FOR years, landlords have been blamed for the effect their amber nectar has on the physiques of the nation's men.
But drinkers have been raising their glasses after a new report by one of the country's leading nutritionists found there is no conclusive evidence to support the idea of the 'beer belly'.
According to Dr Kathryn O'Sullivan, there is no scientific proof that beer causes weight gain.
Regulars at the Brown Jug in Bath Road on Saturday raised their eyebrows at the news
Roger Tapp, 56, was drinking a pint of beer while watching Gloucester Rugby play Northampton.
He said: "It means I can't explain my belly – it must be the curry, if not the beer.
"I don't think beer has a bad reputation. It is not a class thing exactly, it's more of an 'us versus them', wine drinkers versus beer drinkers."
Terry Lewis, 67, was drinking a pint of John Smiths.
He added: "You get to a certain age and you don't worry about it anymore. I can't really believe this though.
"I suppose it all depends on what you drink and drinking in moderation."
According to the new report, beer is the drinks category for calories, with a half pint of four per cent lager containing about 96 calories.
A standard 175ml glass of red wine has about 139 calories.
The report also addresses the age-old misconception about fat.
Ten per cent of people still believe that beer contains fat when it actually has none.
The report also suggests moderate consumption of beer can be associated with health benefits.
Dr O'Sullivan said: "Enjoyed in moderation, beer, like wine, can provide many essential vitamins and minerals and moderate consumption may also protect against many conditions such as heart disease, osteoporosis and diabetes."