Beer is the quintessential man-beverage. It’s tasty and helps us unwind. What could be better than having a beer or two while we hang out with our friends?
We know it’s not necessarily good for us. But how bad could it be?
Know this: the “beer-belly” is a real thing and is associated with poor health outcomes.
Higher intake of beer has been associated with increased weight gain and metabolic problems. (1)
Beer is an alcoholic drink made from fermenting the sugars from grains like barley, wheat, or rye. The yeast used to make beer eats (ferments) the sugars and produce alcohol as a by-product. (2) Although much of the sugar eaten by yeast is converted to alcohol and carbon dioxide in beer, there’s still lots of sugar left over after the fermentation process. It’s flavored using hops, which make a great flavoring for beer since they’re quite bitter, balancing out the sweetness from the sugar in the grains.
Since much of the sugars are still left over in beer and it also has a significant amount of alcohol, beer is loaded with calories, sugar and simple carbs (in the form of maltose, etc.). Also, since it tastes good to us and dulls our better judgment, it is really easy to drink too much. How many times have you enjoyed a pint of hoppy goodness and decided that it was so good that you wanted another? And then all better judgment is out the door and you figured “what harm could a third one do?”. It’s a slippery slope. Before you know it, you’re drunk and loaded up with more carbs than a loaf of bread. And no safe way home.
Further, alcohol interferes with getting quality sleep. Getting adequate and quality sleep is essential for weight loss. Sleep has a direct effect on testosterone levels and a number of other factors that affect your health. (3)
Hops are loaded with phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that can mimic the action of the female sex hormone estrogen in your body. (4) Because of their phytoestrogen content, it has been suggested that the hops in beer might cause hormonal changes in men that increase the risk of storing belly fat.
I challenge you to see what life is like without beer or any alcohol. Start with a few days or a week, then try to go for a month without a drink. It’s interesting when you’re on the outside to see the role that alcohol plays in our society. Also, you may find that you just feel better and more
on top of things if you don’t drink. Your sleep will improve and sex will be better. You’ll have more energy.
If you must have a drink, have a glass of wine or a few spirits like whiskey or bourbon. Just don’t overdo it.
- Bendsen NT, Christensen R, Bartels EM, Kok FJ, Sierksma A, Raben A, et al. Is beer consumption related to measures of abdominal and general obesity? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutr Rev. 2013 Feb;71(2):67–87.
- Bokulich NA, Bamforth CW. The microbiology of malting and brewing. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev MMBR. 2013 Jun;77(2):157–72.
- Kohn TP, Kohn JR, Haney NM, Pastuszak AW, Lipshultz LI. The effect of sleep on men’s health. Transl Androl Urol. 2020 Mar;9(Suppl 2):S178–85.
- Milligan SR, Kalita JC, Heyerick A, Rong H, De Cooman L, De Keukeleire D. Identification of a potent phytoestrogen in hops (Humulus lupulus L.) and beer. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1999 Jun;84(6):2249–52.