The UK papers talk about “Nutritionist Dr Kathryn O’Sullivan, who carried out the review of the scientific review” … and also refer to a report entitled “Beer & calories; a scientific review”. Sounds good, we find buzzwords such as “Dr“, “Nutritionist” and “Scientific Review“, so what more could you possibly need, a claim spiced up with lots of sciency sounding terms must be correct … yes?
The Daily mail also is running with this, so it just has to be true then … right? Ah but it spills the beans as such, and talks about this being a report that has been produced for the British Beer and Pub Association by Dr Kathryn O’Sullivan. Oh, so here are a few rather obvious points that stand out …
- The British Beer and Pub Association is not a peer-review journal
- The British Beer and Pub Association would have a distinct conflict of interest here, especially if they paid her to write this
Worried that this is all bollocks yet? I’m afraid you should be, because (sadly) that is exactly what it is.
Now, lets look as some real data on this. The February edition of “Nutrition Reviews” has the details of a meta-analysis entitled …
Is beer consumption related to measures of abdominal and general obesity? A systematic review and meta-analysis
This was done to assess the evidence linking beer consumption to abdominal and general obesity, and to do this they pulled together the results from 35 observational studies and 12 experimental studies that looked into all this. So what did they actually find? Well, in their own words …
“Regarding abdominal obesity, most observational data pointed towards a positive association or no association between beer intake and waist circumference or waist-to-hip ratio in men, whereas results for women were inconsistent.”
The available data provide inadequate scientific evidence to assess whether beer intake at moderate levels (<500 mL/day) is associated with general or abdominal obesity. Higher intake, however, may be positively associated with abdominal obesity.
In other words, gulping lots of the stuff may indeed make you fat.
So who do you wish to believe, the “Beer and Pub Association”, who would very much like you to drink lots, or a Nutrition journal that reviewed the actual studies and experiments?
Personally, I suggest that we should each conduct our own personal study to find out?