The Health Benefits of Drinking Beer and Playing Beer Pong

March 15, 2008

Did you know that drinking beer in moderation is actually good for you? What about playing beer pong? I am going to point to a few studies that prove to you that both beer drinking and playing beer pong will make you a healthier person. Having fun while getting healthier, what a great combination!
sexy girls playing beer pong
[Doesn’t beer pong look fun? I’ll answer for you…Yes! You know you enjoy the tacky photos I post on this site!]

Beer Has Just As Many Health Benefits as Red Wine

Recent studies are showing that beer has just as much, if not more benefits than drinking red wine. Dr. Kaplan of the University of Texas has studied the impact alcohol has on health for over 40 years. Dr. Kaplan told the Journal about two recent large-scale studies that honed in on beer: in one, a look at 70,000 female nurses showed that those who drank moderate amounts of beer had less hypertension than did nurses who drank either wine or spirits. He also points to a survey of 128,934 adults in the Kaiser Permanente managed-care system. It showed that male beer drinkers among the group were at a statistically significant lower risk of coronary-artery disease than were men who drank red wine, white wine or spirits.

Beer Drinkers Less Likely to Have Heart Disease and Strokes

At the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dr. Margo A. Denke, an Associate Professor of Medicine, conducted clinical research on the health effects of alcohol, and beer in particular. The results of her 2001 study found that moderate consumption of alcohol can lower risk of heart disease and stroke. “The majority of more recent large population-based studies have observed that moderate drinking in the range of one to three drinks daily is associated with a 30-40 percent lower rate of coronary heart disease compared to non-drinking,” wrote Dr. Denke. She cited several reasons for her findings.

Moderate Beer Drinking is Healthier than Hard Alcohol

Dr. Denke believes that beer is a more beneficial alcoholic drink than spirits because beer contains many more nutrients per serving, such as protein and B-vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, cadmium and iron. She found that one to two beers a day provides 14 percent of dietary calories, 11 percent of dietary protein, 12 percent of dietary carbohydrates, nine percent of dietary phosphorus, seven percent of dietary riboflavin and five percent of dietary niacin.

What is Moderate Drinking and What is Too Much?

The studies I read said that moderate beer drinking is 2 beers a day for men and 1 beer a day for women. Binge drinking is unhealthy and does a lot of harm. So while moderate drinkers may be healthier than non-drinkers, heavy drinking is bad for you. Obviously pregnant women shouldn’t drink or anybody at risk for alcoholism. Also people with certain health challenges should not drink as well.

Different “Types” of Beer Have Different Benefits

India Pale Ales (IPA’s): IPA’s have up to 80 times the amount of hops compared to main stream beers. Hops contain a compound called polyphenols. These compounds lower cholesterol, fight cancer, and kills viruses. Just one 12 ounce glass of an IPA has a significant amount of this compound, which is enough to make a positive impact.

Stouts (Dark Beer): Stouts are beers that have a dark, creamy, and smoky finish…Guinness is probably the most popular. The crazy thing here is that they are naturally low in calories. For some reason I always thought the darker the color, the more calories the beer would contain. Stout beers often times have just a little more calories than typical “light beers”.

Wheat Beers and Hefeweizen Beer: These are medium bodied beers that are a bit cloudy. Another form of wheat beer is the Belgium White Beers (Hoegaarden is the most well-known). These are my favorite beers by far! Wheat beers have much more yeast than normal beers. Wheat beers are a great source of b vitamins and chromium. German doctors used to prescribe wheat beer to patients with vitamin deficiencies. I need to go to a doctor like that!

What is My Favorite Beer of All Time?

Not that you care, but I have to give a plug to this brewery. New Belgium Brewery in Colorado makes the best beer I have ever tasted. I have tasted a lot and I know there has to be some amazing beer in other parts of the world, but New Belgium Brewery Does it right. I am surrounded by microbreweries in Seattle, but none of them can touch this beer located many states away from me. Widmere used to be my favorite beer and it can be purchased all over the US, but New Belgium Brewery has a beer called “Mothership Wit”, which is an organic wheat beer. Out of the hundreds (thousand maybe) of different beers I’ve tried…this stuff does it for me. It is like a smoother version of Hoegaarden (which is the world dominator when it comes to “white beers”).

