Is it Normal to Drink Beer Every Day?
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) recommends no more than three to four drinks per day. Other guidelines provide similar advice and acknowledge that a small amount of alcohol each day is safe.
But is it normal to drink alcohol every day? Does daily consumption of beer put your health at risk?
A daily drinking habit might be an indication of a brewing problem. People who feel the need to drink every day have a higher risk of developing alcohol use disorder (AUD). In some cases, daily drinking indicates AUD has already developed.
This is true even if you are not drinking to the point of severe intoxication. Some people assume that daily alcohol consumption is fine as long as they are not drunk every day. However, this isn’t the case for many people.
Alcohol affects your body and daily intake of alcohol increases your risk for certain health consequences. Drinking beer every day might not mean you are an alcoholic or that you have a problem with drinking. But in terms of your physical health, it’s a habit you likely want to curb.
If you find you are unable to drink less and not consume beer daily, the inability to break the habit could indicate a more serious problem.
What Happens to Your Body if You Drink Beer Every Day?
Daily beer consumption affects your body in a variety of ways and causes health problems, including:
Weight Gain and Beer Belly
Beer increases caloric and carbs intake and might prevent fat burning. It also contains phytoestrogens, which may increase the risk of storing belly fat.
Increased Risk of Heart Disease
Excessive alcohol consumption causes a spike in heart rate, which is especially dangerous for people with existing heart conditions and high blood pressure.
A 2018 study published in the April issue of The Lancet found that people who had 10 or more drinks per week died of cardiovascular disease one to two years earlier than people consuming five drinks or fewer per week.
Having 18 drinks or more per week cut life expectancy by four to five years.
Damages the Liver
Excessive alcohol intake overworks the liver, which gradually damages it and leads to liver disease. Initially, it leads to cirrhosis and increased fat in your liver. Eventually, it causes liver inflammation and the accumulation of scar tissue.
Long-term excessive beer consumption can lead to alcoholic neuropathy. Nerve damage is associated with long periods of drinking too much, as well as nutritional deficiencies caused by over-drinking.
Heavy alcohol consumption causes memory lapses. This can occur after one night of binge drinking. Long-term heavy drinking can also lead to permanent memory loss and dementia.
Erectile dysfunction has a higher prevalence in those who drink excessively.
The damage caused by daily alcohol consumption varies from person to person. The severity of the damage also varies based on your gender and other factors.
How Much Beer is Too Much?
Guidelines exist to help people determine how much beer is healthy to consume. Unfortunately, these are general guidelines and don’t apply to everyone.
For starters, the guidelines are intended to help otherwise healthy people with a low risk of developing a problem with alcohol.
For men, the NIAAA recommends no more than four alcoholic beverages per day and no more than 14 per week.
For women, the recommended amount of alcohol consumption is lower at three or fewer drinks per day and no more than seven per week.
Many medical experts believe it’s better to take a more personalized approach to alcohol consumption. The general guidelines are helpful for some people. However, as you get to know your body better and how it responds to alcohol, you might find the guidelines too liberal.
Your threshold for alcohol consumption varies based on:
- Pre-existing conditions
- Drinking experience and habits
Does Beer Have Any Health Benefits?
Despite the risks someone faces as a heavy drinker, beer offers a variety of health benefits when consumed in moderation. For example:
Beer Boosts Your Daily Nutrient Intake
Beer contains more B vitamins, folate, niacin, phosphorus, and protein than wine. It offers the same amount of antioxidants as wine. It also contains fiber and prebiotics.
Beer Might Lower Risk of Diabetes
A study published in the journal European Association for the Study Diabetes determined that moderate drinkers were less likely to develop diabetes than people who never drink.
Male beer drinkers had less than a 20 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Beer Might Improve Heart Health
Wine is the usual choice for boosting heart health, but beer offers similar benefits. One American Heart Association study found that moderate drinkers had the slowest decline in HDL (good) cholesterol.
Beer Might Make You Smarter
Researchers from Loyola University in Chicago found that moderate drinkers had a 23 percent lower risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Some believe this is linked to beer’s ability to raise good cholesterol which is beneficial for brain health.
Beer Might Reduce Inflammation
One study published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research found that hops, which are found in beer, have anti-inflammatory properties.
How to Drink Less Beer
Whether you want to reduce how much beer you’re drinking because you are concerned about addiction or solely because you want to improve your physical risks, there are several things you can do.
- Journal when you drink — This is a method that’s effective for dieters and it can work for alcohol consumption as well. Tracking alcohol consumption helps you understand how much you’re drinking and if there are any patterns linked to your drinking.
- Set drinking limits — Decide how much you want to drink and set a limit. If you currently drink 10 drinks per week and you want to cut back to six, set that as a goal. Find ways to challenge and reward yourself in weeks you meet your limit goal. This is also a good way to gradually decrease your alcohol consumption.
- Schedule no-drinking days — One of the simplest ways to cut back is to schedule days you won’t drink any beer. You can also choose “dry” weeks and months. Some people abstain from alcohol for January to make up for over-indulging throughout the holidays. Building no-alcohol days into your schedule lets you reduce alcohol consumption in an organized and systematic way.
- Don’t keep alcohol in your home — If you’re only able to drink when you go out, you’re less likely to drink as much.
- Flip-flop drinks — You can reduce how much you drink by balancing each beer you drink with a glass of water. Not only will you drink less alcohol, but you’ll also feel better because you’ll stay hydrated.
Signs You Have a Drinking Problem
Recognizing when drinking beer everyday has developed into a drinking problem is challenging for some people.
Some of the signs you have a drinking problem include:
- Wanting to stop drinking and being unable to
- Drinking more or for a longer time than you intended
- Spending a lot of time-consuming alcohol or recovering from drinking
- Excessive focus on drinking or craving alcohol
- Problems at work, school, or in relationships due to drinking alcohol
- Giving up activities you once enjoyed to drink
- Engaging in risky behavior because of drinking
- Drinking despite increased anxiety, depression, and other negative mental health consequences
- Needing more alcohol to achieve the same effect
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking
How to Find Help for Your Alcohol Problem
If you’ve tried to cut back on drinking and you’ve been unsuccessful, it’s likely time to seek professional support. There are many treatment options available. For instance:
- Residential care (inpatient treatment) — round-the-clock support and lets you focus entirely on recovery and sober living
- Intensive outpatient care — individual and group therapy for several hours each day without removing you from your normal life
- Outpatient treatment — therapy approximately once a week
- Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) — pharmaceutical support for treating addiction
It doesn’t matter if you’ve developed alcohol use disorder (AUD) or you’re not sure how to reduce your alcohol consumption despite wanting to do so. There is nothing wrong with seeking treatment and feel as if you cannot control your drinking on your own.