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Drink beer not fizzy pop for pity's sake, say boffins

Just two+ cans of soft drink a week = DEATH

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Splendid news on the health front this week, as it has emerged that drinking beer is good for you - and that soft drinks will kill you.

First up the beer research, carried out by researchers in California. It seems that the nutritious, health-giving stuff is actually a key source of silicon in the diet, which (it turns out) is vital for healthy bones.

"The factors in brewing that influence silicon levels in beer have not been extensively studied," said Charles Bamforth, lead author of the study. "We have examined a wide range of beer styles for their silicon content and have also studied the impact of raw materials and the brewing process on the quantities of silicon that enter wort and beer."

According to the beery boffins:

Beer appears to be a major contributor to Si intake... moderate beer consumption may help fight osteoporosis, a disease of the skeletal system characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue.

Bamforth and his colleagues, having tested a wide variety of different tipples, recommended "highly hopped" varieties as being best for the bones.

"Beers containing high levels of malted barley and hops are richest in silicon," the doc said.

Meanwhile, other topflight boffins have discovered that the swilling of pop is a fantastically unhealthy thing to do. Research reveals that drinking just two cans of soft drink a week will double your risk of pancreatic cancer.

"The high levels of sugar in soft drinks may be increasing the level of insulin in the body, which we think contributes to pancreatic cancer cell growth," says Dr Mark Pereira of Minnesota Uni.

So there you have it: throw that nasty tin of pop in the bin and quaff a tankard of ale instead, and not only will your pancreas remain your friend but your bones will remain robust and not snap like dry twigs as you age.

The beer research is to be published here (subscription required) and the pop study is here (ditto). ®

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