Saturday, May 29, 2010

"Guinness is good for you"

Good news for moderate consumers of Guinness [and perhaps other stouts] from the BBC and the University of Wisconsin. Of course the same benefit could probably be achieved with a diet high in "certain fruits and vegetables" — but this is far more efficient:
A pint of the black stuff a day may work as well as a low dose aspirin to prevent heart clots that raise the risk of heart attacks.

Drinking lager does not yield the same benefits, experts from University of Wisconsin told a conference in the US.

Guinness was told to stop using the slogan decades ago - and the firm still makes no health claims for the drink. ....

The researchers told a meeting of the American Heart Association in Orlando, Florida, that the most benefit they saw was from 24 fluid ounces of Guinness - just over a pint - taken at mealtimes.

They believe that "antioxidant compounds" in the Guinness, similar to those found in certain fruits and vegetables, are responsible for the health benefits because they slow down the deposit of harmful cholesterol on the artery walls.

However, Diageo, the company that now manufactures Guinness, said: "We never make any medical claims for our drinks." ....

The original campaign in the 1920s stemmed from market research - when people told the company that they felt good after their pint, the slogan was born.

In England, post-operative patients used to be given Guinness, as were blood donors, based on the belief that it was high in iron.

Pregnant women and nursing mothers were at one stage advised to drink Guinness - the present advice is against this. .... [more]
It would appear that the health benefits have a different justification today than in the 1920s. One suspects that however beneficial it may have been to pregnant and nursing mothers it was much less so for the infants.

Related: The Search for God and Guinness: A Biography of the Beer that Changed the World, by Stephen Mansfield

Thanks to Jeff Dunn at Internet Monk for the reference.

BBC News - Guinness could really be good for you