New Year, New Beer – Originally Posted on Suds Smarts
With New Year’s Day comes a veritable mass of humanity frantically trying to meet their various resolutions, many of which revolve around being healthier and/or thinner. While these resolutions undoubtedly won’t last for everyone, those who meet their goal deserve a hearty “cheers” from those of us who continued drinking beer in the new year. Unless, of course, there was a way to be healthy, lose weight, and still drink beer…
Health Impacts of Drinking Beer: Recently, many studies have shown that drinking various alcoholic drinks (in moderation of course) can have a slew of heath benefits. Specifically, drinking moderate amounts of beer will inherently increase your intake of B-vitamins and antioxidants, leading to an overall reduction in risk of heart disease, stroke, gallstones, and kidney stones. Beer has also been shown to help improve both the immune system and bone health. Arguably, drinking beer can also be a social health benefit and can aid in the reduction of stress levels.
Unfortunately, beer (and alcohol in general) is associated with negative heath effects as well. It’s important to understand that ethanol (found in beer) is ultimately poisonous to humans. While the human body’s reaction to this poison can be enjoyable at times, overindulgence will result in decidedly negative outcomes. The majority of these negative outcomes are short-term, such as nausea, dehydration, and impaired judgment, but the long-term effects of excessive alcohol consumption cannot be ignored. Liver damage, for example, can result from long-term alcohol use. Fortunately for beer drinkers (especially IPA lovers), hops have been shown to mitigate liver damage and liver fat buildup!
Drinking Beer Without Gaining Weight: Drinking alcohol has a strong association with weight gain, so much so that the proverbial “beer belly” is named for it. With New Year’s resolutions in mind, this stigma makes alcohol one of the first things on the chopping block when people start to diet. Those of us at Boatwright Brewing, however, realize not only that drinking beer is worth it, but also that it doesn’t have to come with the beer belly.
Drinking beer is not usually considered a low-calorie pastime. The average 12 oz. can of beer in the U.S. contains about 150 calories, meaning that knocking back a few cold ones can quickly add to your daily caloric intake. The real problem, however, comes more from the associated bar snacks than the beer. If you drink 4 “average” beers in a night, you’ve added 600 calories to your daily bottom line. While that’s not insignificant, adding a hamburger and fries could easily double this amount. One should also consider the frequency of the event since obviously drinking an extra 600 calories over a week is easier to offset than 600 added calories every day.
Overall, it is very possible to remain healthy and still drink beer if it’s done properly. As always, enjoy in moderation (quality over quantity in my opinion). Our resolution at Boatwright? Sample and brew as many new beers as possible!
Editor’s Notes:: In a study by The American Council on Science and Health regarding alcohol consumption and longevity of life, it was concluded that “In comparison with non-drinkers, people who consume small to moderate amounts of alcohol have, on average, lower death rates.” 8 other international health research organizations had these same results. An average of about 1 drink per day appears to be the happy medium for reaping the health benefits of alcohol. 2 drinks per day appears to be the tipping point where alcohol is no longer healthy.
Boatwright Brewing is a growing home brewing organization that not only writes about the brewing process but loves writing about the history and culture of beer. Boatwright Brewing also partners with Ring Knocker Brewing to bring great content to the home-brewing community.