Earlier this week, we talked about the purported beauty benefits of Japanese rice wine. Today, we’ve got good news for health-conscious beer lovers.

One of the recent health trends in Japan is limiting your purine body intake. Just about anything you eat or drink contains purines, which break down into uric acid. While a certain level of uric acid is beneficial to the body, particularly in maintaining the health of blood vessels, having too much in the blood stream results in the condition called hyperuricemia, and can lead to a host of medical problems such as gout, easily one of the most unpleasant old-timey-sounding maladies to be stricken with.

It’s commonly thought that beer is a major purine source, and some staff members at our Japanese sister site have had friends tell them they’re cutting back in an effort to reduce their purine intake. However, one of their acquaintances, a self-proclaimed beer expert, made the bold assertion that compared to other dietary sources, beer actually contains hardly any purine bodies at all.

At first we were skeptical. After all, you don’t become a “beer expert” without spending a considerable amount of time drunk, so could we really trust his testimony? On the other hand, we’d hate to waste even a single valid reason to knock back a cold one, so we decided to check with the experts.

We logged onto the homepage of Japan’s Gout Research Foundation, something we’d never imagined ourselves doing, outside maybe needing an innocent looking website to switch to if someone walks by while we’re browsing naughty websites at the public library. The foundation’s homepage includes a chart with the purine body contents of various foods and beverages, and we took a look at the one for beers.

The purine amounts posted were for serving sizes of 100 milliliters (3.4 ounces) of beer. The very lowest, 3.3 milligrams of purines, was listed cryptically as  belonging to “Company A, SD,” which we’re speculating is code for “Asahi Super Dry.” Even the highest, the mysteriously designated “Company E,” had only 6.9 milligrams. With a standard-size can of beer in Japan holding 350 milliliters, that works out to a total of less than 25 milligrams.

Of course, not being nutritionists ourselves, these numbers alone didn’t mean much to us. Sure, 3.3 and 6.9 seem like small numbers at first glance, but take on a more alarming light if they’re being used to measure, say, the number of times you get kicked in the crotch.

For more on the exact method for kicking a guy in the crotch 6.9 times, contact our ex-girlfriends.

HB 2

In relative terms, could three to six milligrams in 100 milliliters of beer be an incredibly high purine body intake? To check, we clicked on the links for the Gout Research Foundation’s other purine content tables, which revealed that 100 grams of natto, the pungent fermented soybeans that are a Japanese breakfast staple, are loaded with 113 milligrams of purines. An identically-sized serving of beef contains 110.8 milligrams of purine bodies. Chicken liver is positively packed with 312.2 milligrams of the stuff, meaning that if your friend eats 100 grams of the avian organ, you can down over 12 liters of beer and still feel satisfied that you’ve consumed fewer purines.

▼ Assuming you can still feel anything at all at that point, of course

HB 3

Unfortunately, this still isn’t an excuse to start having three lunch beers a day. Once we expand our discussion beyond just purine body intake, we’re right back where we started, with an uphill battle proving that beer is really a medicinal elixir. Getting buzzed also tends to give you a case of the munchies, and with purine being present in just about all foods, the more you eat in general, the more purines you end up with. So go easy on both the chicken livers and the beer. Not only is being abstemious the healthiest option, you’ll be sober enough to look up what that means in the dictionary, too.

Source: Gout Research Foundation
Top image: RocketNews24
Insert images: Austin Self Defense, Sopris Liquor
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