I was reading the news this week about another health related claim for beer:
- Alcohol-free beer 'stops cancer' says the BBC
- Non-alcoholic beer could help mice fight cancer writes Reuters
- Non-alcoholic beer may protect against cancer says The Australian
...researcher Dr Sakae Arimoto- Kobayashi said the study did not mean alcoholic beer had the same effect. "The total benefits and risks of beer with alcohol are still under consideration."The BBC also includes a caption from Dame Helen Shovelton, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation: "We would not encourage anyone to drink more beer with the aim of preventing cancer."
Seeing as the stuff given the mice as described in the abstract (a dried powder mixed with water) is as distant from grocery shelf non-alcoholic beer as it is from real ale from the wood, it is odd that the warnings against taking this news as a recommendation all relate to the intake of alcoholic beer as opposed to both non-alcoholic and alcoholic. Odd, too, given the indication in the abstract that the tests involved lager and stout style powder, that there is no support to the idea that maybe alcoholic beer is actually good for you...because I have never seen non-alcoholic stout.
In the end, these reports reveal the classic recourse to discomfort about science, health and beer (a 20th century phenomena) which is, sadly, much more about puritanism than science.