Can I Drink Beer and Workout
Everyone who works out has an opinion on beer. And of course if
you are on steroids there are obvious implications. But if you are training
steroid free, can you drink??
The answer is simple - yes and no!!
Here's a couple of interesting articles explaining the
"benefits" of moderate beer consumption, and the
"problems" with it.....
Beer: Tastes Great, Less Filling - and Good For You?
Bring up the subject of beer in any group of fitness-minded
people, and you'll likely get a wide range of opinions, from naysayers who think
a cold brew is the work of the devil to enthusiasts who consider it a gift from
the gods. Even among the positive responses, however, you're not likely to hear
beer defended as a nutritionally rich and healthy beverage.
Yet studies have shown that beer ranks surprisingly high on the
nutrition scale, far above other popular beverages such as soda. Of course, the
consequences of consuming too much beer are well known, so with a nod to common
sense and responsible behavior, let's take a look at the history of this cold,
frothy favorite and the reasons why researchers still think beer does a body
Beverage of the Gods
The fact that beer is both attacked and praised with religious
fervor shouldn't be surprising -- it has quite a religious background.
Historians on the subject (and there are many) have traced beer back 6,000 years
to the Sumerians, who considered it a divine gift and offered it to their gods.
By the second millennium B.C., the Sumerians were history, so to
speak, but the Babylonians had absorbed their culture, and their taste for beer.
Records show that they had about 20 different types of brew on tap. And even
though there's no mention of anything like a Super Bowl party in Babylon, beer
was still a hot commodity and strictly rationed. The typical blue loincloth
worker received a happy hour maximum of two liters a day. Civil servants fared
better at three liters, while the bureaucrats and high priests unwound after a
hard day at the office with five liters.
Fast forward to modern times and we find that those high priests
were on to a good thing. Dr. Paul T. Williams of the Lawrence Berkeley National
Laboratory published a runners health study that raised quite a few eyebrows,
and probably a few glasses of beer, too. The study says that combining a
vegetarian or low-fat diet with strenuous exercise and moderate alcohol intake
(like beer) appears to raise levels of beneficial cholesterol (HDL). The
research suggests that distance running and alcohol intake contribute
independently, and cooperatively, to the production of HDL in runners.
Now, you wouldn't want to jump to the conclusion that blasting
down a six-pack before running a marathon is a good thing. The term moderate
means a glass of wine or beer with lunch and dinner, or one to two glasses of
beer a day. (If you still feel like running a marathon after that, you're a
prime candidate for the next runners health study.)
Another study done by the American Cancer Society claims beer
may reduce the risk of death due to cancer. It was the largest ever study on
drinking, and almost half a million middle-aged and elderly Americans
Researchers found that people who had a daily drink of wine,
beer and even hard liquor had a 20 percent lower overall death rate than
non-drinkers. Lead researcher Michael J. Thun, M.D., of the American Cancer
Society, said death from cardiovascular disease (heart disease, stroke and other
circulatory diseases) was 30 percent to 40 percent lower in participants who had
one drink per day.
If that's not enough, researchers have found that the hops used
to make beer do more than just add taste. At the 1998 Society of Toxicology's
annual meeting, researchers identified compounds in hops that slowed the growth
of cancer cells in test tubes while boosting cancer-fighting enzymes.
It's Good For Your Body?
All of those benefits may sound well and good, but what about
beer's nasty reputation for packing on the pounds? It turns out that the term
"beer belly" is somewhat misleading. Beer is fat-free, and when
compared to other "healthy" drinks, it actually has fewer calories.
Typically, a 12-ounce can of beer contains 151 calories - not bad when compared
to the 150 calories you typically find in just 8 ounces of fruit juice or soda.
Nonetheless, if you're obsessed with calorie counts, here's what a quick survey
of 108 mass-produced beers reveals.
LA Anheuser Busch Premium Pilsner comes in way below average
with a calorie count of 92 per bottle. That's quite unusual when compared to the
103 calories you'll get in a bottle of Miller Lite. On the opposite end of the
scale, a bottle of McEwans Scotch Ale weighs in at a hefty 294 calories. You'd
have to eat 2 ½ tablespoons of peanut butter to match that!
Not surprisingly, you'll get fewer calories and more of beer's
benefits by drinking a higher quality product. The better beers have more
protein, fewer calories, fewer carbs, and more B vitamins. So how can you
recognize a high quality beer? Among the mass-produced beers like Anheuser Busch
and Coors, price is a good reflection of the cost of their ingredients, so it's
as good a place to start as any.
