This week, science told us we don’t need as much water as we’ve always believed. That means we can make more room for alcohol, right?
In another scientific coup this week, a study via Oxford’s Alcohol and Alcoholism Journal has found that drinking beer actually isn't so bad for us—at least compared to other booze options—as long as it's hoppy beer.
The researchers did the study on four groups of mice: One group got hoppy beer, another drank beer sans hops, and the third got straight-up ethanol alcohol. An unlucky fourth group drank a neutral solution.
The study found that the hops-drinking mice ended up with less fat in their livers than those guzzling the straight alcohol or the beer without hops. The mice that had the hops-less beer had the same amount of liver fat as those who drank the ethanol, showing it’s the hops, not the beer, that's responsible for the positive results. Hops are used as a flavoring agent in beer and add bitter, zesty or citrusy notes, among other flavors and nuances.
“I am not surprised at all with the results of the trial,” Harsha Chigurupati, founder of Chigurupati Technologies, tells The Feast. “At Chigurupati Technologies, when we initially in 2007 started comparing the liver damage of various types of alcohol on the liver, our animal trials showed lesser liver damage caused by more (natural ingredients containing) spirits than ones completely stripped down to pure ethanol, despite the percentage of alcohol being the same."
So sure, there's reason to celebrate (with a pint or three, perhaps?), but it's crucial to keep in mind that rodent studies—important as they are to research—aren't always directly translatable to humans. Also, “the study also looked at a 12-hour period, so we don’t necessarily know the long-term effects of the hops beer versus beer without hops," as Alix Turoff, MS, RD, tells The Feast.
Fine, but we do have a short-term plan for happy hour today, and it involves a nice frosty pint of hoppy beer.
We'll just call it hoppy hour.
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