Surprising Side Effects of Drinking a Beer Every Night
It's no secret that we're still not living in the most normal of times, and according to research by CNN Business, people consumed way more alcoholic beverages during the coronavirus pandemic than any other time. If drinking beer every night was your thing, it may have started to really become your thing to help you cope with stress and anxiety over the past two years. And hey, everyone deals differently.
However, it's important to know how a nightly beer (or two) can be impacting your body and overall health. Consider what these registered dietitians list as the potential side effects of drinking beer every night. And next, don't miss these Eating Habits to Lose Abdominal Fat As You Age, Say Dietitians.
How much beer is considered moderate consumption?
The 2020-2025 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that if alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in "moderation," according to Elizabeth Huggins, RDN at Hilton Head Health.
"When it comes to drinking, people often have different ideas of moderation, so if you are talking about a 12-ounce beer, that's one or less a day for women and two or less a day for men," says Huggins.
What does having a beer every night do to your body?
"First, calories in beer can range from as low as 60 to as high as 240 calories per 12 ounces," says Huggins. This, of course, can be an innocent habit at first. "But it can lead to weight gain, especially if your beer enjoys the company of snacks."
In addition to being a highly caloric indulgence, another side effect of drinking beer every night is lethargy. "It may relax you so well that you don't get off the couch to take that walk that you said you would take," says Huggins. There's no doubt that "resolve dissolves in alcohol!"
What's more, regular beer drinking also "causes bloat and can irritate your digestive tract," says nutritionist Katie Boyd, MS.
"Drinking beer can make your stomach produce more acid than usual, which can turn into inflammation of the gut lining. This can have long-term side effects like gastritis," Boyd says. "They don't call it a 'beer belly' for nothing."
It could impact your sleep.
Alcohol is also known to negatively impact your natural sleep cycle.
"The more you drink and the closer to bedtime, the more likely you will experience diminished sleep quality," says Huggins. How so? "Alcohol in beer causes gastric acid to be secreted and could increase your chances of suffering from heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux, which in addition to being unpleasant, can also negatively impact sleep," she says.
While having a few beers may lead you to think you are sleeping well, it's poor sleep quality, which is less restorative. "We can all agree that poor sleep interferes with mental functioning and our energy level the next day," says Huggins.
Boyd agrees. "Drinking too much beer can cause sleep disruption because it causes your insulin to spike in the middle of the night if drank later in the day, thus causing you to wake up. In the morning, you end up feeling groggy and not optimal for the rest of the day," she explains.
There's one benefit of having a brewski, though…
The only silver lining of having a beer every night?
"Beer is touted as more nutritious than most other alcoholic beverages due to the hops and barley that is used in the creation and fermentation process," says Boyd. Beer is also relatively high in "vitamin B, antioxidants, and silicon that may strengthen and build stronger bones," she says.
Plus, you may be helping to support a local craft brewer if you're buying cases of their stuff.
But, that certainly doesn't offset all of the negatives of having a beer every night. And if you're going to have one, you should chase it with some water (or, better yet, replace that can or bottle altogether with H2O).
"One of the simplest things you can do to improve your body's vitality, aside from keeping the body running smoothly, is getting your recommended intake of water," says fitness trainer Corey Calliet. "It aids in the body's recovery, detoxification, and elimination processes."
Drinking water (not beer) consistently throughout the day can also curb cravings and keep you from eating excess calories.
So, there you have it. While drinking beer every day may relax you during tough times, there are some significant downsides, including weight gain, poor sleep, bad gastrointestinal inflammation, and other issues.
For more beer news, check out the 10 Worst Beers to Always Leave on Grocery Store Shelves.
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