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Effects of the Non-Alcoholic Fraction of Beer on Abdominal Fat, Osteoporosis, and Body Hydration in Women

Marta Trius-Soler
Arnau Vilas-Franquesa
Anna Tresserra-Rimbau
Gemma Sasot
Carolina E. Storniolo
Ramon Estruch
3,5 and
Rosa M. Lamuela-Raventós
Department of Nutrition, Food Sciences and Gastronomy, XaRTA, School of Pharmacy and Food Sciences, University of Barcelona, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
INSA-UB, Nutrition and Food Safety Research Institute, University of Barcelona, 08921 Santa Coloma de Gramanet, Spain
CIBER Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y Nutrición (CIBEROBN), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, 28029 Madrid, Spain
Centre d’Innovació, Recerca i Transferència en Tecnologia dels Aliments (CIRTTA), XaRTA, TECNIO, MALTA-Consolider, Departament de Ciència Animal i dels Aliments, Facultat de Veterinària, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Cerdanyola del Vallès), 08193 Bellaterra, Spain
Department of Internal Medicine, Hospital Clínic, Institut d’Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), University of Barcelona, 08036 Barcelona, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Molecules 2020, 25(17), 3910;
Submission received: 22 July 2020 / Revised: 21 August 2020 / Accepted: 25 August 2020 / Published: 27 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polyphenolic Compounds in Wine and Beer)


Several studies have shown that binge drinking of alcoholic beverages leads to non-desirable outcomes, which have become a serious threat to public health. However, the bioactive compounds in some alcohol-containing beverages might mitigate the negative effects of alcohol. In beer, the variety and concentration of bioactive compounds in the non-alcoholic fraction suggests that its consumption at moderate levels may not only be harmless but could also positively contribute to an improvement of certain physiological states and be also useful in the prevention of different chronic diseases. The present review focuses on the effects of non-alcoholic components of beer on abdominal fat, osteoporosis, and body hydration in women, conditions selected for their relevance to health and aging. Although beer drinking is commonly believed to cause abdominal fat deposition, the available literature indicates this outcome is inconsistent in women. Additionally, the non-alcoholic beer fraction might improve bone health in postmenopausal women, and the effects of beer on body hydration, although still unconfirmed seem promising. Most of the health benefits of beer are due to its bioactive compounds, mainly polyphenols, which are the most studied. As alcohol-free beer also contains these compounds, it may well offer a healthy alternative to beer consumers.

Graphical Abstract

1. Introduction

Beer, an alcoholic drink composed of four main ingredients (water, malt, hops, and yeast) [1], is one of the most consumed beverages in the world [2]. From a nutritional point of view, its main components are water (around 90%), followed by carbohydrates, ethanol, minerals, vitamins, and bioactive compounds such as polyphenols and organic acids (iso-α-humulones). Beer composition, as well as its flavor, taste, and texture, differs considerably according to the ingredients and processing techniques [3]. Besides their health benefits, the bioactive compounds are also linked to the sensory characteristics of beer [4].
In view of the worldwide growth in beer consumption, studies investigating possible links between beer and different health outcomes are of utmost importance. Among others (i.e., liver disease), recently, one of the most important consequences of a high beer consumption is a greater risk of developing different site-specific cancers (e.g., colorectal [5], lung [6,7], prostate [8], and oral cavity, esophagus, and larynx cancer [9]). It is also known that high alcohol intake help to develop a dilated cardiomyopathy and also may trigger certain cardiovascular events [10,11]. Nevertheless, a moderate consumption of beer may also help to prevent these type of events [12,13].
Clinical evidence about beer consumption effects needs to be more specific on sex-related differences and health outcomes. Postmenopausal women due to the estrogen depletion suffer body changes [14] and there is an accumulation of abdominal fat [15], an increasing risk of osteoporosis [16] and a loss of body hydration [14] among other health issues. Interestingly, some studies have pointed out that bioactive compounds of beer may help to mitigate some of these adverse effects.
In a unit of beer the main bioactive compounds with health benefits described in several studies [9,17,18] are depicted in Table 1. Particular attention has been given to the polyphenols found in malt (75%) and hops (25%), due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties [19,20]. Polyphenols are also critical to the flavor, astringency, bitterness, haze, and body of beer [21,22], and their concentration varies according to the ingredients and processing [23,24]. Regular beer, both ale and lager beers, is richer in polyphenol content compared to alcohol-free beers [25].
Among polyphenols, a particular group has attracted special interest for their estrogen-like properties [29]. Hops (Humulus lupulus L.) are a source of prenylflavonoids, a class of phytoestrogens, predominantly xanthohumol (XN), that during the brewing process isomerizes into isoxanthohumol (IX), 6-prenylnaringenine (6-PN), and 8-prenylnaringenine (8-PN) [30]. These compounds can mimic and modulate the action of estrogenic hormones by epigenetic mechanisms, via binding with cell surface receptors or by interacting with estrogen receptors (ERs). In particular, 8-PN has been described as the most estrogenic phytoestrogen, surpassing those typically found in soya products [31].
The aim of the present review is to summarize the available literature on the health outcomes of beer consumption in women, focusing on three specific health-related conditions: increased abdominal fat, osteoporosis, and overall body hydration. In particular, findings related to the beer bioactive compounds are discussed.

