Beer is one of the oldest beverages of all time and also one of the most consumed today, it is the favorite of millions of people around the world. Based on this, in the last decade, numerous alternatives have come to light and among the most popular are craft beers. The truth is that beer is a growing industry, according to information released by the Brewers Association, since 2015 the number of breweries in the United States has nearly doubled. While many people think that locally made beverages are on par with other farm products with a similar reputation for fresh, organic, or sustainable, it doesn’t always apply in the same way. In fact, many craft beers have a hidden risk that their mass-produced counterparts do not, and one of the main dangers is that They could be causing you to drink more than you think. The main reason is that due to their manufacturing process, they are variants that tend to have a higher alcohol content that can be up to 4 times higher than their industrial counterparts.
What is craft beer?
The first thing to understand is to define the concept of craft beer, which in principle is cataloged with this name when it is produced by a small independent brewer. According to the Brewers Association defines “small” as a annual production of six million barrels of beer or less, and “independent” as a business in which less than 25% of the brewery is owned or controlled by a member of the alcoholic beverage industry who is not itself a craft brewer. Craft brewers, like all commercial brewers, must be registered with the Alcohol and Tobacco Trade and Tax Office.
Another important aspect in its differentiation are the ingredients: craft beer is usually made from malted barleyAlthough some craft brewers often add unconventional ingredients for flavor or to enhance their product.
Regarding the health benefits of drinking craft beer, they are quite similar to those of drinking industrial beer and will always be associated with a moderate intake and not with excesses. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 they define “moderation” as: two drinks or less a day for men and one drink or less a day for women, on days when alcohol is consumed.
Because beer is derived from plants, especially fermented cereal grains, it contains some health-promoting polyphenols (plant compounds) and has potential anti-inflammatory properties. There is a meta-analysis published in PLoS One in June 2020 in which it was found that beer can offer protection against cardiovascular disease by improving the elasticity of blood vessels and increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels.
Another more recent reference published in the journal Nutrients, in March 2021 published a study in which it was found that moderate amounts of beer can increase bone mineral density. Which means that drinking beer in moderation can be helpful in preventing osteoporosis. Additionally, previous studies found that moderate beer intake was associated with a lower risk of overall mortality and was also associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes in men. Also, there is evidence that beer is a source of prebiotics, an ingredient that helps “feed” beneficial probiotics (“good bacteria”) into the gut. In such a way that drinking beer with caution, being a fermented drink can improve the intestinal microbiome and thus improve digestion and immunity.
Also, craft beers have been shown to have additional benefits, as some are not pasteurized or filtered, which she says means they can be richer in natural compounds of plant origin and antioxidant activity. In fact, there is a study published in Food Chemistry in 2020, which found “significantly higher values” for various health-related compounds in small-scale beers. Last but not least, it is essential to consider the color and calories of the beer. Therefore, dark versions may actually be healthier than light beer because they tend to have higher antioxidant content.
On the negative effects of craft beer:
Regardless of the benefits it may have, craft beer is still alcohol. While each craft beer is unique, most of them they boast a higher volume of alcohol than the average beer brewed by a larger producer. According to the National Consumers League, beer contains between 4 and 7% alcohol by volume, with an average of 5% generally speaking. However, craft beer can hold four times as much. According to the Dogfish Head website, their 120-minute IPA beer contains 15-20% alcohol.
Also, craft beers often They are packed in larger bottles and cans. Therefore, due to both size and alcohol content, a bottle of craft beer can easily exceed the recommended daily amount of alcohol. For more context: A traditional craft beer, with an ABV of 5% in a 12-ounce can, provides approximately 14 grams of pure alcohol. Additionally, many craft beers come in 16-ounce cans, with an ABV of 6 to 7% and this translates to nearly 26 grams of pure alcohol. So when you drink two of these cans, you will be consuming the equivalent of almost four beers in terms of alcohol content and without a doubt increases the potential to negatively affect health.
In addition, there is another problem and that is that its high alcohol content also translates into calories to add. One gram of alcohol translates into 7 calories. Following the comparison above, it’s a difference of 98 calories per can compared to 182 calories. Experts find another dangerous risk and it is some toxic compounds called mycotoxins found in a small percentage of craft beers, it is well known that this contamination can be caused by incorrectly stored barley. According to the World Health Organization, the adverse health effects of mycotoxins range from acute poisonings to long-term problems such as immunodeficiency and cancer. So now you know, if you are a lover of craft beer and its growing trend, it is very important to enjoy them on special occasions and as any alcoholic beverage in moderate amounts.
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