Let’s discuss alcohol. The most popular drink is beer. Beer is the most commonly consumed liquor. Part of this is its low alcohol content compared to other stiff drinks and its many health benefits. The health benefits of beer include preventing cancer, controlling diabetes, preventing kidney stones, reducing cholesterol and blood clots, etc. It also helps regulate digestion, osteoporosis, bone health, and high blood pressure.
But even after so many health benefits, can diabetic patients drink beer? Is beer good for diabetes? In this blog, let us know the health benefits of beer and how much beer can be consumed by sugar patients.
To say it is an alcoholic drink, but it has many such benefits, which are essential for many parts of the body. Beer is rich in vitamins that help maintain haemoglobin and treat anaemia. It helps in protecting the heart and preventing many heart diseases.
Beer is made from barley, wheat or corn. Beer is the end product of the brewing process of fermented starch and sugar. Do you know that it is considered food instead of drink and called “liquid bread”? Talking about a safe and healthy amount, a moderate amount of 1 drink daily for women and two drinks for men is considered beneficial for health.
However, consuming too much beer can have adverse health effects. They include uncontrolled blood sugar levels, alcohol dependence or addiction, depression, liver problems, kidney problems, cancer, or early death. So even though it has many health benefits, before drinking it, take complete information about your health, issues, lifestyle, quantity of beer, etc. It is not safe for everyone.
Can Diabetics Drink Beer?
Beer has a high GI and carbohydrate content, which can cause your blood sugar to spike. It can also make you gain weight as it increases your appetite. This can also lead to hypoglycemia. Though it is believed that moderate consumption of beer does not increase blood sugar levels, we still suggest that you avoid the consumption of beer. Substitute beer with fruits and vegetables that provide the same nutrients without increasing blood sugar levels.
Read More: Normal Blood Sugar Level for Adults Agewise.
A standard bottle contains many nutrients that have different health benefits. According to the USDA, here are the various nutrients present in one can of beer (356 g) and their quantity:
|Nutritional Value of Beer
|Nutrients (in standard bottle)
Apart from this, it also contains trace amounts of zinc, calcium, iron and potassium. Although it has all these minerals and vitamins, to meet your daily requirements, you must consume it in large quantities, which is dangerous for your health. You should adopt healthy food like fruits and vegetables to get these nutrients.
Beer has a high glycemic index, which is around 100. Also, the glycemic load of beer is very low at 7.5 because of the low carbohydrate content. That’s why sugar patients have to take care before drinking it. The amount and your glycemic control will determine whether you should drink beer or not.
Beer and Diabetes
If someone has diabetes, their body cells become resistant towards insulin hormones. These cells stop using glucose received from food and let it be released into the bloodstream. This is known as high blood sugar levels in the body, and the condition refers to hyperglycemia, which can harm various organs and tissues.
According to a study published by the National Institute of Health, alcohol consumption has been associated with hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is a low blood sugar condition, so be watchful when drinking any liquor or beer. When you drink alcohol, your liver must first clean the alcohol from your system. Your liver is entitled to store glucose in the body, so this cleansing process puts extra work on the liver.
When it comes to beer, it is safe to drink beer but in a moderate amount. Any kind of alcohol has an adverse effect on your health, so be aware. Drinking beer or any alcohol within the limit can mitigate the risks of imbalanced blood sugar levels and other health risks.
Alcohol, including beer, can cause hypoglycemia or low blood sugar levels. If you are on diabetes medication or insulin, then consuming beer can have fatal results. It can cause hypoglycemia, which can be a non-manageable situation. So, know your limits as per your physiological status and glycemic control.
According to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the limit of daily alcohol for women is one drink a day, and for males, two drinks a day.
This way, one can have beer benefits without many of its side effects. You can consult your doctor if you experience dizziness, feeling sleepy or confused. These are some symptoms of hypoglycemia.
Although we do not suggest beer consumption to gain certain health benefits, unlike beer, there are multiple healthy substitutes and options like fruits, nuts, salads, vegetables, etc., to attain those health benefits without any adverse consequences and sugar spikes.
Beer can have many health benefits when consumed in small to moderate amounts. It has low carbohydrates and low GL, which is good for diabetes and heart health. The right amount of intake can help prevent and treat a number of health conditions, from cancer to dandruff. There are many brands available in the market to suit everyone’s choice. Let’s read about the health benefits of beer:
Protects against Cancer
According to NLM, if alcohol is consumed in moderate or limited quantities, it helps in preventing cancer. It contains polyphenols to fight against various cancers. In addition, it contains a compound called xanthohumol, which is a flavonoid and is also used in winemaking. It helps in the prevention of cancer, especially protection against prostate cancer.
Read More: Is Rice Good For Diabetes?
Good for Heart Health
According to a study conducted by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, moderate beer consumption helps prevent various heart diseases. It improves the good cholesterol HDL in the blood and helps the body reduce bad LDL cholesterol. In addition, it helps in homocysteine blood thinner, which removes clots from the coronary arteries. The right amount of it reduces inflammation and reduces the risk of atherosclerosis. All these positive effects are available only when you take them in a limited and right amount. Its excessive consumption can increase the chances of stroke and heart disease.
Prevents Kidney Stones
Most people know that it is very effective in kidney stones. It has a high water content, which flushes out all the toxins from the body, which helps in the proper functioning of the kidney. According to a study by NIH, beer consumption has been inversely associated with the risk of kidney stones. A moderate amount of beer can slow down calcium release from the bones and prevent the formation of kidney stones.
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Strengthens Bones Health
According to a study by the Natural Medicine Journal, beer helps increase bone density and bone formation. Especially in men and postmenopausal women. Its nutritional components, including silicon, aid in the prevention of osteoporosis and the strengthening of bone health. People who drink beer are less likely to have fractures than people who don’t drink.