2. Beer Consumption Related to Health and Disease in Women

2.1. Beer, Abdominal Fat, and Weight Gain

A widely held belief is that beer consumption directly contributes to an increase in abdominal fat and ultimately leads to overweight and obesity. This assumption might be due to the nutritional value of beer, since it contains not only alcohol but also more carbohydrates than other alcoholic drinks [32]. In this section, we assess whether or not beer consumption can increase abdominal fat and site-specific adiposity in women, central obesity being the most relevant sign of metabolic syndrome (MetS) [33].
The type of alcoholic drink, as well as dose, frequency and time of consumption play a role in how alcohol drinking may change fat distribution [34,35]. Additional factors such as genetics, gender, and age may also be important determinants of central body fat [34]. Thus, for instance, drinking alcoholic beverages during meals was significantly more prevalent in females than in males in one study population [35]. In addition, it has been suggested that enlarged waist circumference (WC), known as “beer belly”, commonly observed in regular beer consumers might be more due to unhealthy lifestyle factors and drinking patterns (e.g., physical inactivity and smoking) rather than to beer consumption alone [36].
Women seem to be more prone to fat deposition than men upon the consumption of high doses of alcohol [37]. In general, postmenopausal women have a higher total body fat mass and more abdominal fat than premenopausal women. More specifically, despite exhibiting a similar mean body mass index (BMI), postmenopausal women have a larger WC [15]. While both genders experience somatic changes with aging, in women they particularly affect the WC and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) [33,38]. Interestingly, both visceral and subcutaneous adipocytes express estrogen and androgen receptors such as ER-α, a regulator of adipocyte activity and fat distribution responsible for these gender differences and hyperandrogenism in postmenopausal women [15,39]. As increased visceral abdominal fat deposition causes metabolic changes in fatty acid metabolism, it would be useful to know which foods and ingredients may be more effective for counteracting this fat accumulation in postmenopausal women [15].
Several studies have investigated the effects of gender in the relationship between beer consumption and abdominal adiposity [32,40]. A systematic review of observational studies published before November 2010 indicates that there is an inverse or no association between general obesity and moderate beer consumption in women, while findings referring to abdominal obesity seem to be inconsistent [40]. The authors pointed out that these conflicting observational data may be explained by the small proportion of women beer drinkers and their relatively low beer intake in the studies analyzed [40].
Alcohol or beer consumption and abdominal fat or weight gain have been described as having a U-shaped relationship, with the lowest BMI values observed in women who consumed an average of 6–24 g/day of alcohol [41]. In another study, women with a low beer consumption (maximum 1.32 L/week) also had the lowest WHR values, whereas non-consumers had the highest WC [33]. In the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), the lowest MetS and WC values were observed in the mild to moderate beer and wine drinkers [42]. Consequently, it can be stated that excessive beer intake may contribute to a higher WC and WHR, and even a higher overall BMI, yet the regular consumption of less than 0.5 L/day of beer (4% alcohol) seems unlikely to have this effect, according to the data available in cross-sectional and prospective observational studies [40]. Women studies evaluating the relationship between beer consumption and abdominal fat increase has been summarized in Table 2 [33,35,36,37,41,43,44,45,46,47,48,49,50,51,52,53,54,55].