So How is Beer Pong Healthy for You?

Well, you consume healthy beer while playing! You also may burn 20-30 calories in a competitive match. I really wanted an excuse to do a post on beer pong for a while, because it is actually pretty fun. A lot of people think you need a ping pong table to play, which isn’t the case.

[Learn how to play beer pong with this 2 minute instructional video.]

Note: I Realize Some People Won’t Enjoy This Post

Some people are completely against beer consumption. Yes…it is actually hard for me to understand what life would be like without beer, but it’s true! I realize I have a fitness site here, but I want people to know you can “live a little” and do fun things and still be healthy and look great. It’s all about moderation.

Question to the Readers in the UK, Germany, and Australia

Are the rumors true that there are beer gardens and cool pubs all over the place in your country? Please tell me this is a reality! I have seen incredible pictures of German beer gardens and it looks like something I need to experience. I also want to watch a Football (soccer) match in a pub in London and go to a beach bar in Australia. We all need to have goals!

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Rusty Moore

----> (New) Facebook Comments..."Cause all the cool kids are doin' it!"

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Ricky March 15, 2008 at 5:24 am

Yes indeed, the fun stuff can be good stuff too. I myself however do not drink alcohol on a regular basis. I should however, start chugging down a glass of Hoegaarden every night then. What is your favorite beer, Rusty?
PS. You should check out this guy’s blog, its pretty fun and he has that toned look you describe but I think you should reach him before he puts on too much mass.
http://rtp-blog.com

beza1e1 March 15, 2008 at 6:12 am

In the southeast of Germany (i.e. Bavaria) probably every town of a couple thousand and more citizens has it’s own brewery. Beer isn’t alcohol there, it’s staple food. Ok, not really true, but close. ;)

Tip: You should learn sheepshead for the full bavarian pub experience. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheepshead

Caveat: Bavarians are not as open-hearted as Americans.

Helder March 15, 2008 at 10:04 am

I love to drink a few beers with my friends, and yes beer in moderation has good health benefits, it’s good for your Heart and for the bones. It prevents Heart diseases and ostheoporosis, another very good benefit from beer is that it tastes really good lol:)

john March 15, 2008 at 11:15 am

wine can aid sports recovery and enhance fat loss. at least according to tim ferris the 4 hour body dude. Since my operation last year I have substantially cut back on liquor, consuming 1 or 2 drinks per month.

admin March 15, 2008 at 1:50 pm

Ricky,

Yeah…I don’t think people should necessarily feel the need to drink beer if they aren’t beer drinkers, but if you do decide to do it. Hoegaarden is an excellent choice. My favorite beer is Mothership Wit, by New Belgium Brewery…you can only find this stuff on the western half of the US right now, but it is outstanding. I go to beer festivals several times per year, so I know a good beer when I taste it. I visited that guy’s website. It is well put together. It looks like he is a follower of Tom Venuto’s stuff. I like Tom’s courses as well…a very good value. I have a feeling that this guy is going to slowly try to get bigger and bigger, but he does look great now.

Andreas,

Good to hear from you again. That is a great tip on learning sheepshead! I want to go to Bavaria and not look like the typical dorky American tourist. I think being good at sheepshead will help! Also…I’m good at loosening up people who are a bit closed off. Sounds like a place I need to visit.

Helder,

Beer does taste good. Anyone that claims otherwise is just wrong!

John,

Wine is great stuff as well. I prefer beer, but drink wine when I’m pretending to be sophisticated around women. It works well for about 15 minutes.

Rusty

Stephen March 15, 2008 at 2:19 pm

As a college student I come in contact with beer pong a lot. I am not that much of a beer game person as I gained weight on my lower abdominals area from a 6 month party streak, and on an ectomorph like me it looks bizarre.
On the topic of beer, I’ve dropped the cheap stuff and mainly drink stouts and wheat beer. I’ve also noticed that after 1 beer, my senses are sort of heightened, but that deteriorates the more that is consumed.
Love the site, when are you gonna help us ectomorphs who struggle to gain weight and muscle?

