Cracking open a couple of beers after a long day is something many people look forward to and enjoy as part of their evening routine. If you're one of these people, it's wise to consider just what those two daily beers might be doing to your health.
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There is the potential to be beneficial, but it could also be harmful. Once you have all the necessary beer-related facts, you can determine if the beverage will continue to earn a spot in your daily diet.
Worry About Your Waistline
A beer belly isn't a myth. Too much beer, like too much of any food or drink, can cause you to gain unwanted pounds. If you don't factor in the calories from two beers a day into your daily caloric intake, you could end up gaining weight.
This is particularly true if you don't burn enough calories to negate the two beers. Aside from the way a beer belly looks, being overweight comes with added health risks, such as a higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes or heart disease. Two regular beers clock in at about 306 calories, while two light beers add 206 calories to your daily diet.
Benefits of Beer
There is some good news when it comes to drinking a moderate amount of beer every day. According to a 2008 article published in "Biofactors," drinking a moderate amount can reduce the risk of heart disease. The compounds in the hops used to make beer can help lower your cholesterol levels and risk of hardening of the arteries, two risk factors for a heart attack.
Beer may have some mild antioxidant activity due to the hops and also has been shown to have some anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties, according to 2012 research published in "Nutrients." In addition, moderate intake of beer can also boost bone mineral density, notes a 2009 article published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition."
Wait ... It's Not All Good
The article in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" notes that while moderate beer intake can help retain bone mineral density, drinking large amounts can have the opposite effect, thereby increasing the risk of soft bones and osteoporosis.
Heavy drinking isn't good for your heart either. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that heavy drinking, including too much beer, puts you at an increased risk for liver and pancreas problems, certain types of cancer and accidental injury or death.
Beer and Your Daily Diet
The trick to reaping the positive health effects of beer and avoiding the negative effects is to drink in moderation. According to the CDC, moderation means that women drink no more than one drink a day and for men, no more than two.
A 12-ounce beer is equal to one drink. If you're male, two beers a day might have a positive impact on your health, but if you're female, those two beers a day might do more harm than good.
There is no safe level of beer consumption for pregnant women. Certain prescription and over the counter medications, when mixed with alcohol — including beer — can cause harmful side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, internal bleeding, and heart problems. The alcohol in beer may make medications more or less effective, so beer should be avoided when taking medications.
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Alcoholic Beverage, Beer, Regular, All
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Alcoholic Beverage, Beer, Light
- Biofactors: Beer and Health: Preventative Effects of Beer Components on Lifestyle-Related Diseases
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Effects of Beer, Wine and Liquor Intakes on Bone Mineral Density in Older Men and Women
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Alcohol and Public Health