In a study focused on the effects of a moderate beer intake on the body composition of healthy adults undergoing a high-intensity interval training, the group consuming alcohol-free beer experienced a significant decrease in visceral adipose tissue and WC, and a clear decreasing trend in the WHR. The other groups (consuming beer or water supplemented with vodka ethanol) did not show any changes in these variables [56].
Now, we should look for the compounds of regular and non-alcoholic beer responsible of these effects. The main bitter compounds of beer are iso-α-acids or iso-α-humulones, derived from the isomerization of α-acids in hops during brewing [57,58]. A study of mice fed with a high-fat diet (HFD) supplemented with iso-α-acids reported significantly reduced body weight, epididymal fat weight, and plasma triglyceride levels after the intervention, whereas in the control group the values increased [59]. As in other studies, it was concluded that iso-humulones might have a protective effect on internal organs damaged by obesity, making this a promising line of future research [59,60]. Iso-α-acids bind and activate both peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors α (PPARα) and γ (PPARγ), which exhibit anti-obesity and anti-inflammatory activities in vivo [59,60,61]. Regular beers contain 20–40 mg/L of iso-α-acids [27,62,63], and some bitter beers up to 50–80 mg/L [62].
A clinical trial with prediabetes subjects found that 32–48 mg/day of iso-humulones lowered the fasting blood glucose and hemoglobin A1c after 8 weeks, while the total fat and BMI in participants receiving 48 mg/day decreased at 12 weeks [62]. However, some effective concentrations of iso-humulones reported in the literature, such as 500 mg/kg body weight in mice, would be impossible to ingest through moderate or even high beer consumption [60]. Additionally, it would be difficult to formulate a food other than beer with 10–100 mg/L of iso-humulones and an effective dose of iso-α-acids because of their strong bitterness [57].
Matured hop bitter acids (MHBA) are components derived from α-acid oxidation and bear a β-tricarbonyl moiety in their structure such as α-, β-, and iso-α-acids. The bitterness of α-acid oxidation products is described as being more acceptable for the consumer compared to iso-α-acids, and some studies of the bioactive properties of MHBA have been carried out [57]. Weight gain in six-week-old male C57BL/6J mice, a model of MetS, was significantly suppressed when their high fat diet was supplemented with MHBA [64]. Additionally, MHBA administration induced cholecystokinin secretion and signal transduction in the rat gastrointestinal tract, resulting in an increase in the brown adipose tissue temperature. Moreover, MHBA may target TAS2 receptors (TAS2Rs) because they share a similar structure with iso-α-acid [57]. Although 25 TAS2 bitter taste receptors have been determined in humans, only TAS2R1, TAS2R14, and TAS2R40 have been reported to mediate psychophysical responses to bitter hop-derived compounds [65]. Specifically, TAS2R1 and TAS2R40 are expressed in enteroendocrine cells, responsible for incretin hormone secretion [66,67,68]. There is also interesting evidence that the consumption of mature hop extract significantly reduces abdominal visceral fat of healthy overweight subjects [58].
On the other hand, it has been found that a XN-rich hop extract (17.8% XN and 12.4% IX) prevents fat gain due to overnutrition by modulating preadipocyte differentiation in a 3T3-L1 mouse fibroblast cell line [69]. Furthermore, oral administration of 30 and 60 mg/kg/day of XN during 12-weeks in a C57BL/6J mice model improved markers of inflammation and MetS and decreased BMI in a dose-dependent manner. Nevertheless, the authors concluded that because XN concentrations found in beer are only about 0.2 mg/L, XN taken in the form of beer would be unlikely to have a protective effect against MetS [70]. Two other studies performed in the same C57BL/6J mice model demonstrated that XN derivatives [71] and IX [72] significantly changed the gut microbiota profile, constituting a potential mechanism against obesity and MetS [71,72].

