Is one beer a day really going to be a serious risk to my health?

Answered on June 09, 2016
Created June 07, 2016 at 7:02 PM

I like beer and enjoy drinking one in the evening. If i limit to one and generally avoid grains/gluten in the rest of my diet, is there still a significant risk?

What do the non biase studies say on this? (I.E. high carb diet bias, low carb diet bias or beer company bias??)

Peace :)

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on June 08, 2016
at 10:55 AM

The carbs are less of a problem - the problem is gluten and yeast.  At minimum find a gluten free beer you like.

Unlike other substances, gluten signals your gut barrier to open up through zonulin, the more this happens, the more likely it is that large, undigested proteins will enter the blood stream, causing allergies and immune reactions to various foods such as eggs, nightshades, and so on.

At an extreme end, this can cause autoimmune diseases where either these forein particles (including gluten and gliadins themselves) attach themselves to your own tissues, or in the case of gliadins are very short and can look like your own tissues.  There are dozens if not hundreds of autoimmune diseases that destroy vital tissues such as joints, brain, thyroid, etc.  These are really no fun, very dangerous and expensive to fix, if at all.  Better to avoid the problem in the first place.

Trouble is the amount of gluten isn't directly related to the odds of getting this, rather it's how often you're exposed to it.  So a daily beer is probably as bad as a daily intake of bread and pasta.

On the alcohol and carb side, you'll prevent fat loss, and the alcohol is highly reactive and damaging to your organs, but that's up to you.  On the lower end of alcohol consumption, your liver should be able to deal with it and prevent damage.  On the higher end, it won't and you could wind up with a damaged liver and possibly liver cancer.

Separately, yeast can mess up your gut bacteria and shift it in unfavorable ways.  An extreme example of this is auto-brewery syndrome.

You're far better off with hard cider (which still has the yeast problem, but not the gluten problem) or better yet spirits such as tequila, vodka, rum, whisky, etc.

As usual, you get to decide what your goals and priorities are.  Are the risks of various diseases worth the flavor a daily beer, or is it really the alcohol you're after, or is it health?

You picks your poison as the saying goes. :)




on June 09, 2016
at 06:00 PM

Not sure the gluten is such a problem unless one has serious issues with it. You probably need to drink 2-3 beers just to obtain the same amount of gluten as in a piece of wheat toast, and beer is commonly made with other grains like barley. Theoretically the long fermentation process should also pre-digest the protein more than for example yeasted bread. And it seems better to be constantly exposed to a very small amount of gluten rather than to live like a monk and then get terrible reactions if occasionally having to (or even unknowingly) eat it.


Alcohol is obviously a dangerous substance in excess, but it is less clear to what extent this is due to liquors being a «refined» food almost completely absent in vitamins, minerals (and proteins). Beer and wine provide a decent amount of nutrients, such as b-vitamins and magnesium needed to deal with the alcohol. A glass of vodka/liquors, on the other hand, would provide 500-700 calories but zero nutrients and this would predictably cause things like fatty liver, just as heavy intake of sucrose/soft drinks would do (but not fruits). When people like Robert Lustig compares sugar to alcohol, he may actually be on to something, but what he misses is the empty calorie aspect.


A lot of alcoholics also have poor diets rich in sugar and junk foods, low intake of vegetables, and the problem with alcoholism seems to be as much about the nutrient deficiencies as the alcohol itself, causing terrible mental disorders for example (suicide rate of 8-27% according to http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6648755). Alcoholics are obviously living in hell, but sadly the nutrient deficiency aspect is not talked about enough. If the alcoholics had understood this, it would be much easier for them to stop drinking. Instead of focusing on the alcohol they should focus on eating nutrient dense foods, like eggs, vegetables, taking b-complex vitamins, and magnesium supplements.


And it seems to be similar with mental disorders also being especially caused by nutrient deficiencies, and this is also not much talked about, i.e. the doctor would happily prescribe you anti-depressants, but not even bother to ask what you eat.


It is worth noting that pure fat is also an empty calorie which would cause problems in excess, and if combined with liquors it would get even worse. If one is highly active or the rest of the diet is nutrient dense, one could probably get away with a fair amount of alcohol, refined fat, sucrose etc. For example on some cold weather expeditions with extreme activity levels, people have ingested a pound of fats per day without problems, it may actually be the perfect fuel in this case. If exercise prevents mental disorders, it may have something to do with it burning off refined junk food (fats, sugars) before it causes any damage.


A major characteristic of the paleo diet as reflected in the research literature anyway, is that it is nutrient dense.

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on June 08, 2016
at 12:10 PM

If you like having beer, keep it's intake moderate. According to researches, men should drin no more than four units in any one day and have one or two days alcohol free. Otherwise it can be dangerous.

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