In a bid to tell the positive story of beer and correct the many misconceptions, some of the most common myths about this 7,000 year-old drink were dismissed by renowned scholars who spoke at the first Nigerian Beer and Health Symposium held on Tuesday, November 4th, 2014 at the Eko Hotel and Suites.
The one-day symposium was organized by the nation’s biggest brewer, Nigerian Breweries Plc and had in attendance several dignitaries, as well as members of the press and brewing industry professionals.
Prof. Bankole Omotosho, a Professor at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, chaired the symposium. He observed that the reason why many are not knowledgeable about the health benefits of beer is because of religious sentiments people have about alcohol. He also stated that beer could be of great help to the body, as it can prevent diabetes, as well as reduce stomach ulcer and cholesterol level in the body.
Beer began in ancient times as a drink made from soaking bread in water and allowing it to ferment. It was also emphasized that beer contained a lower calorific value than other alcoholic beverages, which provides positive energy balance. The popular ‘beer belly’ claim was also debunked, as the speakers maintained that moderate consumption of beer will not lead to weight gain or cause a pot belly.
Experts who delivered lectures at the forum include; Dr. Kathryn O’Sullivan, a Public Health Nutritionist and Consultant Nutritionist at Dr. Kathryn O’Sullivan Nutrition Consultancy Limited); Prof. Tola Atinmo, a Professor of Human Nutrition in the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Oyo State; Dr. Olu Malomo, who is the Acting Head of Department of Food Technology and Associate Professor of Food Technology, Bells University, Ota, Ogun State.
Various sessions were held, as well as interactive segments such as the panel discussion that was moderated by Mo Abudu, CEO of Ebony Life TV. The panel also featured Ruth Osime, Editor of ThisDay Lifestyle, Dr. Abiola; Publisher, Indulge Health and Fitness Magazine, Dr. Olaokun Soyinka, Commissioner of Health Ogun State, Sina Sofela, Legal practitioner (SAN), Dr. Lanre Adeleye and Dr. Tobore Akpodibi, who are Medical Practitioners.
The Symposium focused mainly on telling the story of beer in relation to its health and nutritional properties. One of the most memorable instructions of the day, which was emphasized by every one of the speakers, was that moderation is key, while excessive consumption and abuse of beer should be avoided.