2

votes

Paleo and drinking, what do you say ?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 17, 2011 at 12:03 AM

In a strict sense no alcoholic beverage is Paleo, since paleolithic people did not have access to wine, beer or whisky which are all products of the agricultural age. Nevertheless I know that many people in our own Paleo community do not have problems with alcoholic beverages, as long as they are not derived from cereals. Personally I only drink red wine on a regular basis, since I like it and it has positive health effects: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/red-wine/HB00089 I wonder what are the beliefs of most paleo hackers concerning different alcoholic beverages: do you reject those that are derived from cereals such as whisky or beer? do you accept wine? do you reject all alcoholic beverages since they belong to the agricultural age? Do you accept say vodka that does not come from cereals, although it has a strong alcoholic content? I am curious to know how do you think about this issues, and of course what do you drink regularly.

Medium avatar

(19469)

on November 18, 2011
at 07:16 PM

I believe that the reason people took a liking to alcohol, rather than having an aversion to it, is because of a long history of adaptive benefit derived from "liking it". There are many substances that interfere with normal functioning that we don't universally consume and pay billions of dollars for. For example, humans are generally averse to bitter foods, as they may have signaled the presence of plant toxins. Meth and cocaine should be treated separately from this discussion as their mode of action and history of use is much different.

Medium avatar

(19469)

on November 18, 2011
at 07:14 PM

I believe that the reason people took a liking to alcohol, rather than having an aversion to it, because of a long history of adaptive benefit from "liking it". There are many substances that interfere with normal functioning that we don't universally consume and pay billions of dollars for. Meth and cocaine should be treated separately from this discussion as their mode of action and history of use is much different.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on November 17, 2011
at 11:05 PM

I think that it is just that it is a drug and it makes people feel a certain way by interfering with normal functioning, so they took a liking to it, and like you mentioned, small amounts are pretty benign, so it is an accepted drug in moderation, whereas other drugs like meth and cocaine tend to produce more addictive behavior.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on November 17, 2011
at 10:56 PM

I'm pretty sure it has to do with neurochemistry being that it's a drug. You can say the same thing about methamphetamine cocaine and the like. Feeling good is the common denominator, that's why people seek it. Emotion is certainly an adaptation, and alcohol augments certain emotions, that's why it is enjoyable. But like you noted, whether it is adaptive to like alcohol or not, low doses probably aren't a problem.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on November 17, 2011
at 05:37 PM

So Daniel I see you enjoy sharing your drinks with birds that is funny man, not really my way to drink, but if you like to get drunk that way, ya know, just a matter of taste...

25b139cc1954456d9ea469e40f984cd3

on November 17, 2011
at 07:40 AM

Birds get drunk on fermented berries and other fruit, other primates get drunk on fermented berries and other fruit, but not early humans? Are you drunk?

Ba20b502cf02b5513ea8c4bb2740d8cb

(1669)

on November 17, 2011
at 06:26 AM

Got agree with you on the Norcal Margarita deal...

1cbb6b2a813475d6c0b17fd5e898dc50

(1248)

on November 17, 2011
at 01:10 AM

Have to agree.....it's not hard to ferment fruits, honey and such. Alcohol could have been used. Paleo or not I like alcohol.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on November 17, 2011
at 12:41 AM

Philospher~ Think pouches made of skin or stomach.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on November 17, 2011
at 12:28 AM

as long as they owned utensils such as pans you are right. I am not sure, though how many pans and the like were available to paleolithic people (perhaps none?). Of course your argument is 100% right for neolithic traditional cultures though...

7d64d3988de1b0e493aacf37843c5596

(2861)

on November 17, 2011
at 12:19 AM

Coffee and caffineated beverages are not strictly Paleo either, but many people here don't seem to object to these. I drink alchohol about once a week, and the paleo-ness of it is kind of irrelevent for me. I like red wine, most liquors, and I have been drinking Blue Moon lately.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on November 17, 2011
at 12:17 AM

@DH, is that broscience or has that actually be studied?

Cc69a51b427eaad36251cce9dcca4d3a

(1074)

on November 17, 2011
at 12:06 AM

hard spirits for me, microbrew for cheating. just don't eat PUFA's which multiply alcohol's effect on damaging the liver and weight gain.

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16 Answers

10
Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on November 17, 2011
at 12:20 AM

Actually, most cultures learn to drink ferments pretty quickly -- and early ferments would have been naturally fermented, just from the yeast in the air, so it's entirely possible that they drank fermented fruit juices, root mashes, etc.

This would mean that wine and other natural ferments like hard cider and mead might not be all that far from the paleo tree.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on November 17, 2011
at 12:28 AM

as long as they owned utensils such as pans you are right. I am not sure, though how many pans and the like were available to paleolithic people (perhaps none?). Of course your argument is 100% right for neolithic traditional cultures though...