But let's face it, all the trappings of mass production force
these manufacturers to look for ways to cut costs. And sadly, additives and
preservatives are common to the mass production recipe. Beer doesn't need to be
compromised with extra anti-oxidants, foam enhancers, coloring, flavorings and
enzymes. Yet the major breweries toss them in and many will substitute cheaper
ingredients, such as corn and rice, instead of barley and wheat. So it's
doubtful that any Sumerian priest would offer one of our "megabrew"
products to their gods.
To really take a step up in quality, try a beer from a
microbrewery. You'll get fewer additives and more of the good things in beer,
plus a noticeably superior flavor. Many microbreweries strive for awards as a
method of advertising. Consequently, the industry as a whole aspires to a higher
Enjoying a cold brewski doesn't have to be a religious
experience. When consumed in moderation - and when combined with a healthy diet
and lots of exercise - beer's benefits are many. So after a long day at work and
a vigorous workout at the gym, relax with a healthy dinner and a frosty mug.
Beer at a Glance
In study after study, researchers have linked the consumption of
beer or alcohol to numerous health benefits. Here's a quick breakdown of what a
cold brew may do for you:
Moderate alcohol intake raises the level of HDL, the good
It acts as a natural blood thinner, decreasing the risk of
Alcohol has been identified as an anti-inflammatory agent;
inflamed blood vessels are blamed for plaque build-up that leads to strokes
and heart disease.
Moderate drinkers have been reported to have fewer cases of
Alcohol boosts estrogen, and estrogen has been said to
reduce heart disease.
Researchers think antioxidant compounds in alcoholic drinks
offer protection from cell damage in cases of chronic disease.
Alcohol has been cited for its ability to combat viruses and
bacteria, including H. pylori, a bacterial cause of stomach ulcers; common
cold viruses; the hepatitis A virus; and microbes that cause food poisoning,
such as salmonella, E. coli and viruses in tainted oysters.
The hops used in beer have been said to slow the growth of
cancer cells in test tubes and boost a cancer-fighting enzyme.
Nine flavonoids identified in beer have slowed the growth of
human breast and ovarian cancer cells by 50 percent without side effects on
Moderate beer drinking could reduce the risk of developing
kidney stones by up to 40 percent with each beer consumed daily, according
to Finnish study.
(Copyright FitnessLink, www.fitnesslink.com. Reprinted with
Here's Tom Venutos Answer to the question...
"What do you think about drinking beer on the weekends?
How much does it slow your gains down?"
Beer and other alcoholic beverages can be enjoyed on
occasion, but only in moderation. My definition of moderation would be one or
two drinks (three at the very most) per day and only occasionally (like on the
weekends). Some studies have shown protective health benefits from drinking
small amounts of alcohol, particularly red wine. However, drinking excessively
will definitely interfere with your muscular gains, decrease your energy and
contribute to fat storage.
The primary problem with all alcohol, regardless of what form
it's in - wine, beer, or liquor - is that the calories add up so quickly. At
seven calories per gram, alcohol is the second most calorically dense nutrient
behind fat, which contains nine calories per gram. When you're trying to lose
body fat, all those extra calories certainly don't help with your fitness
endeavors. Alcohol suppresses the body's ability to burn fat. When your liver is
metabolizing alcohol, fat burning in the body stops altogether!
Alcohol dehydrates you, it interferes with the absorption of
many nutrients and excessive consumption has been linked to health problems such
as liver disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, cardiomyopathy,
abnormal heart rhythms, cancer, decreased resistance to infections, gout and
The key in developing a successful nutrition plan for
yourself is to find a happy medium that you can live with. You'll have to make
some sacrifices to develop a great body, but on the other hand, you shouldn't
deprive yourself completely either. Let's face it, eating and drinking are two
of life's greatest pleasures. If you try to be too strict by completely
abstaining from alcohol, that might not be realistic; it depends on what your
goals are and on how serious you are about achieving them. Most people just want
to be fit and lean, not necessarily huge and "ripped" like a
bodybuilder. If that's the case, then a drink or two won't slow your progress
much. However, if you are serious about getting maximum results in the minimum
amount of time, or if you are a competitive bodybuilder or athlete, then I would
advise you not to drink at all.
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