Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Just ONE pint of beer boosts heart health by improving blood flow and make arteries more flexible

This is in line with many other studies

Drinking a pint of beer a day could improve the health of your heart, research shows.  Scientists found blood flow to the heart improved within a couple of hours of polishing off two-thirds of a pint - and that the effect was more powerful than drinking a non-alcoholic equivalent.

Arteries became more flexible and blood flow improved within a couple of hours of drinking the equivalent of two-thirds of a pint.

But alcohol-free beer did not have the same powerful effect, the study found.

The findings, by researchers in Greece, support previous evidence that moderate beer consumption may protect against heart disease.

Some evidence suggests a pint a day may reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes by up to 30 per cent.

But this is believed to be one of the first studies to look at what actually happens to the cardiovascular system immediately after a pint is downed.

Britain guzzles its way through 130 pints of beer per person a year.

Scientists at Harokopio University in Athens recruited 17 non-smoking men aged in their late twenties and early thirties.
The research adds to the body of evidence that beer helps to maintain a healthy heart

The research adds to the body of evidence that beer helps to maintain a healthy heart

Each one had their cardiovascular health measured within an hour or two of drinking 400ml of beer - equivalent to just over two-thirds of a pint.

They later they had the same tests done after drinking the same amount of alcohol-free beer or a measure of vodka.

Researchers tested for endothelial function - a measure of how easily blood passes through major arteries - as well as aortic stiffness, a check designed to assess whether blood vessels are nice and relaxed or beginning to harden.

The results, published online in the journal Nutrition, showed all three drinks had some beneficial effect on the stiffness of arteries but beer had the greatest benefit.

In a report on their findings the researchers said: ‘Endothelial function was significantly improved only after beer consumption.’

They said the combination of alcohol and antioxidants in beer may be crucial to the drink’s healthy effects.

Darker beers, like stouts and ales, have been shown to be better for the heart than lager.

Heart disease is Britain’s biggest killer. Around 270,000 people a year suffer a heart attack and nearly one in three die before they reach hospital.

Fatty diets, lack of exercise and smoking are all key risk factors.

Although excess alcohol consumption is thought to increase the dangers of heart disease, moderate intake of beer and wine has been shown to have a protective effect.


Could SKIMMED milk be contributing to obesity epidemic? Low-fat dairy can encourage weight gain, say experts

This is one of many examples of theory failures

For years, people have swapped a creamy pint of whole milk for a watery bottle of skimmed to help boost their weight loss efforts.

But new research has discovered that drinking skimmed milk might in fact be making us bigger, not smaller.

Government guidelines currently recommend that people consume ‘moderate amounts of milk and dairy, choosing reduced fat versions or eating smaller amounts of full fat versions or eating them less often.’

It is generally thought that by drinking skimmed milk you can get whole milk’s benefits – Vitamin D, calcium and protein amongst others - without the fat and calories.

By reducing the fat, the skimmed milk is certainly lower in calories, but the authors of the study - David Ludwig, of Boston's Children Hospital, and Dr. Walter Willett, of the Harvard School of Public Health - believe lower calorie beverages do not necessarily mean lower calorie intake.

They say there is very little data to back up the idea that skimmed milk promotes weight loss or management and that because reduced fat foods might not be as filling, they could lead consumers to compensate by eating and drinking more.

A previous study actually found that those who drank low fat milk had a higher chance of being overweight later on in life, according to Time Magazine.

‘Our original hypothesis was that children who drank high fat milk, either whole milk or two per cent, would be heavier because they were consuming more saturated fat calories,’ said author of the study Dr. Mark Daniel DeBoer, an associate professor of pediatric endocrinology at the University of Virgina School of Medicine.

‘We were really surprised when we looked at the data and it was very clear that within every ethnicity and every socioeconomic strata, that it was actually the opposite, that children who drank skim milk and one-percent were heavier than those who drank two-percent and whole.’

It should be noted that even full-fat milk only contains three to four per cent fat anyway.

In addition to this, companies trying to sell reduced-fat milk products may also increase sugar levels to make them taste better.

One glass of low-fat chocolate milk contains 158 calories - 68 of them coming from solid fats and added sugars - while a glass of unflavoured, semi-skimmed milk has 122 calories, with 37 of them coming from solid fats and sugars.

‘Somehow this low-fat milk has become so entrenched in the nutritional psyche, it persists despite the absence of evidence,' said Mr Ludwig.

‘To the contrary, the evidence that now exists suggests an adverse effect of reduced-fat milk.'

Finally, it should not be forgotten that research has shown that skimmed milk also provides less nutrients than whole.

Full-fat dairy is a vital source of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K as well as calcium and phosphorus, the minerals that work with vitamin D for build strong bones.

But the term 'fat-soluble' means that these vitamins need to be delivered in or with fat for the nutrients to be available to the body. Taking the fat out makes it difficult or even impossible to absorb them.

The new study was published in JAMA Pediatrics.


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