Drinking a litre of beer a day - about two pints - isn't just bad for you: it's actually toxic, a study by the University of Valencia has found.
Researchers looked at levels of Deoxynivalenol (DON) and HT-2, two toxic metabolites produced by microscopic fungi often present in beer, and found over half of 154 samples of brands sold in Europe contained at least one of the two toxins. In other words: every time you drink beer, you could be exposing yourself to dangerous levels of toxins.
"Considering only consumption amounting to one litre a day of the brands of beer that showed the highest contamination levels, intake of DON would be equivalent to 60 per cent of the maximum recommendation, and the safety levels for HT-2 would be exceeded," explained professor Houda Berrada, co-author of the study. The full results are published in the journal Food Chemistry.
The researchers did point out, however, that by far the majority of drinkers who take in just small amounts are not at risk – it is those who drink beer regularly and excessively who could face long-term damage. The average concentrations of the toxins detected in beers was much lower than the limits according to EU legislation.
Berrada also pointed out toxin contamination is far from being the only health risk associated with heavy beer drinking – even by sticking below the danger level you can end up with other problems.
Before having problems linked to the toxicity of mycotoxins, he/she would have others, such as liver problems.