2.2. Beer and Osteoporosis

Known as one of the most important health-related conditions of aging, osteoporosis is attributed to a decrease of bone mineral density (BMD), which ultimately leads to increased bone fragility [73]. Although common, the condition is underdiagnosed and undertreated, and clinical trials and public health strategies are needed to improve screening and management [74]. Nutrition, exercise and lifestyle are recognized as important aspects in osteoporosis prognosis [75], so modifiable environmental factors such as diet should be considered in its management [76].
Postmenopausal status has been described as a risk factor of BMD loss [16]. As a long-term consequence of the lack of estrogenic stimulation, menopausal bone loss has been linked to an accelerated bone turnover combined with an imbalance that favors bone resorption rather than formation [29,77]. The risk of osteoporosis is six times higher in postmenopausal versus premenopausal women [74]. One of the main mechanisms underlying the protective effect of estrogen against osteoporosis could be an enhanced expression of the vitamin D receptor in the duodenal mucosa and responsiveness to endogenous 1,25-dihydroxycolecalciferol [78].
Certain dietary factors, such as moderate alcohol consumption, have been positively associated with BMD values in postmenopausal women and in the general population [16,79,80]. A study found that women who consumed more than 1 drink of alcohol/day (i.e., 270 mL of beer, 100 mL of wine, or 27 mL of liquor) had a significantly higher femoral neck and lumbar spine BMD than non-alcohol consumers, in a lifestyle adjusted model [81]. Among alcoholic drink subtypes, only beer and low-alcohol beer (but not wine or liquors) seemed to have a significantly positive effect on lumbar spine BMD in older women [81,82]. Similarly, in a cohort of elderly men and women, the lowest hazard ratios for hip fracture tended to be among beer consumers [83]. Also, quantitative bone ultrasound values were higher in women who consumed beer compared to the non-beer or wine drinkers, independently of their gonadal status. This result could be explained by the phytoestrogen content and low grade of alcohol in beer [84]. In contrast, other studies have found positive associations between wine or wine preference and spine BMD in a postmenopausal population group, but not for beer or spirits [76,85]. Women studies evaluating the relationship between beer consumption and osteoporosis has been summarized in Table 3 [76,81,82,84].
In 2008, a systematic review and meta-analysis concluded that subjects consuming 0.5–1 drink/day, equivalent to 7–14 g alcohol/day, had a lower hip fracture risk than abstainers, whereas those consuming more than 2 drinks/day had a greater risk [86]. Thus, abstainers and heavy drinkers have a higher risk of hip fractures than light-moderate drinkers, with a U-shaped relationship between the variables [83,86]. Supporting these results, abnormal bone histology and decreasing bone formation and mineralization have been described in alcoholics [87]. The tendency of a higher association between BMD and beer or wine consumption compared to liquor suggests that other compounds besides ethanol may contribute to bone health [4].
Most of the positive effects of beer on osteoporosis in postmenopausal women have been attributed to the non-alcoholic fraction, specifically to polyphenols, silicon and α-acids. Among phenolic compounds, flavonoids have been inversely linked to bone resorption biomarkers in Scottish women aged 45–54 years. The flavonoids most consumed by the participants were catechins, demonstrating the significant contribution of these compounds to improving BMD [88,89]. The bioactive compounds in hops have been proposed as an alternative to conventional hormone replacement therapy. In particular, the phenolic phytoestrogens from hop extract seem to exhibit estrogen-like effects on bone metabolism [90]. A recent study in animals found that hop extract containing phytoestrogens and iso-α-acids attenuated bone loss and reversed high bone turnover in ovariectomy mice [91]. Furthermore, in vitro experiments demonstrate that hop phytoestrogens (XN, IX, 6-PN, and 8-PN) regulate both osteoblast and osteoclast activities, while α-acids exert a strong bone resorption inhibitory activity, however, the recommended dosage is still unclear [90,91,92].
The phytoestrogen XN inhibits the receptor activator for the nuclear factor κ B ligand (RANKL) signaling pathway, which has been identified as critical to osteoclast formation and bone resorption [93,94]. XN has also been reported to promote osteoblast differentiation, up-regulate alkaline phosphatase activity, and increase the expression of osteogenic marker genes in osteoblastic cell lines [95]. Interestingly, Prouillet et al. (2004) had previously suggested that one of the consequences of increased alkaline phosphatase activity could be an activation of the ER [94], and another study described an inhibitory resorption effect of XN in a dose-dependent manner [92]. Regarding 8-PN, a recent review of its therapeutic perspectives discusses plausible mechanisms for the anti-osteoporotic properties of this intestinal metabolite. 8-PN has preferential binding to ER-α, which is the prevailing ER in bone tissue, and its prenyl group seems to be essential for the anti-osteoporotic mechanism [29]. In summary, the beneficial effects of 8-PN, promoting bone formation and inhibiting bone resorption, are mediated by ER-α instead of ER-β, and it is more potent than the isoflavones genistein and daidzein [96].
Silicon from malt has been reported to facilitate bone mineralization and regeneration [75,97], which are essential for bone formation [97]. Some alcoholic beverages such as beer or wine contain significant amounts of silicon [98], although due to the processing of barley and hops, beer is a better source than wine or other alcoholic beverages, with an average content of 19.2 mg/L and non-significant differences among different types of beer [28,75]. Moreover, silicon in beer has a high bioavailability [98,99]. Tucker et al. (2009) showed that adjustment for silicon intake mitigates the positive effect of beer consumption on BMD in older men and women [4].
To sum up, bone remodeling is a slow process and aging affects bone turnover [100]. The phenolic fraction of beer, including phytoestrogens and iso-α-acids from hops, and the silicon from malt seem to play a role in osteoporosis prevention. However, long-term clinical trials are needed to better predict the impact of beer consumption on bone mass, a major concern for postmenopausal women suffering from bone loss.

