By Mike Pomranz
Updated April 29, 2016
Credit: © Dan Herrick / Getty Images

Everyone knows drinking beer can give you a beer gut. I get a reminder every time I step on a scale. But a recently published study reveals that not all ingredients in beer are contributing to that inevitable weight gain. In fact, one particular compound in beer may actually prevent weight gain. Screw putting a lemon wedge in our beers; can we get more xanthohumol please?

Researchers at Oregon State University recently published a study investigating how xanthohumol, a flavonoid found in hops, affected the health of lab mice. The rodents were put on a high-fat diet along with different levels of the hoppy compound. According to the Telegraph, though all the mice gained weight from their new unhealthy diet, the ones given xanthohumol gained 22 percent less.

Not only that, but mice given the hop compound saw other health benefits as well, including a reduction in “bad” LDL cholesterol and insulin levels. Lead author Cristobal Miranda concluded that xanthohumol “significantly improved some of the underlying markers of metabolic syndrome in laboratory animals and also reduced weight gain.” “This is the first time we've seen one compound with the potential to address so many health problems,” she emphasized. “These were very dramatic improvements.”

One major caveat, however: Some of the mice were given so much xanthohumol that for humans it would be the equivalent of drinking 3,500 pints of beer per day. I’m not saying you can’t give it a try; you’d just be the healthiest person to ever die of alcohol poisoning.

Still, Miranda says more research is necessary to see how xanthohumol might be beneficial to humans. If you drink a beer while you wait, that’s fine by me.