Whole Food Plant-Based Diet and Alcohol

Clients frequently ask: “Can I Drink Alcohol on a Plant-Based Diet?”

Beer might appear to be an entirely plant-based food. Despite what many people think, beer frequently contains animal products. Sometimes animal products are used to brew alcoholic drinks, especially beer. You might not want to drink alcohol if you are serious about being healthy.

In another sense, moderate drinking can be healthy or neutral. It can be a fun way to socialize and relieve stress. It is also easy to find a bottle of beer made exclusively from plants. A very healthy person may drink a moderate amount of alcohol from time to time. Drinking may be part of a healthy diet.

Whole Food Plant-Based Diet and Alcohol

Health Risks Associated With Alcohol

In recent studies, moderate alcohol consumption has been linked to many health benefits, including a decreased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, congestive heart disease, total mortality, and even diabetes. However, these benefits are not without risk. Drinking moderately can increase your risk of several cancers, including:

Liver cancer
Oral/Esophageal cancer (mouth, throat, larynx, pharynx, esophagus)
Stomach cancer
Breast cancer
Prostate cancer
Pancreatic cancer
Colorectal cancer
Skin cancer
Brain cancer

Does Alcohol Increase Your Potential Lifespan?

Some argue that moderate drinkers have other healthy habits that increase their lifespan. Therefore, you need to consider this when drinking alcohol on a plant-based diet.

Based on a large study of 124,000 individuals conducted in the early 2000s, alcohol reduces heart attacks and reduces death rates in general [4]. The study is significant because it provides strong evidence that alcoholic drinks can lead to longer lifespans.

It is important to remember that excessive drinking is much worse for your health than moderate drinking. Those who have ever been incarcerated for alcoholism have a life expectancy of 24 or 28 years below the general population [5]. No matter what your other habits are, heavy drinking can kill you. Drinking moderately will not save you from unhealthy habits, but only improve your health

Red Wine as an Alternative to Beer

It is the alcohol itself that provides most of the health benefits when you drink alcohol. Red wine is the healthiest alcoholic drink you can find, not beer. Plant-based diets provide more polyphenols, which is one of the benefits. The polyphenols in red wine which are antioxidants make it a perfect addition to a plant-based diet.

In general, moderate drinking is good for you, or at the very least, it is compatible with good health. It can be part of a whole foods plant-based diet and even of a vegan diet. One must, however, remember that light drinking is moderate drinking. You should limit your drinking to one or two drinks a day.