When it comes to alcohol, beer is viewed as the “Ok” choice by most people. In fact, beer makes up over 55% of all alcohol Americans consume. But is beer truly Ok?
There are some studies pointing out that beer can be beneficial while others single out all the dangers of this popular type of alcohol. All in all, the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans maintain that two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women is the advisable maximum.
But what are the actual effects of drinking beer every day? Let’s break them down.
1. Weight gain
There’s a reason why men’s beer bellies are called that and not “wine bellies.” Beer is one of the more calorie-rich alcohols out there, with a 12-ounce beer containing ~150 calories according to the USDA.
Plus, calories from alcohol are not the same as calories from food. When you drink beer you bump up your calorie intake without getting any significant nutrients. Sticking to one beer a day (~150 calories), won’t affect your weight so much, but if you drinking multiple beers a day every day, you’ll soon see the scale’s needle go up.
And then, there’s the mental effect of alcohol. One study published in 2015 points out that alcohol tends to decrease our satisfaction with a meal and pushes us to eat more.
2. Liver damage
Beer is not the hardest alcohol on the liver because of how light it is. Unfortunately, most beer drinkers consume high enough quantities to make up for that. As a result, drinking several beer cans a day for a couple of decades has been shown to greatly increase the risk of alcoholic liver diseases such as cirrhosis.
3. Kidneys damage
Additionally, beer tends to lead to dehydration over time and deprive our bodies of sodium and potassium (electrolytes). This can lead to myriad health issues in the long run, the mildest of which are stuff like muscle cramps, fatigue, weakness, etc.
4. Heart damage
Many of the things we consume can strain our hearts. Beer and alcohol are not the worst offenders in that regard but with cardiovascular problems being the deadliest killer in our society it’s worth pointing out that beer contributes to this statistic too.
5. Cognitive decline
Our brain health is affected by multiple different factors. Drinking hard alcohol, for example, has been shown to be much more dangerous for our brain health than “soft” alcohol like beer and wine.
At the same time, however, that same research also linked beer with Alzheimer’s and dementia when the beer was consumed consistently over a long period of time.
Be a responsible beer drinker.
The are many articles lauding the “magical” health benefits of beer. And while it’s true that beer is one of the least harmful types of alcohol in most aspects, it’s still not really “healthy.”
Yes, combined with the right diet and exercise, a can or two of beer once in a blue moon to let loose can be beneficial. But on its own, especially in large enough quantities, beer can have some disastrous effects on our bodies.