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The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) recommends no more than three to four drinks per day. This means no more than four drinks for men and no more than three drinks for women. 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.
Daily beer consumption affects your body in a variety of ways and causes health problems, including:
Beer increases caloric and carbs intake and might prevent fat burning. It also contains phytoestrogens, which may increase the risk of storing belly fat.
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.
Excessive alcohol intake causes liver injury, and leads to liver disease. Initially a person develops fatty liver, where excess fat is stored in the liver, and later it leads to ongoing inflammation of the liver (hepatitis). Finally when scar tissue accumulates from the chronic hepatitis/inflammation, the person develops cirrhosis.
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.
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.
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 drinks per week. More than this is considered heavy drinking.
For women, the recommended maximum amount of alcohol consumption is three or fewer drinks per day and no more than seven drinks total per week. More than this is considered heavy drinking.
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:
Despite the risks someone faces as a heavy drinker, beer offers a variety of health benefits when consumed in moderation. For example:
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.
A study published in the journal European Association for the Study Diabetes determined that moderate drinkers (those who drink no more than two drinks per day) were less likely to develop diabetes than people who never drink. However, drinking more than two alcoholic drinks per day increased the risk of developing diabetes.
Male beer drinkers had less than a 20 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
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.
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.
One study published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research found that hops, which are found in beer, have anti-inflammatory properties.
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.
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:
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:
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. If you have trouble controlling your drinking habits on your own, it's very appropriate to seek treatment and support from medical professionals and trusted loved ones.
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