Beer is not good for your health: these are its four big lies (2023)

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Beer is, along with wine, one of the most consumed alcoholic beverages in the world. A whole series of myths have been brewing around it about its alleged health benefits that have little or nothing to do with reality. Thus, from time to time we come across headlines that ensure that "moderate consumption" can helpprotect the cardiovascular system, what isgood for diabetesor even haveanalgesic propertiescomparable to those of paracetamol.What is true in all this?Well, actually, little or -rather- nothing.

"All of this isa finely orchestrated campaign, not just in Spain, but all over the world, because of the beer lobbies and the alcohol industry", explains the dietician and nutritionistJuan Revenga. "It is very sad. We usually charge the inks against the media that publish this information, but we must also charge them against the researchers whoasalariantheir professionalism in pursuit of an interesting result", adds the also professor at San Jorge University.

Why then do they sell so much the hypothetical benefits of low-grade alcoholic beverages in the media? Revenga responds emphatically: "Good vibes and sensationalism sell more than realism and scientific rigor. If I now publish a topic with a headline that says that cancer is cured with asparagus, it will have many more visits than one that refutes it". In our country, there are at least four great myths that have taken root in the collective imagination around of beer and whose scientific evidence is, to say the least, questionable.

The myth of beer as a hydrating drink

For many running or cycling fans, there is no greater pleasure than sharing a few beers with friends after a strenuous day of training. This act is usually preceded by a"come on, barley juice is good for hydration, it's proven". Nothing is further from reality.

Beer is a drink that has a high percentage of water and also contains sodium and potassium, components that we can also find in isotonic drinks that many athletes use after exercise. Following this logic, why shouldn't we resort to it? The main drawback,as we already explained, comes from the amount of alcohol it has (between 4% and 5% on average). Thediuretic effects it has on our bodyThey cause a good part of the beer we ingest to be eliminated through the urine and thus contribute to further dehydration.

This was demonstrated in 2014A studyof the Human Movement Sciences Research Center of the University of Costa Rica, which determined thatbeer lacks moisturizing potential. The Spanish Society of Sports Medicinealso alerted about itin 2016, after the virtues of an "isotonic beer" as a drink created to care for the athlete were promoted in the media.

"Moderate beer consumption can protect the cardiovascular system"

This is another of the most widespread myths among ordinary mortals. some researchersthey have come to affirmthat moderate beer intake may promote "global cardiac function".Are there any rigorous scientific studies that prove this?"No. Absolutely none. All the studies that highlight this are endorsed by a lobby or by scientific wills linked to beer," says Revenga.

"Assuming that this is the case, the global risks that its consumption has for health are not assumed. Jumping from the roof of a skyscraper can help you dry your hair, but perhaps the end result is not the most desired", exemplifies the expert. Furthermore, the problem is that there is no standard unit that universally defineshow much beer we can consider as "moderate consumption"or "responsible." A cane a day? Two pints a week? A mug of beer a month? "The real problem is that there are about 35 different standards in the world," says Revenga.

Thus, for example, while in Germany a person consuming up to 37 grams of alcohol per day is considered "low risk", in our country this limit goes up to 40. However, in Poland, to give another example, a person would have Consumed alcohol in a "moderate" way if you do not ingest more than 20 grams a day. What the Ministry of Health of our country indicates in this regard is that "this concept does not exist either in the WHO or in any glossary or lexicon recognized by health institutions" and that "the industry usually uses it to refer to moderate consumption and without consequences" .

"Beer doesn't make you fat, man, it's all water"

Despite the omnipresence of jokes in which someone is accused of "having thrown a beer belly (or belly)", there have been many attempts that have been made to try to prove that beer does not make you fat.In this articleFor example, published in August 2017, one can read: "Beer is one of the least caloric drinks, with an average of 45 Kcal/100ml, a figure that drops to 17 kcal/100ml in the case of the variety without alcohol Drink two or three beers a day if you are a man, one or two if you are a woman,Not only does it not make you fat, but it can also have health benefits".

He is not the only one, by no means. Last March, another newspaper covered a story stating thatbeer "does not make you fat and could be part of a healthy diet". "It is evidence that beer contains calories. If you don't drink beer, the probability of gaining weight obviously decreases.This is the same as saying that bullets don't kill., that what kills is his speed", Revenga ditch emphatically.

"Beer helps to relieve pain more effectively than paracetamol"

The alleged analgesic power of beer has been the last big fallacious headline that last May slipped into a handful of media outlets -not in all- and went viral on social media. Supposedly, researchers from the University of Greenwich had published an article claiming that "drinking two pints of beer" wasa better remedy to relieve pain than paracetamol. "With this proportion, the ailment is reduced by a quarter, since alcohol increases the dose in the blood by 0.08% and increases the pain threshold, according to the Greenwich researchers,"you could readin one of the media that published the topic.

