Brewskis, cold ones, ales, lagers, malts. No matter what you call it, beer is the social lubricant of the world. Vv’s Danielle Jobb talks to Professor Ben Desbrow about a utopia where you won’t have to equate beers with hangovers.
“Beer is unique because you can drink a large volume without getting what I call flavour fatigue,” explains Australian Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics Ben Desbrow. He’s spent the last decade conducting research studies to find the Holy Grail of beers; that is, one that’s easier on the human body. His primary concern is that beer is just so delicious and far too easy to drink, which leads to health risks later in life.
There are infinite articles out there that will try to convince you that a few beers a day will keep the doctor away. According to CNN, beer is high in antioxidants and may help prevent age-related eye disease. The New England Journal of Medicine suggests that women who consumed one beer per day improved blood circulation around the brain, which resulted in less of a cognitive decline as they aged. Emphasis on the “one beer per day.” If you plonk yourself down for Friday night happy hour, chances are you’ll be consuming a lot more than the recommended serving.
Back when he was a student some 20 years ago, Desbrow dreamt of a day when beer would be better for everyone.
“People are going to drink beer over other beverages no matter what, so it’s about working with people. It’s the harm minimization approach. Instead of telling people to avoid beer, I want to work to help create an alternative that will have fewer harmful side effects in the long run,” Desbrow explains. “So the question became, ‘What do we need to do in order to influence rehydration?’”
After spending over a decade examining the ratio of diuretics (the stuff that makes you pee) to sodium (the stuff that makes you retain water) in the average beer, Desbrow feels that his research has cracked the code. A product that is low on alcohol content and brimming with electrolytes could actually be consumed not only as a boozy beverage, acceptable to accompany a platter of chicken wings, but also as a rehydration tool. Dehydration is what’s to blame for that sloth-like hangover feeling. Electrolytes are the answer. They allow your body to regulate its rehydration. Even though “reducing hangovers is just a side effect of what we do,” Desbrow says with a laugh.
The research is done, but at this point, no product has been actualized. So what’s the next step for Desbrow? Sleeman recently orchestrated a visit to Toronto. The brand is looking to use his research in their future product development plans. Desbrow says he’s currently “walking the path of discovery,” which is undoubtedly paved with hops, barley and brighter morning-afters.
What are your thoughts on beer having health benefits? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.