The Truth Behind Alcohol

August 25, 2017

Most of us enjoy drinking alcohol, and we probably won’t stop. In that regard, how can we continue enjoying our drinking, while making the least possible harm to our bodies?

The best option is moderation, of course. In this article, I will explain how you can continue to enjoy with alcohol, reducing the amount of harm to the minimum. There is a common believe that liquor is the best bet, by drinking it “on the rocks” and avoiding sugary sodas and “bad carbs”. In the same regard, the beer belly is most men worst enemy, attributing beer consumption to central adipose tissue growth.

Is liquor the best option?

Most people think that having a strong liquor with no soda is the safest bet. Well, it’s most likely not. The way liquor is metabolized in the body is harmful in many ways more than just the empty calories that it provides. By being processed as acetaldehyde, it produces more harm than we think. In that regard, the safest bet is the lowest alcohol percentage. This means that a glass of whisky (+40%) may be more harmful than a beer (around 4.2%), even though the volumes are totally different. Liquor metabolizes as a harmful substance (acetaldehyde) which, besides being fattening, uses up our bodies minerals reserves. So here there is a double threat: the calories that liquor provides PLUS the mineral and antioxidants lost in the process of metabolizing acetaldehyde.

Now, general public has got something right though; If drinking liquor, it’s always better to avoid mixing liquor with sugary drinks, since they enhance the harmful effects that they make. Having said that, most people do not realize tonic water has a lot of sugar, almost the same as normal sodas.

So, what is the “best” alcohol option?

Beer and wine, on the other hand, have beneficial properties. They provide antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, which help our bodies fight off free radicals and aging. Of course, if we can control ourselves and drink with moderation. Most of these beneficial properties are provided by polyphenols, a well – known antioxidant present in these two drinks, beer and wine. Since wine has the greater number of polyphenols, we can consider it the safer option. Please note that I am using quotation marks, since it all depends on moderation. If you exceed one or two glasses a day (depending on your genre), you will only turn around the beneficial effects, making them harmful.

Health benefits of Polyphenols (what makes wine and beer “healthy”)

Polyphenols found in wine are strongly related with some health benefits. Among them, we can find that polyphenols cause a reduction in the amount of cases of heart conditions such as cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. On the same regard, it’s also seen to negatively affect the occurrence of diabetes and some kinds of cancer, such as prostate cancer, colon cancer, ovarian cancer, among others.

When referring to beer, drinking moderate amounts is also connected with the same health benefits, but in a smaller degree. This is most likely because, as stated before, beer has a lower polyphenols content and a little higher alcohol percentage.

All of these health benefits are mostly due to the “kick” that this substance cause in our bodies antioxidant capacity. It is also attributed to the beneficial changes in our blood lipids (cholesterol, HDL, LDL and chylomicrons), and the strong anti-inflammatory response that these alcoholic beverages produce in our metabolisms. Having said that, remember that they both provide empty calories, so they do to be accounted for.

Beer belly:

Having one beer is equivalent to eating 2 – 3 slices of bread. Yes, they are mostly empty calories, but it’s not an awful lot of them. It’s not the beer which produces a “beer belly”, but the reduced inhibition and salty – food craving that it produces. It’s rare to see someone drinking beer without some chips, peanuts or some grilled meat on the side. The combination of both simple carbohydrates and a high volume of fat (most of the times highly saturated) is what usually causes a beer belly.


Red wine is always the safest bet. It has the highest amount of antioxidants and beneficial compounds. Again, moderate your wine intake to 2 glasses and you will gain more benefits than harmful effects.

Wrapping up:

As always, be mindful about your alcohol consumption. It is good fun and we are all humans, so we can enjoy with different things. This is not an article which promotes alcohol consumption, just clarifies some health-related points in regard of it.

Remember, do not drink and drive. Drink responsibly.

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