Consistent epidemiological evidence indicates that low-to-moderate alcohol consumption is inversely associated with cardiovascular event presentation, while high levels of alcohol intake are associated to increased cardiovascular risk. Little is known on the effects of moderate beer intake in the metabolic syndrome. The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of moderate and regular daily intake of beer with meals in overweight (body mass index (BMI) of 28⁻29.9 kg/m²) or obese class 1 (BMI of 30⁻35 kg/m²) individuals without other cardiovascular risk factors (dyslipidemia, type 2-diabetes, hypertension) focusing on the effects related to changes in weight, in lipoproteins and vascular endothelial function. We have performed an open, prospective two-arms longitudinal crossover study to investigate the effects associated with regular consumption (four week) of alcohol-free-beer (0 g alcohol/day) or traditional-beer (30 g alcohol/day in men and 15 g alcohol/day in women) on anthropometrical and biochemical parameters, liver and kidney function biomarkers, and vascular endothelial function. After four-week intervention with traditional and/or alcohol-free beer, BMI did not show any significant change and values for liver and kidney functions were within the normal levels. Moderate traditional beer intake did not affect lipid levels-however it significantly increased the antioxidant capacity of high density lipoprotein (HDL). In addition, apoB-depleted serum (after the four-week intervention period) showed a higher potential to promote cholesterol efflux from macrophages. Beer consumption did not induce vascular endothelial dysfunction or stiffness. In summary, our results based on a 12-week prospective study provide evidence that moderate intake of beer (traditional and alcohol-free) does not exert vascular detrimental effects nor increases body weight in obese healthy individuals. In contrast, moderate intake of beer increases the anti-oxidative properties of HDL and facilitates cholesterol efflux, which may prevent lipid deposition in the vessel wall.
Keywords: HDL-antioxidant-capacity; cardiovascular-risk-factors; cholesterol-efflux; endothelial-function; fermented-beverage; lipoprotein-oxidation; obesity; overweight.