If you’re stressed about your beer gut, we’ve got good news.
A new study from the the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found men who drank a lager a day have a more diverse colony of gut microbes.
By now you know that your gut is teeming with trillions of bacteria. Previous research has shown that having a more diverse mix of microbes can improve your intestinal health and reduce the risk of certain diseases, including diabetes and irritable bowel syndrome.
The small study followed 19 healthy men for four weeks. Half the men drank 11-ounces of alcoholic lager with dinner every night, while the other half downed the same amount of non-alcoholic beer. Blood and fecal samples were collected before and after the experiment.
At the end of the month, researchers noted that all the men had greater microbial diversity in their guts. They also hadn’t gained weight. And when the study authors analyzed the men’s blood and bowel movements, they found higher levels of polyphenols, plant-based compounds that boost heart health and immunity.
What Might Make Lager Healthy?
The connection between lager and gut health isn’t clear from this study, but researchers suspect the benefit could be connected to polyphenols. Polyphenols have probiotic properties and previous research has shown that they promote the growth of other Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, “friendly” bacteria that help maintain a healthy gut.
The benefit may also be linked to the fermentation process or type of yeast used. In 2019, a Dutch scientist told The Independent that the fermentation process used to brew Belgian beers produced a yeast strain that kills bad gut bacteria. Lagers typically undergo a second fermentation process as well, which can take up to a month or more to complete.
Should you Drink a Daily Beer for Your Health?
While supplementing with probiotics can increase good gut bacteria, you shouldn’t consider Budweiser a supplement—at least not yet. The study authors acknowledge that this was only a small pilot study to see if a larger one is warranted.
Previous research has found that daily alcohol consumption can have negative effects. And even moderate drinking carries certain risks like poor sleep, weight gain, and dangerous side effects if mixed with certain medications.