Nutritionist Fiona Hunter has a BSc (Hons) in Nutrition and a postgraduate in Dietetics. She began her career working as a dietitian in the NHS before moving to Good Housekeeping Magazine
Can beer be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet?
Yes, absolutely. It’s obviously important to stay within the CMO alcohol guidelines, but as long as beer is enjoyed in moderation as part of a healthy balanced diet there is absolutely no reason to worry about drinking beer. In fact, studies show that, like red wine and other types of alcohol, beer has a cardio-protective effect which means that it can help reduce the risk of heart disease¹. Beer also provides a selection of B vitamins and phytochemicals.
Are certain types of beer healthier than others?
Darker beers tend to have higher levels of phytochemicals and B vitamins but at the end of the day you should drink the beer you like.
What’s so special about barley?
Barley has a low GI providing slow release carbs, which means it doesn’t cause a big spike in blood sugar after its consumption, so the body doesn’t need to respond by producing so much insulin. For cyclists this is helpful because it provides a steady supply of energy. It is a useful source of fibre – and contains a mix of soluble fibre (beta-glucan, the same type you find in oats) which can help reduce high blood cholesterol levels, and insoluble fibre which helps to keep the digestive system healthy. It is also a good source of several important vitamins, minerals especially vitamin B1, magnesium and selenium.
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