1cbb6b2a813475d6c0b17fd5e898dc50

(1248)

on November 17, 2011
at 01:10 AM

Have to agree.....it's not hard to ferment fruits, honey and such. Alcohol could have been used. Paleo or not I like alcohol.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on November 17, 2011
at 12:41 AM

Philospher~ Think pouches made of skin or stomach.

7
Ba20b502cf02b5513ea8c4bb2740d8cb

on November 17, 2011
at 06:25 AM

Yeah once in a while.

Drink this:

paleo-and-drinking,-what-do-you-say-?

With this:

paleo-and-drinking,-what-do-you-say-?

Sandwiched between some of this:

paleo-and-drinking,-what-do-you-say-?

Not sure if it's Paleo but it'll keep ya sane!

6
Medium avatar

on November 17, 2011
at 12:58 AM

The more I learn about all of the vital functions that my liver performs all day every day, the more I want to send the old boy a thank you note, not an envelope filled with anthrax.

5
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on November 17, 2011
at 12:22 AM

I haven't changed my drinking habits since I went paleo. I'm an infrequent drinker. I like a good microbrew beer now and then. A glass of wine with a good meal. A shot or two when out with friends. It's all infrequent enough that it doesn't really affect whether I can call myself "paleo" or not, not that I give a flip about having that label.

As for which ones are best. Beer is definitely the "worst" if you're sensitive to gluten and other cereal proteins. Wine might be a bit sugar-y, but I'm not a fan of the anti-carbohydrate paleo method, so it's really not problematic as I see it. Liquor is distilled, so there's really no trace of any gluten or cereal protein left, so again paleo as long as you're not mixing it with nasty sugary crap (or maybe you do if you're not carb-phobic!)

4
51b472fa449ab0e5433f27dcd799fedd

(1091)

on November 17, 2011
at 12:57 AM

Craft beer is a big part of my 20%. =) For sticking closer to Paleo, I would prefer to drink whiskey or bourbon or any other spirit, but I find craft beer to be infinitely more interesting, both literally and culturally. Doesn't hurt that I live in San Diego and I've got many good breweries just 5-10 minutes' drive from my house. I can't drive a few miles and get a $1 taster of whiskey.

I really enjoy craft beer and the craft beer scene, and I think that happiness personally is worth whatever unhealthiness there might be from imbibing occasionally.

2
17aa9de32c2fbd80603d1bfadc5303dc

(180)

on November 17, 2011
at 04:56 PM

I drink a lot. Paleo has been great for me. I feel great and I've lost a stack of weight. Is it optimal? maybe not. Is it strictly paleo? who cares.

2
61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on November 17, 2011
at 04:39 PM

I enjoy a good drink and while I sometimes think about the Paleo-ness of it, that is really not a major factor in my decision making. I consider being paleo being healthy...I do not consider drinking to be healthy at all (despite claims of wine being healthy).

I don't drink beer because it doesn't taste good.

I don't drink wine because my body doesn't react well to it.

I drink liquor because I enjoy the taste and the buzz...8)

2
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on November 17, 2011
at 03:55 AM

I'm a drinker...bottom line. I love good beer and good whiskey. A dry red is good, but thats just when I'm trying to be paleo-compliant. Beer days are the same as my cheat day so I eat whatever I want on that day.

As for effects, I had no real ailments prior to paleo and am not overweight. I get over my little cheat day pretty easy. I might feel off for a half of a day or so, but nothing painful or debilitating. By the time I get round to working out I'm out of my funk.

I recognize that boozing isn't "optimal", but oh well. Unlike Travis I like to give my liver a good punch once in a while...its like a hepatic HIIT workout!

1
Medium avatar

(19469)

on November 17, 2011
at 10:47 PM

If we look at the question of alcohol consumption through the "evolutionary lens", we might see something different than "alcohol is not paleo".

Evolutionary Biologists consider anything that is common to most, if not all human societies (the term "pan-specificity" or "pan-specific" is often used) as having a genetic basis.

Some examples would be the creation of art, language, and the use of fire. (Remember that these traits aren't hard programs, like a spider's web-building, but rather a predisposition to learning a particular behavior). Also on this list, you would find the the preparation and use of alcoholic beverages.

If we accept that salt, sugar, and fat are so appealing because they represented "high energy" foods and therefore conferred a survival advantage to our ancestors (who gradually replaced individuals who did not like sweet, salty, or fatty foods) we should also look to a similar, previously adaptive, mechanism for human alcohol consumption.

One such theory that has been put forth suggests that alcohol, and the other volatile byproducts of fermentation, indicated that a particular fruit was ripe and therefore more likely to contain lots of sugar vs. a less-ripe fruit.

There are also numerous studies that seem to correlate low to moderate alcohol consumption with longevity and a decreased risk for many diseases.

