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The #1 Worst Drink for Your Liver, Says Dietitian

Keep this in mind next time you take a sip.

Unwinding with a glass of wine or a cold beer after work always seems luxurious, and few celebrations feel complete without a glass of champagne. While you can get away with a drink every now and then, dietitians agree that alcohol does the most liver damage out of any beverage.

"Alcohol is the worst drink for your liver as it makes it harder on the liver to break down and remove toxins from the body," says Minerva Valencia, RD.

"Alcohol is known to cause damage to this vital organ, but a wide variety of alcoholic drinks can also pose health risks," says Janet Coleman, RD at TheConsumerMag. "In fact, some people may be at risk of poisoning if they consume too much alcohol. The Food and Drug Administration recommends that men consume no more than 24 grams of alcohol per day, while women should limit themselves to 12 grams per day."

Certain types of alcoholic drinks end up contributing the most towards liver damage.

"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."

Another alcoholic beverage also takes a considerable toll on your liver.

"Unlike other alcoholic drinks, hard cider has a high concentration of ethanol which can lead to stomach problems when consumed in large quantities," says Coleman.

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Luckily, anyone who enjoys the buzz contained in each of these drinks can find some healthier alternatives at their local grocery store.

"The best replacement would be a kombucha, which contributes good bacteria to the gut microbiome and does not contribute toxins for your liver to remove," says Valencia.

"Guayusa, an alternative drink to alcohol, has been around for many years in Ecuador and other South American countries," adds Coleman. "It is a natural stimulant that is said to relieve stress and boost energy levels without affecting the mind the same way caffeine does."

While research on the benefits of guayusa has yet to be done, Coleman notes that this drink is "considered by some as nature's energy drink; a healthier alternative to coffee and tea. It is used in traditional medicine to treat headaches and menstrual pain, among other things."

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Erich Barganier
Erich Barganier is a health and food writer. Read more