Chuck March 15, 2008 at 5:19 pm

Hi Rusty, thanks for your blog. I am actually rereading through some of your information. I used to be a serious lifter and actually got really large. Now I’m in the process of reducing myself…literally. Do you think for someone who’s large, high reps might be helpful and loads of cardio? I know you recommend low volume heavy work but if I have muscle I want to reduce, should High reps be used. I’m 38 and don’t want the man boobs that I see some guys my age are getting…and these guys are former bodybuilders.

Thank you for all your advice here. Most guys want to opposite of what I want. This place is a breath of fresh air. Note to all guys out there…after a while you’ll get tired of looking like a gorilla.

Jenny March 15, 2008 at 6:17 pm

I actually played beer pong just a week ago, and my team lost both rounds. Which meant we had to down a shot of tequila each. Urgh. And I was stuck with 5 pints throughout the game.
Next week we are trying “Drinking Twister” for my 21st. =)

Ron March 15, 2008 at 11:28 pm

Sounds like I need a “mothership connection,” so I can get funked up.

admin March 16, 2008 at 4:24 am

Stephen,

I can easily teach ectomorphs how to gain muscle. I am 6’3″ and went from 180 up to close to 230 and now I’m back down to 185-190. My recommendation is to focus on getting stronger while staying lean. I can teach you how to pile on muscle, but it is very easy to overdue it…plus then you might become an “addict” where you never feel big enough. I’ll do some muscle building posts, but I like to do as few as possible, since my blog is against excessive muscle gains.

Chuck,

Yes…I used to have 30+ pounds more muscle than I have now. The only time it felt useful was in the gym. It is tiring lugging around that much weight! I never realized how corny it looked until many years later. A big muscular guy looks like he is “trying to hard” too look good. When he wears a tank top, his muscles may look impressive…but it still sends the corny “trying too hard” vibes. It is hard to explain this to a young testosterone loaded guy in his late teens or early 20’s. I’m doing my best to spread the gospel of staying lean and athletic vs. mindlessly getting as big as possible.

Your main strategy is to “avoid the pump” when you workout from now on. Then hit cardio like a mad man. Do this under a calorie deficit. High reps are alright if you are talking about doing circuit training workouts for calorie burning. High reps aren’t ideal, if you are talking about the typical bodybuilder sets of 10-15 with 2 minutes rest in between sets. You really have to completely think different and opposite of a bodybuilder if you want to drop your bodyweight.

The reason I recommend low reps and less sets is that this keeps the volume of lifting down. Low volume lifting is good for building muscle density without building size. Bodybuilders typically do a large volume of lifting and that is why they stick to 6-12 reps and do many sets.

You also want to avoid training to failure or forced reps or negatives. You should never require a spotter for anything, because you are going to stop a rep or two short of failure every time. This will insure that the muscle doesn’t get broken down. Remember this is how muscle growth occurs…breaking down the muscle by lifting in a specific way and then eating enough to rebuild that muscle to a slightly larger size.

So avoid the typical bodybuilding techniques when you lift and save your intensity for the cardio portion of you workout.

Jenny,

Tequila is definitely a “young person’s” drink. All of us eventually give up tequila after a bad experience. It is not “if” it is going to happen, but “when”. Most people over the age of 25 just drink a few margarita’s every now and then. Someday you will know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. That round of beer pong sounded brutal, but I remember what is was like to be 20. I would have been all over it. Good luck next week!

Ron,

Darn it…this is the Internet! Now someone will find out my true business…the dealing of incredible tasting micro-brews. Since you can’t get Mothership Wit…search for Hoegaarden if you haven’t tried it. It is pretty close to the same taste. Also…Samuel Adams just released Samuel Adams White Ale. I haven’t tried it, but they normally make decent stuff. I have a feeling Hoegaarden is your better choice.

Rusty

Seiyul March 16, 2008 at 10:33 am

First off, great site Rusty.

How much do you think is the actual health benefits of beer, vs. the culture of male beer drinkers? The reason I ask is that it’s really common to see guys who play sports drink beer together after games, you get more beer drinkers among active ‘jocks’. So I would think some of these studies are probably studying guys who have more active lifestyles compared to your sedentary wine or whisky sipper.