2.3. Beer and Body Hydration

Hydration has a crucial impact on a variety of factors related to the correct functioning of the body and specific recommendations are needed for each population group. Female sex hormones affect the body water balance, although it is still unclear how the regulation of hydration in women may enhance wellness, safety, and mental and physical performance [101]. Estrogen and progesterone levels have been correlated with body fluid regulation and thermoregulation changes [101]. As more water is retained in the body when estrogen levels are high [102], hormonal depletion in menopause results in a loss of hydration, which should be carefully monitored. Current literature reports that estrogen therapy increases osmotic sensitivity and water retention, helping menopausal women to control diuresis and prevent dehydration [14]. The effect of estrogen on fluid regulation in older women seems to be related to sodium retention [102,103]. Not only the menopause but aging itself affects the fluid balance [14].
An estimated intake of 2.5 L of water/day is considered necessary under normal conditions or 3.5 L of water/day in hot weather or when exercising [104]. Perspiration while exercising may cause an important depletion of water and electrolytes [105], as well as part of the body’s stored glycogen. Most recommendations for sustaining the nutritional state and optimizing water absorption during exercise include the intake of beverages containing carbohydrates and electrolytes, in particular glucose–fructose and sodium [106]. Besides the main components of water and carbohydrates, beer also contains electrolytes, which may play a role in maintaining water and electrolyte balance, although the ethanol content may counteract these positive effects.
The effect of beer consumption on the overall hydration status has been studied among men. Unfortunately, no studies on this issue have been performed in women. Hobson and Maughan (2010) investigated the effect of low-alcohol doses on induced euhydration or hypohydration [107], administering alcohol-free or alcoholic beer in each case to create four experimental conditions. In the euhydrated group, those consuming alcoholic beer produced more total urine in the 4 h after intake and for 3 h also exhibited considerably higher serum osmolality, a parameter associated with fluid balance, although the difference had disappeared at 4 h, the end of the monitoring period. The authors also mentioned that sodium excretion was notably lower in the alcohol consumers [108]. In an elderly population with more hydration problems, Polhuis et al. (2017) observed a temporary diuretic effect only after moderate consumption of stronger alcoholic beverages (wine, spirits), but not beer. This demonstrates that: (i) moderate consumption of beer and other weak alcoholic beverages may be safe in terms of hydration for the elderly and (ii) the diuretic effect was plainly triggered by the amount of alcohol in the beverage [108].
Several studies have investigated the effect of beer or its components in those practicing sports, monitoring hydration status, muscle performance, environmental conditions, and duration of exercise in male athletes [105,109,110]. The most controversial component of beer is ethanol. An early study from 1997 reported that the retention volume of the total fluid ingested was about 20% lower in those who consumed an alcohol-free beer supplemented with 4% alcohol compared to those who drank non-supplemented alcohol-free beer, following intermittent cycle ergometer exercises in the heat that induced dehydration of up to 2% of body mass [111]. Alcohol itself undoubtedly has a negative effect on exercise performance, although its extent may also depend on other factors, such as the mode and duration of exercise [109]. In extreme conditions, when the body requires greater hydration, any diuretic or anti-hydration effect of the ethanol in beer is more easily noted. Jiménez-Pavón et al. (2015) observed that consumption of 660 mL of regular beer (4% alcohol) after 1 h of running in hot conditions had no deleterious effect on any hydration marker [106]. Two other studies evaluated the effect of water, beer or alcohol-free beer on fluid and electrolyte homeostasis in male athletes or physically active men [112,113]. Castro-Sepulveda et al. (2016) reported that an intake of 700 mL of alcoholic beer before aerobic exercising increased plasma K+ and decreased plasma Na+ during the exercise activity, with a negative impact on athletic performance. Notably, this effect was not observed when alcohol-free beer was administered, to the extent that the decrease in plasma Na+ during exercise was lower than after the ingestion of water. Accordingly, alcohol-free beer might be an effective sports drink for maintaining electrolyte homeostasis in males when taken before exercise [113]. In contrast, another study found that rehydration of young, healthy, and physically active males with non-alcoholic beer was not advantageous with regard to water [112]. A more recent study evaluated the effects of ingesting isotonic drinks or beer with different alcohol concentrations after mild dehydration or exercise among males. The net fluid balance was measured after a 5-hour observation period and the lowest rate of fluid retention (21%) was obtained for beer with 5% alcohol, whereas the highest (42%) was recorded for an isotonic sports drink [114]. Interestingly, the effects of modifying the sodium and alcohol content of beer have also been studied [115,116]. Participants consumed low-alcohol beer (2% alcohol + 25 or 50 mM/L of sodium) or normal beer (3.5% alcohol + 25 mM/L of sodium) and after exercise, the greatest fluid retention was observed in consumers of beer with the highest electrolyte content and the lowest concentration of alcohol (2% alcohol + 50 mM/L of sodium) [116].
While non-alcoholic beer has promising effects in terms of fluid homeostasis in the context of aerobic exercise, a low dose of alcohol (0.5 g/kg of body weight) consumed before muscle damage-inducing anaerobic exercise had no impact on the posterior muscle performance or related water loss in ten healthy young males [110].
Notably, all the aforementioned studies were performed in men. More research is needed to understand the effects of different types of drinks on the hydration state of female athletes, in order to improve performance and provide personalized supplementation recommendations [101].

