‘Beer is Good for You’: Scientist, comedian to bring seminar to Enlightened Studios in FWB
FORT WALTON BEACH — Beer is good for you.
At least that is how Anna Lepeley sees it, and she has the facts to back it up.
Lepeley, a stand-up comedian with a doctorate in exercise biochemistry and nutrition research, wrote the book “Beer is Good for You.” She travels from Jacksonville all over the country to give research-backed seminars on the subject.
It’s a big departure from her previous experience giving academic talks.
“I realized it was just boring people,” Lepeley said. “Nobody cared. People don't really care about health; they want to know what they can get away with.”
Lepeley will present the seminar “Beer is Good for You” and do a book signing at 4 p.m. Saturday at Enlightened Studios at 142 Miracle Strip Parkway S.E. in Fort Walton Beach. Doors open at 3 p.m.
The event has a $10 cover. To purchase tickets in advance, visit Eventbrite.com.
For more information, visit Facebook.com/EnlightenedStudios.
It wasn’t always about beer.
During her doctorate studies, Lepeley became a subject matter expert in hydration, giving seminars to bomb technicians and publishing papers on hydration in scientific journals, she said. Her dissertation was the first study to analyze the pre-exercise effects of whey protein versus carbohydrate versus fasting, she added.
“I would teach people how to hydrate, when to hydrate and why — all this information about how to hydrate safely and why it was so important,” Lepeley said. “I would teach these guys about the reality of what beverages do — soda, juice, coffee."
Then she added alcohol to the mix.
“I would have a little fun and I would discuss some of the health benefits of beer, and I had everybody's attention,” Lepeley said. “I realized nobody really cared about hydration; people cared more about beer.”
Lepeley first took a different seminar into academia, speaking about the negative health effects of alcohol on athletes. College athletes are crazy drinkers, she said.
She later chose to highlight the positives of beer in a different seminar because of her sports and exercise science background.
“I got fed up with all these fitness people that didn't even have the credentials telling people to be so strict (and), ‘You can't drink,’ and all these things,” Lepeley said. “I come from a scientific background where I do have the credentials to basically tell people like, ‘Look, if you're healthy you can enjoy things in life. You don't have to torture yourself.’ ”
Lepeley went on tour with her pro-beer seminar in 2017 and 2018 at breweries, conferences and other venues before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think people like it because it's something that is out of the norm,” she said. “I'm not even a big drinker myself because I have to drive everywhere.”
There is much scientific research on the benefits of alcohol, Lepeley said. Much of it comes from Spain, the Czech Republic and Germany.
“Everything in the U.S. is like, ‘You have to be so extreme. No drinking at all, or you have to drink so much,” Lepeley said. “How come nobody's discussing the moderate? Sometimes you’ll see some headlines that beer is good for your heart (or) wine is good for your heart, but I wanted to dissect that further and let people know.”
Lepeley's 45-minute seminar highlights three health benefits of beer people often don’t know about: Beer is good for your bones, has fiber and is good for your love life. The latter discusses beer’s influence on hormones and how it affects men and women differently.
“These are health benefits that the American Dietetic Association is not talking about, but there's a ton of peer-reviewed literature conducted on human subjects,” Lepeley said. “I only support my information with studies conducted on human subjects. I never cite animal studies, which makes my work a lot harder. If I cited animal studies, I would have a lot more information to convey.”
Lepeley is realistic about it, too.
“Every time I bring up a health benefit, I tell people, ‘Look, this is great, but if you drink too much, you will negate any health benefits that alcohol has to offer,’ ” she said. “I'm not telling people to go get drunk and get drunk every day.”
Her book was published in 2016.
“I would call it a novelty science book that takes really technical information on the health benefits of beer and puts it in layman's terms,” Lepeley said. “There is some technical information in there, but I make it easy to read, so that if you're drinking, you can read it and enjoy it.”
Like the book, the seminar is also fun to drink to, she said. She thinks her seminar will appeal to people because of her comedy background.
“I used to speak at scientific conferences and I would see people falling asleep,” Lepeley said. “So my whole style of presenting is making relatable humor to people. People don't like to be educated the whole time. You gotta make the information fun and enjoyable, and that's the only way that they're actually going to listen and remember it.”
On Friday night before her seminar, Lepeley will host and produce her touring novelty show, “Comedians in Drag Doing Comedy” at Enlightened Studios for a $10 cover. In it, she recruits local male and female comedians who have never dressed in drag before and dresses them as the opposite sex before their show.
“I always wanted to create some sort of a pageant where comics can identify with the opposite sex,” Lepeley said. “It’s a challenging show, and they get into character. It's a wild show.”
Tickets are available on Eventbrite.com.