And yes, I’m active (cardio and weights), and yes, I love beer!

admin March 16, 2008 at 11:24 pm

Seiyul,

I never really thought about it that way. It does look like they did a very large population pool in a few of their studies and the results were statistically significant…but you have made a good point.

Stay active and enjoy the taste of beer! Great words of wisdon Seiyul.

Have a great one!

Rusty

www.thesarasotadeed.com March 16, 2008 at 11:36 pm

haha.. this is good & surprising @ the same time Rusty.. Can’t go wrong with Coors Light.. The best “hot day at the beach” beer in the world! (Right behind Corona).. I guess if you’re gonna drink it, go light..

admin March 16, 2008 at 11:43 pm

Justin,

Coors Light is really good. I like it best in a can for some reason and Bud Light in a bottle. I am getting too particular in my old age!

Have you tried Corona Light? It is a really good light beer…one of the best in my opinion. I love hot days at the beach. I can’t wait for summer.

Bring it on!

Rusty

Gators March 17, 2008 at 1:21 am

Rusty, most the good pubs with beergardens around sydney are in the beachside suburbs, so you can literally walk from the beach, cross the road and be sitting in a beer garden within seconds with minimal dresscode until after dark. sunday afternoons are great for this and there’s always a mix of international babes that usually stay in these suburbs. you can google ‘coogee bay hotel’, ‘bondi hotel’, ‘beach road hotel’, ‘northies cronulla’ ‘beach palace coogee’ to get a better idea. they are all really big pubs that turn into pubs/niteclubs at night. hot babes, neverending supply of beer…you’d love it!

Russell Campbell March 17, 2008 at 6:53 am

Hey Rusty,

I have had great beers all over the world but some of the most fun I have had is here in Japan during the summer. This is when the beer gardens open on top of office buildings all over the city centers. Usually its a 2 hour all u can drink and eat deal with korean style barbecue, big screen sports and a party atmosphere that sets one up for a great night out. I also feel that moderation is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle for the long term. Going cold turkey on everything life has to offer is just setting one up for failure as life must be lived to a certain degree to be worthwhile.

Cheers, Russell

admin March 17, 2008 at 10:18 am

Gators,

Australian beaches sound like they are well thought out! A beer garden within walking distance to the beach is flat out amazing. I get happy just thinking about it. The clubs are probably amazing at night, because people look so much better after a day at the beach. I simply must experience this.

Russell,

That would be nuts to have a party on top of an office building where someone worked. What a great idea! I took 4 years of Japanese back in school, because I have always wanted to visit Japan. The culture fascinates me. The Beer, BBQ, and Big screen TV on top of an office building sells me on the idea of visiting Japan even more.

Great Stuff!

Rusty

Matt March 17, 2008 at 3:56 pm

Rusty,

Dude so since i dont have to be at work till 5pm today I decided to chill at this resturante that carries “mothership wit” and just read and write on the outside patio( its around 70 degrees right now where i live in south texas). Hey your right, that beer is badass! I appreciate the recomendation, It was a very relaxing moment.

-matt

admin March 18, 2008 at 2:24 am

Matt,

Mothership Wit, makes my whole body relax. It is beer perfection. I have only been drinking it for a month…I think it is pretty new. I don’t want to overdue it, by drinking it non-stop until I get sick of it. Who am I kidding…I could never get sick of it!

I am completely jealous that your weather is nice enough to sit out on the patio and drink a beer! I can’t wait for summer.

Rusty

Peter March 18, 2008 at 10:17 am

Hey Rusty, This is somewhat off topic but had a question. I am 21 and 6 foot around 175. I have plenty of muscle and got the last 10 to lose before everything really pops. However I am terrified of losing hard earned muscle by not eating before working out. Whats best to burn fat and not lose muscle, eating a protein snack a couple hours before working out, or can i just eat a large meal after and not worry about losing muscle? Thanks

Christopher M March 18, 2008 at 12:32 pm

Sorry man, just not going to convince me to drink beer, even if its good for me! I just cannot stand the stuff! blech!

admin March 19, 2008 at 2:01 am

Peter,

The HGH release that happens when you workout hard on an empty stomach, more than makes up for not eating protein before your workout. Workout on an empty stomach, and then eat more after your workout. You will burn fat and maintain or even gain muscle.