3. Implications and Future Research

Most of the health benefits of beer are thought to be originated by its non-alcoholic components, mainly polyphenols. Although found in small quantities in the final product, the flavonoid XN (whose only source is hops) is of particular interest. Intestinal metabolites of related flavonoids, notably 8-PN, could also have an important role in human health. Other components, such as silicon or bitter acids, may help to explain other health effects of beer consumption, such as improvement in bone density. Nevertheless, the beneficial properties of beer components outlined in this review have not been extensively studied because of the adverse effects of ethanol. Human interventional trials are required to elucidate the real association between beer intake and health benefits in women, but the consumption of ethanol is an important obstacle for their development. We, therefore, suggest a directional change towards the non-alcoholic fraction of beer and its effect on the female population as an interesting target for future studies. With some authors already using this strategy, a greater focus on alcohol-free beer will lead to the emergence of more human trials and new evidence in this field. Finally, new long-term randomized trials on the effects of moderate alcoholic and non-alcoholic beer consumption (and other alcoholic beverages) on health and diseases, including cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, cognitive decline, osteoporosis, and others in women (and also in women) are needed to better define the protective role (or not) of beer consumption, independent of other lifestyle factors, on the aforementioned conditions.

4. Conclusions

Although the results of studies on abdominal fat deposition in female beer consumers are inconsistent, moderate consumption appears not to have a significant effect on adiposity. Moderate beer intake has also been associated with improved bone health in elderly women in observational studies. Moreover, the non-alcoholic fraction of beer is of potential interest as a counteracting agent for bone mass loss after menopause.
In the elderly, beer intake does not seem to pose a risk for hydration. When ingested before exercise, beer with lower alcohol content has a better rehydration effect, and the consumption of alcohol-free beer may even have a positive impact on electrolyte homeostasis. However, the effects of beer on hydration in women still need to be investigated.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, A.T.-R, R.E., and R.M.L.-R.; Acquisition and interpretation of data, M.T.-S., A.V.-F., G.S., and C.E.S.; writing—original draft preparation, M.T.-S. and A.V.-F.; writing—review and editing, A.T.-R, G.S., C.E.S, R.E., and R.M.L.-R. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.


This work was supported by the European Foundation for Alcohol Research (ERAB) (EA 1514, EA 1515, and EA 1517), the CICYT (AGL2016-79113-R), the Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII) (CIBEROBN) from the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad (MEIC) (AEI/FEDER, UE) and Generalitat de Catalunya (GC) (2017 SGR196). Marta Trius-Soler is thankful for the APIF 2018-2019 fellowship from the University of Barcelona.

Conflicts of Interest

Anna Tresserra-Rimbau and Rosa M. Lamuela-Raventós have received funding from The European Foundation for Alcohol Research (ERAB). Rosa M. Lamuela-Raventós has received lecture fees and travel support from Cerveceros de España. Ramon Estruch is a Board Membership of Cerveza y Salud, Madrid (Spain) and of Fundación Dieta Mediterránea, Barcelona (Spain), and has received lecture fees and travel support from Brewers of Europe, Brussels (Belgium) and Organización Interprofesional del Aceite de Oliva, Madrid (Spain).


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Table 1. Mean content of selected bioactive compounds in a standard drink of regular beer.
Table 1. Mean content of selected bioactive compounds in a standard drink of regular beer.
Bioactive CompoundAvarege Level (mg/330 mL)

