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The Health Pros and Cons of Beer Drinking

I was researching heartburn recently and was dismayed to learn that beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks can trigger heartburn.

So let us mark that as the #1 reason why I need to cut back on drinking beer (it is true, even us personal trainers have difficulties cutting back on certain unhealthy foods).

Thus I decided to research and make a list of other reasons why I should not drink beer (so often). And while I was at it I also discovered there were positives to drinking beer in moderation.

THE CONS

#1. Causes Heartburn and Stomach Ulcers

The alcohol in beer can trigger acid reflux, which in turns causes heartburn. Despite the name this doesn't actually hurt your heart, but it can cause severe chest pain and even neck pain. The acid reflux can also lead to stomach ulcers.

#2. Calories

Typically it doesn't list it on the label, but beer typically has 154 calories per 356 mL can. Lately I have been trying to solve this problem by switching to a low calorie beer that has only 80 calories in it (which is approx. 36% less calories than orange juice).

For reference, 3500 calories equals 1 lb of fat. Thus drinking 23 cans of beer over a 1 month period could cause you to gain 1 lb if you are not exercising to keep off the weight.

#3. Beer can trigger asthma attacks.

#4. Beer is harmful to someone who has a history of congestive heart failure.

#5. Drinking too much beer can cause gout, insomnia, high blood pressure, liver disease, neurological conditions, pancreatitis, and mental problems. Beer should also never be consumed 2 weeks before any kind of surgery.

THE PROS

#1. Used in moderation, beer helps prevent diseases of the heart and circulatory system, including coronary heart disease, “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), heart failure, heart attack, and stroke. Beer reduces the chance of death from heart attack and ischemic left ventricular (LV) dysfunction. While it is true that beer can prevent congestive heart failure, it actually hurts people who already have that condition.

#2. Beer is also used for treating Alzheimer's disease, weak bones (osteoporosis), gallstones, type 2 diabetes, heart disease in people with type 2 diabetes, kidney stones, prostate cancer, breast cancer, and other cancers.

#3. Beer is used by pregnant women to increase the flow of breast milk - however it should be noted that the alcohol can get into the breast milk and then trigger health problems for the baby.

#4. Beer helps stimulate the appetite and digestion.

#5. Beer prevents ulcers by reducing the chances of a Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection. H. pylori is the bacterium that causes ulcers.

CONCLUSIONS

A little beer can actually be beneficial. Too much obviously is dangerous. Perhaps I am on the right track sticking with my low calorie beer.


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