Christopher,

I know some people don’t like beer…I can’t comprehend it! Actually that is cool. I didn’t like it the first 3-4 times a tried it, but now I think it is “heavenly”!

Rusty

Matt July 7, 2008 at 6:14 pm

Hey Rusty what do you think about Sierra Nevada Wheat?? I really respect your taste in beer, you seemed to hit the jackpot with mothership wit!

peace,
matt

admin July 8, 2008 at 3:35 pm

Matt,

I love the idea of having a fitness site that discusses beer in detail. That just makes me happy! most Sierra Nevada stuff is pretty decent. I know I have had their wheat before but it has been a while. A good excuse to sample it again.

I am such a big fan of Mothership Wit, that I have a tough time with other White and Wheat beers.

You know what I like in the summer. Corona Light without lime. It is much better than regular Corona and it is a light beer with a decent taste. I know it is common, but a solid choice.

I go to 3 large beerfests each year…it is a big hobby of mine :)

Rusty

Matt July 8, 2008 at 9:22 pm

So I tried the Nevada Wheat last night and didnt like it at all. Or maybe because I had a mothership first and anything following that beer is not going to taste that great.

What do you think of German beer?? Have you ever had a DARK wheat beer or a weiss dunkel?! They have it at this german resturante(Freisisenhaus) in my town(new braunfels) on tap. Its amazing! The owner gets all his beer on tap from Germany. He’s got hofbräu original and hofbräu dunkel on tap. And he just got in this dark wheat beer thats amazing! Its almost up there with mothership, its kind of different but just as smooth!

I’ll have to try the Corona Light, I like regular Corona so I’ll definatly give it a shot. What do you think about the heineken light?

admin July 9, 2008 at 11:16 pm

Matt,

I don’t remember liking Nevada Wheat…or at least in didn’t make an impression. Mothership Wit, changed the game for everyone! An amazing organic beer that is smooth with flavor.

I need to try some dark wheat beers. We have some German pubs in a small neighborhood near downtown Seattle.

I think you will like Corona light for the summer. It is refreshing and I swear it gets colder than most beers!

Rusty

Brad February 10, 2009 at 1:50 am

I binge drink like there’s no tomorrow- it’s the only thing that keeps my body fat up. I don’t drink daily or even weekly but that Native American in me just wont let up with the feelings right and the night is young, then not young then old and then it’s the next day. Oh well, at least there’s always something to work on.

Julian July 31, 2009 at 8:25 am

I love your remark about beer drinking but my problem is that i drink at least 3 to 4 boltle every day. i hope it will not affect my health,
cheers

Andy A Thomas January 30, 2010 at 3:13 am

Hey Rusty

Yeah its true about the beer gardens being everywhere in Australia. We even have rooftop ones right in the middle of the city in Melbourne aswell as all along the coast line.

Andy A

ali August 23, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Rusty. What a good page you got here. I realize its been a while since this talk was going on. I’m from Manchester, England and yes. We have thousands of pubs all over our small country. In the neighborhood I live in the are like 6 pubs within a 5 minute walk from my house which means many pleasant intoxicated walks home without having to worry bout driving!
Many of the pubs have beer gardens but the weather here in usually pretty bad so beer gardens are pretty much smoking areas nowadays. Except for summer!
I love my beer just like everyone else on this page. Glad to find out my nagging girlfriend was wrong about the bad effects of beer. Haha. Mothership wit sounds great. I’m gonna have to find me a few to experience the taste first hand! There are many great beers all over europe too. If you ever get the chance. Try travel through europe, concentrating on beer. Haha. Just make sure you do it in the summer! I remember when me and my friends went on a school trip to austria where the legal age to drink beer is 16! Getting served in an austrian bar when your 15 is a good feeling!
Well. I hope I answered a few questions from this side of the pond! Thanks again rusty! And keep knocking back those beers and we will all live long and healthy lives!

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