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Is Guinness Really 'Good For You'? Holy Name Medical Center Doc Explains

Toast St. Patrick's Day with a pint of Guinness. Photo Credit: O'Briens Facebook
Holy Name Medical Center's Suraj Saggar. Photo Credit: Contributed

If you're planning on leaning on Guinness' first ever tagline this St. Patrick's Day, you may want to think again.

Guinness is good for you

Maybe not, Holy Name Medical Center Infectious Disease Chief Suraj Saggar says.

Or at least, not as much as we'd like to think.

"If you're going to drink beer, there's a reason Guinness is better than some," the physician said.

"But it's still alcohol."

According to Saggar, most beers contain a significant amount of minerals, antioxidants and B vitamins, protein, silicon (which can prevent osteoporosis), fiber and prebiotics (which feed healthy bacteria in your gut).

Guinness is made of unmalted barley, giving it more fiber than most beers.

"Guinness in particular has more folate than most beers," Saggar said. "That's good for a type of B vitamins for DNA repair."

Calorically, Guinness contains less calories than most beers, the physician said.

"Most of the calories in beer are from alcohol," Saggar explained.

"Because Guinness has a lower alcohol content, it contains less calories than other beers.

"The added nitrogen, which makes it foamy and fresh, is actually just air."

But Guinness is not touted as as health food.

"You would have to drink too much Guinness to get the vitamins, minerals and fiber," Saggar said. "You're better off getting those through food."

While research does show there is room for imbibing as part of a balanced, healthy diet, they also advise not to start drinking if you currently abstain, the physician said.

Saggar says moderation is key -- no more than 8 ounces a day for women and 16 for men.

"I'm not a beer expert," he said, "but I do enjoy a good beer."

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