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FOOD PHARMACY

A Daily Beer Promotes Longevity, Study Shows

June 21, 1990|JEAN CARPER | Carper is a medical and nutrition writer and the author of 15 books, including "The Food Pharmacy."

(2)Drinking a little beer may help some people live longer. So suggests a new study by Dr. Leslie Klevay, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In laboratory tests, Klevay gave some animals water to drink and others beer. The beer-drinking animals lived an astonishing six times longer. They also had lower blood cholesterol and less heart enlargement.

There is a catch, though. The test animals suffered from a copper deficiency that promotes heart disease and cuts life short. But the overwhelming majority of Americans also eat a diet dangerously deficient in copper. It's estimated that a mere 20% of us get the recommended dietary doses of copper.

Klevay says the beer, in some mysterious way, counteracts the expected damage from the copper deficiency, prolonging the animals' lives. The mysterious ingredient is unknown, but Klevay does not think it is alcohol.

If you ask most health experts, they say they prefer olive oil to other vegetable oils.

But recently a Stanford University School of Medicine study declared olive oil no better than corn oil in regulating good-type HDL cholesterol.

Does that mean you should stop eating olive oil and switch to corn, soybean and safflower oils? No. Numerous studies suggest that corn oil depresses immunity and dramatically increases the rate of cancer in laboratory animals.

It's still best to cut back on all oils, but if you use oil, the safest still seem olive oil and canola oil.

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