4.653 × 10−3
8.547 × 10−3
3.432 × 10−3
Bitter acids
α+β acids

0.891 a
9.207 a

a mean value from three beer samples. Content of phytoestrogens from Rothwell et al. (2013) [26], bitter acids from Česlová et al. (2009) [27], silicon from Jugdaohsingh (2007) [28] and sodium and potassium derived from the Food composition data of 16 European countries via
Table 2. Women studies evaluating the relationship between beer consumption and abdominal fat increase.
Table 2. Women studies evaluating the relationship between beer consumption and abdominal fat increase.
Year [Ref]
Type of StudyStudy PopulationKey Finding
Lapidus et al.,
1989 [43]
Cross-sectional1462 women
38–60 years-old
No correlation was found between WHR and beer consumption.
Slattery et al.,
1992 [44]
Cross-sectional1447 black women
1284 white women
18–30 years-old
Higher beer consumption was associated with a higher WHR among white and black women.
Kahn et al.,
1997 [45]
Prospective observational44080 women
40–54 years-old
OR of abdominal weight gain was positively associated in women drinking >0 to <5 days per week and no associated in women drinking <5 days per week versus non-drinkers
Dallongeville et al.,
1998 [37]
Cross-sectional11730 women
35–64 years-old
Beer & cider consumption was associated with a higher WHR.
Rosmond & Bjorntorp
1999 [46]
Cross-sectional1137 women
40 years-old
Beer consumption was negatively correlated to WHR.
Machado & Sichieri
Cross-sectional1396 women
20–60 years-old
No trend association for OR for WHR >0.80 across beer consumption categories was found.
Vadstrup et al.,
2003 [48]
Prospective observational3970 women
20–83 years-old
Positive trend association was found for WC at follow-up across beer intake categories.
Bobak et al.,
2003 [49]
Cross-sectional 1098 women
25–64 years-old
Beer intake was not associated with an increase in WHR.
Dorn et al.,
2003 [35]
Cross-sectional1322 women
53.3 ± 9.4 years-old
No trend association was found between sagittal abdominal diameter and beer consumption.
Halkjaer et al.,
2004 [50]
Prospective observational1131 women
30–60 years-old
Women consuming >4 drinks of beer per week have higher WC, while no significance increase in WC was found in the group drinking 1–3 drinks of beer per week compared to non-drinkers.
Deschamps et al.,
2004 [52]
Cross-sectional284 women
42.4 ± 4.6 years-old
Women drinking >1 glass of beer per day have a higher WRC than abstainers and those who drink <1 glass of beer per day. No trend association was found for WC.
Lukasiewicz et al.,
2005 [53]
Cross-sectional1268 women
47.7 ± 6.6 years-old
No trend association was found between beer consumption and WHC.
Halkjaer et al.,
Prospective observational22570 women
55 (50–64) years-old
No trend association was found between ΔWC and beer consumption.
Krachler et al.,
2006 [54]
Cross-sectional3087 women
25–64 years-old
Increased beer consumption was not significantly associated to WC.
Tolstrup et al.,
2008 [55]
Prospective observational1610 women
50–65 years-old
Negative association was found for OR of WC across beer intake frequency categories among women who preferred beer.
