It's the best excuse ever to drink more beer: Suds can help you to lose weight.

It's not exactly a beer-based diet, but a new study finds that people who enjoy a couple of brews a day (or night) as part of a healthy lifestyle aren't more likely to gain weight.

And they might even lose a few pounds.

Spanish researchers examined 1,249 men and women over the age of 57, and found that regular beer drinkers had less body fat, were less likely to be obese and were less likely to suffer from diabetes and high blood pressure.

They found that men enjoyed the benefits with up to three drinks a day... while women should call it a night after two.

The researchers said the key isn't in the beer alone--but in the combination of frosty brews and the natural Mediterranean diet enjoyed in the region. Beer drinkers who stuck to it were not only thinner and less likely to gain weight during the study, but were also more likely to lose a few pounds.

And that's not hard to believe--because the old stereotype about the beer belly usually has more do with the food and snacks served with the beer, and not the brews themselves.

It's that's not a good enough reason to pour a pint tonight, consider the rest of the research on this, which has consistently found that drinkers--whether it's liquor, beer or wine--tend to be healthier and in much better shape than nondrinkers.

Last year, researchers who examined data on nearly 20,000 women found that moderate drinkers were 30 percent less likely to be overweight or obese during their 13-year study.

Those who didn't drink at all, on the other hand, had the highest overall weight gain--a result that held even after researchers adjusted for diet, lifestyle, fitness and other habits. (Read more here.)

Boozy drinks including beer have also shown to protect the heart and mind--and a moderate habit may even help you live longer, which is just about the best benefit I can imagine.

It even sounds like a start of a toast: "To hearts, minds and longer lives."