What Happens to Your Body When You Drink Beer? – Advantages and Disadvantages

While it is a popular British beverage, it is equally important to understand the benefits of beer to the body and nutrition. Beer includes alcohol, a depressant that affects the central nervous system, so depending on the amount ingested, alcohol can have both favourable and harmful effects on the body.

The pub culture in Britain is legendary, and beer is the most commonly served beverage in these venues. The pub is more than just a drinking establishment; it is also a social gathering place where people catch up with friends, watch sports, and eat delicious food.

The article aims to present a fair picture of the benefits of beer and its disadvantages It is not intended to advocate or discourage drinking but rather to impart knowledge on how beer affects the body and how to enjoy it responsibly.

Advantages of Drinking Beer

While beer is often associated with adverse health effects, moderate consumption offers a range of benefits. From providing essential nutrients and antioxidants to reducing the risk of certain diseases and promoting mental well-being, responsible beer consumption can contribute positively to one’s overall health. 

Here are some benefits of beer in moderation, emphasizing its possible health benefits and the significance of a balanced approach to beer consumption.

1. Source of Nutrients and Antioxidants 

  • Vitamin B

Beer contains several types of vitamin B, including B6, B9 (folate), and B12. These vitamins are vital in various biological functions, including producing red blood cells, maintaining a healthy nervous system, and supporting cell growth. 

  • Silicon

Beer is a dietary source of silicon, which contributes to bone health and may help prevent osteoporosis. 

  • Polyphenols

In hops and malt, these compounds have antioxidant properties that can help reduce inflammation, combat free radicals, and protect against chronic diseases.

2. Reduced Risk of Certain Diseases

  • Heart Disease

Moderate beer drinking has been associated with a lower risk of heart disease, partly attributed to polyphenols and other antioxidants. 

  • Type 2 Diabetes

According to some research, moderate beer consumption may reduce the chance of acquiring type 2 diabetes by enhancing insulin sensitivity. 

  • Kidney Stones

Beer’s high water content and diuretic effect may help prevent the formation of kidney stones by promoting urine production and flushing out waste products from the body. In addition to the potential benefits of beer to the body, it is essential to practice other healthy habits to maintain kidney function and overall well-being.

3. Improved Mental Health 

  • Social Aspect of Beer Drinking

Enjoying a beer with friends in a social setting can foster a sense of belonging and camaraderie, contributing to improved mental well-being. 

  • Reduced Stress and Anxiety

Moderate beer consumption may help alleviate stress and anxiety by promoting relaxation and reducing cortisol levels.

Disadvantages of Drinking Beer

Although moderate consumption can offer certain health benefits of beer, excessive drinking can harm one’s physical and mental well-being. From weight gain and liver damage to addiction and its associated consequences, it is essential to be aware of the potential risks of heavy beer consumption. 

This section will explore the disadvantages of drinking beer, emphasizing the importance of moderation and responsible consumption.

1. Weight Gain and Obesity

  • Calories in Beer

Beer is high in calories, which can lead to weight gain if consumed in excess. Over time, this can lead to obesity and related health issues like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. 

  • Impact on Metabolism

Alcohol consumption can interfere with the body’s ability to burn fat, further exacerbating the issue of weight gain and obesity.

2. Liver Damage

  • Alcoholic Liver Disease

Excessive beer consumption can lead to alcoholic liver disease, encompassing a range of liver-related conditions, including fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, and cirrhosis. 

  • Fatty Liver

Heavy alcohol intake can cause fat to accumulate in the liver, impairing its ability to function appropriately and potentially leading to inflammation and scarring.

3. Acid Reflux

  • Beer and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) 

Beer, especially when consumed in excess, can contribute to developing or worsening acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The alcohol and carbonation in beer can relax the lower oesophagal sphincter (LES), allowing stomach acid to flow back into the oesophagus, causing heartburn and discomfort. 

  • Inflammation and Damage to Esophagus 

Persistent acid reflux can lead to inflammation and damage to the oesophagus, increasing the risk of more severe complications, such as oesophagal ulcers or Barrett’s oesophagus.

4. Increased Risk of Addiction

  • Alcohol Dependence

Chronic high beer intake can lead to alcohol dependency, characterized by a strong need for alcohol, a loss of control over drinking, and withdrawal symptoms when not drinking. 

  • Social and Mental Health Consequences

Alcohol addiction can have severe social, emotional, and mental health consequences, including strained relationships, reduced job performance, and an increased risk of depression and anxiety.

Drinking in Moderation and Alternatives

How to Drink Alcohol in Moderation

As we have seen, beer consumption has advantages and disadvantages. To enjoy the benefits of beer to the body while minimizing the risks, practising moderation and considering healthier alternatives when appropriate is crucial. 

Here are some strategies for maintaining moderate beer consumption and exploring non-alcoholic options that can be enjoyed as part of a balanced and responsible lifestyle.

  1. Setting Limits and Tracking Intake

Establish personal limits for alcohol consumption and monitor your information to ensure you remain within those boundaries. It might involve developing a daily or weekly limit on the number of drinks consumed.

  1. Drinking Slowly and Hydrating

Sip your beer slowly and enjoy the flavours, allowing your body time to metabolize the alcohol. Drinking water between alcoholic beverages can help maintain hydration and reduce the overall amount of alcohol consumed.

  1. Avoiding Binge Drinking

Refrain from consuming large amounts of alcohol in a short period, as this can lead to dangerous levels of intoxication and exacerbate the adverse health effects of excessive drinking.

Alternatives for Everyday Drinking

  1. Non-alcoholic Beer

These beverages offer the flavour and experience of beer without the alcohol content, making them a suitable option for reducing their alcohol intake.

  1. Kombucha

This fermented tea beverage has gained popularity as a healthy alternative to alcoholic drinks, providing a refreshing taste and potential probiotic benefits.

  1. Infused Water and Mocktails

Opt for alcohol-free options like infused water with fruits, herbs, or spices or creative mocktails that mimic the flavours and presentation of their alcoholic counterparts without the alcohol content.

Balancing Health Benefits and Risks

Moderate consumption can offer health benefits of beer to the body, such as providing essential nutrients and antioxidants, reducing the risk of certain diseases, and promoting mental well-being. On the other hand, excessive beer drinking can result in weight gain, liver damage, addiction, and other harmful repercussions.

In light of the potential benefits of beer and risks associated with consumption, it is crucial to practice moderation and make informed choices about alcohol intake. By implementing strategies for moderate beer consumption and considering non-alcoholic alternatives, individuals can enjoy the social aspects of beer culture while minimizing potential health risks.

Ultimately, responsible and balanced consumption is critical to maintaining a healthy relationship with beer and reaping its potential rewards.