Schütze et al. [36]
Cross-sectional 2749 women
35–65 years-old
Positive trend association for ΔWC and ΔWHR was found across beer consumption categories.
Schütze et al.,
2009 [36]
Prospective observational12749 women
35–65 years-old
No trend association for WC was found across beer consumption categories.
Bergmann et al.,
2011 [41]
Cross-sectional 158796 women
52.9 ± 9 years-old
Positive association was found for OR of WC and WHR for women drinking <6 versus ≤ 6 g per day of alcohol from beer.
Zugravu et al.,
2019 [33]
Cross-sectional784 women
>18 years-old
No linear trend association was found between beer consumption and WC or WHR.
WC: waist circumference; WHR: waist-hip ratio.
Table 3. Women studies evaluating the relationship between beer consumption and osteoporosis.
Table 3. Women studies evaluating the relationship between beer consumption and osteoporosis.
Year [Ref]
Type of StudyStudy PopulationKey Finding
Pedrera-Zamorano et al.,
2009 [86]
Cross-sectional1697 women (710 premenopausal; 176 perimenopausal and 811 postmenopausal)
48.8 ± 12.59 years-old
Light or moderate consumption of beer was associated to higher bone mass in women independently on their gonadal status.
Fairweather-Tait et al.,
2011 [76]
Cross-sectional2464 postmenopausal women twins
56.3 ± 11.9 years-old
Beer consumption was not associated with higher BMD.
Yin et al.,
2011 [82]
Cross-sectional428 women
62.6 ± 7.2 years-old
Low alcohol beer consumption frequency was positively associated with BMD at lumbar spine.
Yin et al.,
2011 [82]
Prospective observational428 women
62.6 ± 7.2 years-old
No association between beer consumption frequency and BMD at hip was found.
McLenon et al.,
2012 [81]
Prospective observational3173 women
50–62 years-old
Moderate beer consumption had a positive significant effect on lumbar spine BMD after adjustment for lifestyle.
Kubo et al.,
2013 [85]
Prospective observational115,655 postmenopausal women
50–79 years-old
No association was observed between ≥ 1 servings of beer per week and risk of hip fracture.
BMD: bone mineral density.

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Trius-Soler, M.; Vilas-Franquesa, A.; Tresserra-Rimbau, A.; Sasot, G.; Storniolo, C.E.; Estruch, R.; Lamuela-Raventós, R.M. Effects of the Non-Alcoholic Fraction of Beer on Abdominal Fat, Osteoporosis, and Body Hydration in Women. Molecules 2020, 25, 3910.

AMA Style

Trius-Soler M, Vilas-Franquesa A, Tresserra-Rimbau A, Sasot G, Storniolo CE, Estruch R, Lamuela-Raventós RM. Effects of the Non-Alcoholic Fraction of Beer on Abdominal Fat, Osteoporosis, and Body Hydration in Women. Molecules. 2020; 25(17):3910.

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Trius-Soler, Marta, Arnau Vilas-Franquesa, Anna Tresserra-Rimbau, Gemma Sasot, Carolina E. Storniolo, Ramon Estruch, and Rosa M. Lamuela-Raventós. 2020. "Effects of the Non-Alcoholic Fraction of Beer on Abdominal Fat, Osteoporosis, and Body Hydration in Women" Molecules 25, no. 17: 3910.

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