Actually, as Revenga himself explainedin a post inNaukas, the scientific articleAnalgesic Effectts of Alcohol: A systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled experimental studies in healthy participants, published inThe Journal Of Pain, focused on the dangers to which people who use alcohol are exposed to soothe the pain caused by different ailments. However,an interview published byThe Independentwith one of the authors in which a tortious interpretation of his statements was made, gave birth to a sensationalist headline that some Spanish media outlets replied without any blush. And no, as the nutritionist points out,"You should never use beer instead of paracetamol to relieve pain".

Follow the topics that interest you


What organ does beer affect the most? ›

Heavy drinking takes a toll on the liver, and can lead to a variety of problems and liver inflammations including: Steatosis, or fatty liver. Alcoholic hepatitis.

What alcohol is healthiest? ›

Red wine. When it comes to a healthier alcohol, red wine is top of the list. Red wine contains antioxidants, which can protect your cells from damage, and polyphenols, which can promote heart health. White wine and rose contain those too, just in smaller quantities.

What is unhealthy about beer? ›

Drinking higher amounts of alcoholic beer can cause, blackouts, drowsiness, low blood sugar, vomiting, and other serious problems. Drinking large amounts of alcoholic beer long-term can cause many serious health problems including dependence, liver problems, and certain types of cancer.

Will 6 beers a day cause liver damage? ›

Having 2 to 3 alcoholic drinks every day or binge drinking can harm your liver. Binge drinking is when you drink more than 4 or 5 drinks in a row. If you already have a liver disease, you should stop drinking alcohol. There is no safe amount of alcohol for people with any type of alcoholic liver disease.

Does beer damage your liver? ›

Each time your liver filters alcohol, some of the liver cells die. The liver can develop new cells, but prolonged alcohol misuse (drinking too much) over many years can reduce its ability to regenerate. This can result in serious and permanent damage to your liver.

Which organ is damaged by drinking alcohol? ›

Organs known to be damaged by long-term alcohol misuse include the brain and nervous system, heart, liver and pancreas.

What is the most unhealthy alcohol? ›

"Hard liquor contains more alcohol than beer or wine, making it more dangerous for your liver," continues Coleman. "A single shot of 80-proof hard liquor contains about 15 grams of alcohol and most shots contain even more alcohol than this."

What is the healthiest alcohol for your liver? ›

In summary: There is no type of alcohol that is easier on your liver. The concentration of alcohol and volume consumed is the key differentiating factor. If you drink enough of any type of alcohol (even weak ones), it will be damaging to the liver.

What is the healthiest beer for your liver? ›

The study suggests that hops actually “protects against accumulation of liver fat” — so basically, pale ales are the healthiest beer to consume if you're concerned about your health but don't want to give up the delicious beverage.

What happens if you drink beer everyday? ›

Risks of Drinking Beer Everyday

Heart disease and strokes. Liver damage and disease. Cancer. Weakened immune system.

What does drinking beer everyday do to your body? ›

Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other serious problems including: High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems. Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, voice box, liver, colon, and rectum.

How many beers a day is too many? ›

Heavy Alcohol Use:

NIAAA defines heavy drinking as follows: For men, consuming more than 4 drinks on any day or more than 14 drinks per week. For women, consuming more than 3 drinks on any day or more than 7 drinks per week.

How to detox your liver? ›

Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Eat a well-balanced diet every day. That's five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables, along with fiber from vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Be sure to include protein for the enzymes that help your body detox naturally.

Does beer damage your kidneys? ›

Excessive alcohol consumption can have profound negative effects on the kidneys and their function in maintaining the body's fluid, electrolyte, and acid-base balance, leaving alcoholic people vulnerable to a host of kidney-related health problems.

How many beers does it take to damage your liver? ›

It is estimated that alcohol-related fatty liver disease develops in 90% of people who drink more than 40g of alcohol (or four units) per day. That's roughly the equivalent of two medium (175ml) glasses of 12% ABV wine, or less than two pints of regular strength (4% ABV) beer.

What organ is beer good for? ›

Furthermore, beer is high in vitamins that help maintain hemoglobin and treat anemia. It also protects the heart and helps to prevent various cardiovascular diseases.

Is beer hard on the gut? ›

You have a buildup of hard fat

As it accumulates in your abdomen, it pushes your abdominal wall outwards, which gives the appearance of having a gut. And while the fat itself isn't actually hard per se, the tissues that make up your abdomen are, which is why your beer belly feels rigid to the touch.

What are the first signs of kidney damage from alcohol? ›

What does alcohol do to your kidneys?
  • fatigue.
  • swelling of the legs, ankles, and feet due to fluid retention.
  • loss of appetite.
  • change in urine.
  • kidney pain.
Apr 26, 2022


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