Beer: It does the body good, at least according to Heineken's chief commercial officer, who went on CNBC and offered his expert advice on the health benefits of the alcoholic beverage.
On Friday, Heineken exec Alexis Nasard made his health-conscious pitch to CNBC's morning show panelists, proclaiming "There is everything which is healthy about beer."
Skeptical co-host Steve Sedgwick pressed Nasard for details.
“Beer is much less calories than many things you can think about," Nasard said. "Beer already has less calories than a glass of milk, that's probably one thing you didn't know,” he said, although he jokingly stopped short of recommending the drink to small children.
“The other thing is also is that beer is one of the few drinks which, actually, is purely natural; it's water, hops, barley and yeast, which is quite healthy," he added.
According to Women's Health Magazine's comprehensive chart, a bottle of Heineken contains 150 calories. For comparison, a cup of whole milk contains about 150 calories, and a cup of fat-free milk contains about 90 calories, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Heineken is the world’s third largest brewer, CNBC notes.
The health benefits of alcoholic beverages have long been touted by the industry, as evidenced by Guinness's classic "A Guinness a day is good for you" advertising campaign. Many studies have been commissioned to research the claim, and the verdict is generally mixed.
As Time Magazine reports, many studies suggest that moderate alcohol consumption (one drink a day for women, and two for men) may be good for the body. Some also suggest drinkers of all types tend to live longer than nondrinkers.
In addition, beer is rich in dietary silicon, which increases bone density and may help fight osteoporosis, according to researchers from the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of California. Dark beers like Guinness are also a source of iron, although lighter ales like Heineken are not, according to researchers from the University of Valladolid in Spain.
A massive meta-analysis of epidemiological data on alcohol and health, conducted in Italy, concluded that moderate beer drinking decreases the risk of heart disease by 31 percent -- the same as drinking wine in moderation.
Beer fans shouldn't start breaking out the celebration kegs yet; their favorite beverage is far from being considered totally healthy.
Many beers are high in calories (check out this slideshow for a comparison). In addition, heavy drinking has been linked with a higher risk of heart problems, and drinking in any amount may increase the risk of breast cancer in women.