Helps with Anemia
According to a study by the National Institute of Health, beer can improve iron deficiency that causes anaemia. Beer contains good nutrients like Vitamin B12 and folic acid. They both help treat anemia caused by the deficiency of these two compounds. It also helps in increasing growth, brain power and memory.
Read More: Is Cauliflower Good for Diabetic Patients?
Lowers Cholesterol Levels
The soluble fibre beta-glucans are found in the barley used to make beer. It lowers cholesterol in the blood, which helps in preventing many health problems.
Helps the Brain Function Properly
This is one of the best benefits of this drink. It improves brain power and function by reducing cholesterol and increasing blood supply to the brain. According to the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, people who drink beer have a 23% lower risk of developing diseases such as Alzheimer’s, dementia or memory loss. This may be due to the silicon that protects the brain from the harmful aluminium present in the body.
Read More: Is Dragon Fruit Good For Diabetics?
Good for Teeth, Skin and Hair Health
It reduces tooth decay and other dental problems by reducing the build-up of bacteria in the mouth. It inhibits the growth of bacteria and strengthens the teeth.
Also, it is rich in Vitamin E, which is very beneficial for the skin. It also slows the aging process and brings a glow to the skin.
It contains yeast and vitamin B, which helps in getting rid of dandruff and makes hair smooth and shiny. Many beer shampoos are available in the market because of their effect on hair health.
Good for Digestion
The presence of soluble fibre in it helps in digestion. It contains prebiotics that help grow good gut bacteria and improve digestion.
Read More: Top 6 Dry Fruits For Diabetics.
Ways to Drink Beer
The health benefits of beer only work when consumed in low to moderate amounts. Its excessive consumption has fatal and adverse effects on health. As per research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is recommended to have one drink for women and two for men every day for better results. It does not meet your daily nutritional needs, so eating a balanced diet with fruits and vegetables is a good source of getting all the nutrition you need.
Read More: Are Sugar-Free Biscuits Safe for Diabetics?
Side Effects of Beer
Beer is, after all, an alcohol, so it has disadvantages. While a moderate intake can provide many health benefits, excessive consumption has many disadvantages and side effects.
- Drinking too much alcohol can lead to early death and can be fatal.
- It can make you addicted and dependent on alcohol.
- Regular and excessive drinking can lead to liver failure or cirrhosis.
- If consumed in excess, it can have a negative effect on blood sugar levels.
- It may increase your weight or may be the reason for your belly fat. One drink (355 ml) contains 153 calories, which can increase obesity.
- It also triggers depression. It can cause depression when consumed in excess.
- It is a diuretic that can dehydrate the body by sweating in the summer.
- Some people may also have heartburn due to the consumption of some stimulants. These stimuli react with gastric acid and cause gastric reflexes.
- Some research suggests that excessive consumption of it can lead to cancer, especially throat and mouth cancer.
- It also contains gluten protein, which can be harmful to gluten-allergic people.
Read More: Is Cranberry Juice Good for Diabetics?
Beer has various health benefits when consumed in moderation due to its nutritional value. It contains protein, fibre, vitamins, and minerals that are good for heart, bone health, diabetes, and kidney and brain function. On the other hand, drinking too much alcohol can be more harmful than beneficial and can even lead to death.
It is an addiction that ultimately increases the risk of many health conditions.
Alcohol always has more negative sides than positive ones. You can also get these nutrients from other dietary choices, fruits and vegetables. So we suggest you have a diabetic-friendly diet, follow a fitness regime and adopt a healthy lifestyle to manage your blood sugar levels and lead a healthy life with healthy choices.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):
Where regular beer has zero sugar, non-alcoholic beers have high amounts of sugar. Non-alcoholic beer contains 28.5 grams of sugar. Similarly, light beer also has a sugar content of 0.3 grams in one standard bottle. Regular and low-carb beers have no sugar and are safe to consume in little or moderate amounts.
All beers are sugar-free, but the number of carbs decides the beer’s impact on sugar levels and weight. The more carb, the more its effect on diabetes and weight control. The amount of sugar and carbs in different brands are as follows: In Bud Light, 4.6 grams of carbs, 0 grams of sugar; in Busch: 6.9 grams of carbs, no sugar; in Budweiser: 10.6 grams of carbs, 0 grams of sugar in Heineken: 11.4 grams of carbs, 0 grams of sugar, Coors Banquet: 11.7 grams of carbs, 0 grams of sugar, Coors Light: 5 grams of carbs, 1 gram of sugar.
Beer has zero sugar in it. Other alcoholic cocktail drinks have sugar content and soda that can impact sugar levels. Although beer has zero sugar in it, it is high in calories, which can increase sugar levels and weight. So if you want to lose weight or control sugar levels, have it in moderate or limited amounts.
Any alcoholic drink, including beer, is full of carbohydrates and is high in calories. This can lead to high carb levels in the body, resulting in high blood sugar levels. It also increases weight, which is also one of the reasons for diabetes and high sugar levels. It is advisable to avoid beer as much as you can or just have a minimal amount. Since it’s high in calories, it affects the liver since these calories are stored as fat in the liver.
According to the American Diabetes Association, one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men are reasonable for diabetics. One drink size is 12 oz. But still try to avoid the consumption of alcohol. There are many foods, fruits and vegetables from which you can get the nutrients instead of beer. This will be safer than beer or alcohol.
Compared to wine, beer contains many nutrients such as B vitamins, niacin, folate, selenium, fibre and protein. Also, it is a good option to manage the sugar level and avoid the risk of heart disease.
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