I personally don't consume alcohol frequently, but have no concerns about the occasional beer, glass of wine, or shot of liquor. I avoid sweet drinks, "mixers", and other such additives, but any good quality adult beverage is fair game in my opinion.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on November 17, 2011
at 11:05 PM

I think that it is just that it is a drug and it makes people feel a certain way by interfering with normal functioning, so they took a liking to it, and like you mentioned, small amounts are pretty benign, so it is an accepted drug in moderation, whereas other drugs like meth and cocaine tend to produce more addictive behavior.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on November 17, 2011
at 10:56 PM

I'm pretty sure it has to do with neurochemistry being that it's a drug. You can say the same thing about methamphetamine cocaine and the like. Feeling good is the common denominator, that's why people seek it. Emotion is certainly an adaptation, and alcohol augments certain emotions, that's why it is enjoyable. But like you noted, whether it is adaptive to like alcohol or not, low doses probably aren't a problem.

Medium avatar

(19469)

on November 18, 2011
at 07:14 PM

I believe that the reason people took a liking to alcohol, rather than having an aversion to it, because of a long history of adaptive benefit from "liking it". There are many substances that interfere with normal functioning that we don't universally consume and pay billions of dollars for. Meth and cocaine should be treated separately from this discussion as their mode of action and history of use is much different.

Medium avatar

(19469)

on November 18, 2011
at 07:16 PM

I believe that the reason people took a liking to alcohol, rather than having an aversion to it, is because of a long history of adaptive benefit derived from "liking it". There are many substances that interfere with normal functioning that we don't universally consume and pay billions of dollars for. For example, humans are generally averse to bitter foods, as they may have signaled the presence of plant toxins. Meth and cocaine should be treated separately from this discussion as their mode of action and history of use is much different.

1
24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on November 17, 2011
at 05:15 PM

I drink regularly- sometimes I'll have a drink or two with dinner on the weekend, sometimes I just feel like getting a little crunk. I usually stick with vodka/cranberry/club soda, or a margarita (sometimes NorCal, sometimes the sugary variety); I also like sweet wines like Rieseling & sangria- I wish my palate were more sophisticated because that's the stuff that results in a headache :( I avoid beer because I am gluten intolerant, but other than that I just drink what I'm in the mood for.

1
A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on November 17, 2011
at 06:17 AM

From an evolutionary perspective, some people can handle their drink better than others. The ability to digest a large amount of alcohol requires a large amount of alcohol dehydrogenase, which was evolutionarily selected for where people drank alcoholic beverages because they needed a source of water not full of bacteria.

Since this mostly happened after the advent of agriculture, alcohol could be compared to dairy in that it probably isn't optimal (or paleo), but some adaptation to it has occurred among certain people and there is likely variation in who should and shouldn't enjoy it as a sensible vice, given its potential benefits.

Personally, I avoid alcohol almost completely because alcoholism runs rampant in my family, which seems like evidence to me that I don't come from a lineage that has evolved to drink.

1
8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on November 17, 2011
at 01:38 AM

I drink a bit of red wine from time to time, that is all. Fermented foods absolutely would be available to the hunter-gatherer. All you need is a few mashed berries, wrapped in a leaf. My bet is that vinegar and lactic acid would be the preferred product since its a pain to keep an oxygen-free environment.

1
9cf38f99dad0e5ba22eef4e6f7346857

(60)

on November 17, 2011
at 12:26 AM

my body rejects alcohol. I've never been a big drinker, but my attempts to socially drink since jumping back on the paleo wagon have ended up with me throwing out the drink before getting down 1/4 of it. I just start to rapidly feel like crap. Probably the blood sugar spike. I've tried consuming hard liquor (rum, vodka) and quality organic red wines on a couple different occasions. Wouldn't try beer since I have a negative response to gluten. It's kind of a bummer when I'm with a group and everyone else is imbibing, but I do appreciate the wisdom of this body trying to keep me from ingesting something that will throw it off balance. small amounts of kombucha are no problem though.

0
01adafcb4dd4147c6af543f61eee60a8

on June 04, 2012
at 02:54 AM

Hardly drink at all,once in a blue moon these days now im 33. When I was younger I was a typical British lad,getting pissed fri-sun on the pull up town,im sure my liver is happier with my behaviour now .

0
7e3ce3d72dd1b19b1e5fc4c1095050c3

(18)

on June 04, 2012
at 02:28 AM

I used to drink a glass or two daily before Paleo. I had a hard time losing weight then ... and finally figured out is was the wine.... duh moment lol. I know it doesn't fit into the paleo philosophy but I find I don't want to give it up completely,so I have limited it to 2 glasses of red wine a week ... either weekends when socialising, or just to relax at home. I would like to turn it into a spritzer ... mixed with soda water ... not sure soda water ok tho?

0
Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

on November 17, 2011
at 02:35 AM

The Norcal Margarita has become my drink of choice. It only takes a couple to get a buzz and I get my money's worth.

I sip on cognac if I'm sick, which is better than any cold medication I can think of.

Beer doesn't effect me anymore. I can drink it all night, spend a lot of money, feel like crap and not get a buzz. I will however try a new micro brew if I come across something unusual.

Ba20b502cf02b5513ea8c4bb2740d8cb

(1669)

on November 17, 2011
at 06:26 AM

Got agree with you on the Norcal Margarita deal...

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