Volume 94, Issue 60

Wednesday, January 10, 2001


Academic visit raises questions

Finally - York strike over

City will meet to discuss snow removal

UWO proves beer's healthiness

Women's centre forced to turn some away - Lack of funding keeps women's service at bare minimum


Planet Me

UWO proves beer's healthiness

By Chris Lackner
Gazette Staff

With a few cut backs, the Homer Simpsons of the world might have reason to celebrate, as recent research suggests beer might be good for the body when consumed in moderation.

According to studies conducted by Western professors John Trevithick in the department of biochemistry and Maurice Hirst, a professor in pharmacology and toxicology, chemicals known as antioxidants, present in beer, may provide clear benefits to physical health.

Trevithick said he and Hirst received an unconditional grant from the research department at Labatt Brewing Company and proceeded to analyze the benefits of antioxidants in beer in preventing cataracts.

Preliminary research shows that one or two drinks a day may reduce the risks of cataracts, but three or more may increase the risk, he noted.

"[The risk may increase] because of by-products in the alcohol's metabolism which are toxic," he said. "It's just a guess at this time."

He said beer contains chemical components, including polyphenols and flavonoids, that are found in the plant cell walls of sprouting barley.

Trevithick added it is these components that give beer its anitoxidant properties.

Hirst further explained their studies revealed dark beer has higher levels of antioxidants than light beer.

Trevithick said a similar study was done by researchers at the University of Scranton, Pennsylvania, that shows a moderate beer intake may also be beneficial in preventing heart disease.

Trevithick and Hirst presented results of their study at the 2,000 International Chemical Congress of Pacific Basin Societies in Honolulu, Hawaii from Dec. 14-19.

Judit Whalman, a Western undergraduate in her fourth year of bio-chemistry was one of the assistants in the study.

"It think it's an interesting project and a positive learning experience. It's a good thing that beer can be beneficial in moderation," she said.

Bob Chant, director of public relations for Labatt Brewing Company, said Labatt donates considerable money for research to Western, in areas such as the brewing sciences and biology. "The research proves something we've known for quite some time," Chant said.

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