London: Beer belly a myth? Drinking beer causes no more weight gain than consuming any other type of alcohol or eating a high-calorie diet, a leading nutrition expert claims.
There is no conclusive scientific evidence to support the belief that beer in particular is the culprit behind weight gain, said Dr Kathryn O`Sullivan, a UK-based public health nutritionist with over 20 years of experience.
In fact, beer has a relatively lower calorie value compared to other alcoholic drinks as well as a variety of everyday food items such as a banana, a bag of crisps or a cappuccino, she said in a report produced for the British Beer and Pub Association, the `Daily Mail` reported.
Swapping two large glasses of wine for two bottles of beer could even save 500 calories a week, she suggested.
"Moderate beer consumption does not lead to weight gain or abdominal fatness and the perception that drinking beer results in a beer belly is not supported by the scientific evidence to date," she said.
She added that obviously, if drunk in huge quantities, beer will cause weight gain - but so would any type of alcohol or excessive food intake.
The beverage actually has a number of health benefits that are often ignored, O`Sullivan said.
"While the nutritional and health benefits of wine are regularly promoted, the scientific research on beer is less known and rarely reported," she said.
In fact, comparatively, wine could actually be worse for health, for replacing a standard glass of wine with half a pint of beer would save 40 calories, she said.
Half a pint of four per cent lager contains only 96 calories compared to a standard (175ml) glass of 13 per cent red wine, which contains 139 calories.
Swapping two large glasses of wine a day with two bottles of lager could save more than 500 calories a week - that`s 4,800 calories a month and 58,240 calories a year, she added.
Enjoyed in moderation, beer, like wine, can provide many essential vitamins and minerals.
"Beer contains vitamins which can help you to maintain a well-balanced healthy diet, fibre to keep you regular, readily absorbed antioxidants and minerals such as silicon which may help to lower your risk of osteoporosis. Yet few people are aware of its health properties," O`Sullivan said.