Debating whether it’s healthy beer is like sweeping bar chats: everyone has an opinion, and arguments are often not enough to convince those who disagree. The truth is, the Brazilian favorite drink is increasingly democratizing, thanks to new versions finding more space on supermarket shelves and a loyal audience.
You can find craft beers that are alcohol-free (zero or low-content), light, low-carb, gluten-free, and even organic – made with naturally grown ingredients without added chemicals. According to the experts consulted, the best options (with alcohol) are definitely the most natural with the least ingredients, without the addition of chemical products, i.e. artisanal and organic.
However, the ideal would be a low-calorie, non-alcoholic and natural one. This is because the studies are controversial. While some show that consumption in moderate doses protects the heart, others reveal that just a daily dose can shrink the brain anyway.
But putting all these factors aside, does it still count as beer in a country that loves booze so much?
Beer also helps
Contrary to what many believe, beer has a (more natural) set of nutrients. In its composition, in addition to water, which corresponds to 90%, there are antioxidant substances obtained from hops and malt, which help maintain organic functions. “It has a protein and caloric intake, in addition to mineral salts and mainly some B-complex vitamins,” lists food engineer, professor Flávio Luís Schimdt. FEA-Unicamp (Faculty of Food Engineering, Campinas State University).
Juliana cathonutritionist and executive director of nutrition department socesp (Sociedade de Cardiologia do Estado de São Paulo) explains that the hop flowers used in its production, which impart a bitter and aromatic taste, also contain phenolic compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. “Also, brewer’s yeast is rich in micronutrients and is considered a probiotic because it contains fungi. Saccharomyces cerevisiae“
Among the vitamins niacin (B3), which is involved in reducing cholesterol and health in general, and folate (B9), the action being related to the formation DNA. The minerals found, magnesium, phosphorus, which play a role in the functional processes of body cells, are involved in the repair of cells and tissues, and selenium, which has antioxidant properties, cooperates in the fight against free radicals.
“Recent research has shown that moderate intake, including beer, can have a protective effect on cardiovascular disease and mortality compared to those who quit,” says Juliana. catho.
However, there are health benefits only if consumption is moderate and there is no tolerance to the ingredients and fermentation products.
It should be noted that beer has calories: 150 kcal is contained in each 350 ml. “To get this classification, light needs to be up to 35 kcal per 100 ml. However, a 350 ml can should have 122.5 kcal, so the reduction is not that significant compared to the traditional one. The calories and carbs are still there. Alcohol in the composition,” says Mayara Bernardo, clinical and renal nutritionist at HC-UFPE (Hospital das Clínicas, Federal University of Pernambuco), affiliated with the Ebserh network (Brazilian Hospital Services Corporation).
The tip for those seeking a healthier lifestyle is to always look at the nutrition chart and ingredient list to find out what you’re consuming.
HE cisa (Health and Alcohol Counseling Centre), a maximum of two drinks and one drink per day for men dose for women, considering a dose equivalent to 14 g of alcohol, equivalent to 350 ml (one can) of beer. The difference occurs because women have lower levels of the enzymes responsible. metabolism alcohol and takes longer to eliminate.
It is possible to find versions with a low alcohol content and an ethyl content of 0.5% or less on the market. The so-called zero alcohol has a maximum content of 0.05%, and those with a low alcohol content are between 0.5% and 2%.
According to the nutritionist at HC-UFPE, since it does not contain alcohol in its composition, 1 g of alcohol is equivalent to 7 kcal, so its caloric value is also lower. “‘Alcohol-free’ can have up to 50% fewer calories than the traditional one and is preferred by those who want to eventually lose weight or even maintain a healthy weight.”
Not recommended for pregnant women, even with lower alcohol concentrations. “There is a consensus in the scientific community that it should not be recommended for pregnant women; there is still no agreement on non-alcoholic beer to release use,” warns Paulo F. henkinnutritionist and director hungry (Brazilian Nutrology Association).
And the gluten-free ones?
Traditional beer contains gluten due to malt produced from protein-containing grains such as barley, wheat, rye. Therefore, it is not recommended for people with some type of gluten restriction such as celiac disease, allergies or intolerances.
That’s why gluten-free options are made from other grains like rice or using enzymes that break down protein.
“The gluten reduction or elimination processes, as well as those used to lower the alcohol content, have improved a lot in the last 10 years. The quality of these beers was very close to the original recipes. The flavor and aroma characteristics remained almost the same.”, says food engineer Flávio Luís Schmidt.
However, the absence of the substance does not make the product healthier. “In addition, the caloric value is similar to conventional and there is no reduction in alcohol and carbohydrate concentrations,” explains Bernardo.
dietitian socesp It reminds you that it is important to drink consciously and lists the following among the guidelines: Eat while drinking because alcohol is absorbed faster on an empty stomach. Humidity is essential for avoiding hangovers and dehydration, and finally respecting your own boundaries. entrance.
“It is necessary to reinforce this, whatever happens The quantities of the selected beverage need to be checked. Versions that are considered healthier give the false impression that they can be consumed freely,” concludes Bernardo.
Brazilians invented isotonic, low-alcohol beer
Some of the problems with too much beer are alcohol abuse and dehydration. With this in mind, a researcher from Unesp (Universidade Estadual Paulista) at Araraquara (SP) has developed a low alcohol, isotonic pilsen.
According to Deborah Oliveira De Fusco of the Unesp College of Pharmacy, who created the beer version, the ingredients of the recipe (malt, hops, yeast, water, sodium and potassium) go through the same production process as the alcoholic varieties, but the difference is the second day after the addition of yeasts that control the alcohol content. fermentation is interrupted and remains around 0.2%.
To qualify the drink as isotonic, sodium and potassium were added at the end of the ripening process. Professor Gustavo Henrique de Almeida said: “Many isotonic products on the market have the addition of various artificial substances, such as dyes and preservatives. People who seek a more natural lifestyle do not want to consume such drinks.” Teixeira, a professor in the Faculty of Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences at Unesp in Jaboticabal, and supervisor of the study that resulted in the new beer.
Sources: Flavio Luis Schmidtfood engineer, professor at FEA-Unicamp (Campinas State University School of Food Engineering); Juliana Katonutritionist and executive director of the nutrition division at Socesp (São Paulo State Society of Cardiology); Maya BernardoClinical and renal nutritionist at HC-UFPE (Hospital das Clínicas, Federal University of Pernambuco), affiliated with the Ebserh network (Brazilian Hospital Services Corporation); Paulo F. Henkinnutritionist and director of Abran (Brazilian Nutrology Association).
Reference: Taco (Brazilian Food Composition Chart).