease.

Companies in the non-alcoholic beer industry have previously told NutritionInsight that alcohol consumption could decline over the next two decades. Highlighting the boom in the alcohol-free market and the growing supply of substitutes, industry members predicted that “beer with alcohol will no longer exist in 25 years.”

A study in Denmark delved into the process of brewing non-alcoholic beer; they found that while it is possible to create the same flavor, it can also be more sustainable for the planet.

By Beatrice Wihlander

This feature is provided by FoodIngredientsFirstsister site of, NutritionInsight.

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