You may have seen two articles floating around recently. “The Shocking Ingredients in Beer” and “8 Beers You Should Stop Drinking Immediately” have been popping up in my news feed and inbox semi-regularly for the past couple months. The latter is based on the former, an article written by “the Food Babe.” Both are alarmist pieces that claim that what you are consuming could be hurting you without you realizing it. And, like most of these types of pieces, they are almost completely baseless.
I’ve been pretty into diet and exercise for a long time. Diet fads and scares come and go, but they always leave a remnant of misinformation that we have to battle for years to come. Carbohydrates and fat are not bad for you. Gluten won’t hurt over 99% of people. MSG is fine if you aren’t allergic. Water bottles don’t leach plastic. I have to explain these things to people all the time, even when the original poorly-conducted studies that put this stuff out there have long been debunked.
The Food Babe particularly irks me because she represents everything that is wrong with the new attitude in America towards food. Eating healthy, buying local, and avoiding processed food is a great thing, but there are plenty of good reasons for doing these things without needing to spread misinformation and scare people. Furthermore, diet isn’t an all-or-nothing game. You eat well when you can, and if sometimes you don’t, you’ll probably still be fine.
Ranting aside, as brewers, we use and depend on science to create a product. I am not ideologically opposed to any process; if a method produces measurable results and will not cause any harm, I am open to it. Telling people to avoid certain beers because they are made with sugar or isinglass is ignorant and misleading, but like most of what she writes about, TFB doesn’t really understand any of it.
I could go on, but some better minds have already done it for me. Let’s see what some of the top brewers in the country had to say about these recent articles: http://blog.timesunion.com/beer/debunking-8-beers-that-you-should-stop-drinking-immediately/2425/
I’ve spoken my mind, but I’ll just close with this. Beware of misinformation, don’t worry too much, and have a beer!