Ask Gutbliss: Alcohol & Gut Health

Gutbliss Reader Question: When you say “alcohol,” what specifically do you mean: beer or wine or the hard stuff, or all of it? Also, what are your recommendations for alcohol intake, as it pertains to gut and microbial health? –Dana


At Gutbliss, when we refer to alcohol, we’re talking about any beverage containing alcohol – beer, wine (red or white), and liquor (vodka, gin, whisky, and so on).


We recommend not exceeding 10 alcoholic beverage servings throughout the week (not all in one sitting!) for men, and 5 for women. So what exactly is a serving size? -a glass of wine to you may be ¼ cup, while a glass of wine to your neighbor may mean 1 cup. According to the National Institutes of Health, the recommended alcoholic beverage serving sizes are as follows:


Liquor (80 proof): 1.5 fl oz

Wine (red, white, and sweet wines): 5 fl oz

Beer (regular ~5% alcohol)): 12 fl oz

Beer (malt ~7% alcohol): 8-9 fl oz


When it comes to the gut and microbial health, not all alcohol is created equal. Studies show that alcohol in excessive amounts (exceeding 10 drinks weekly) has a detrimental affect on the microbiome and the digestive system as a whole. Yet, some studies show that moderate consumption of red wine, may actually encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria.


If you’re experiencing general digestive upset (bloating, gas, or abdominal pain), suffer from a digestive condition or disease, and/or have microbial imbalance, we recommend avoiding alcohol altogether for a period of time, until your symptoms improve. If you have a healthy gut (and your bowel movements agree), consume alcohol in moderation and choose red wine when possible.




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