Does Beer Or Liquor Dehydrate More?

beer and alcohol dehydrating

In general, when people are thirsty, they don’t reach out for beer or liquor. Yet, an age-old belief that beer helps quench thirst and it has nothing to do when it comes to dehydrating the body. To begin with, both beer and liquor tend to dehydrate your body.

However, most people wonder: Does beer or liquor dehydrate more? Beer when consumed slowly is less dehydrating. And, that makes liquor the most dehydrating beverage. But that is not entirely true. There are other factors that can come into play Continue reading the post to learn more about it.

Which one dehydrates more: beer or liquor?

First things first, both beer and liquor have alcohol content in them. However, the bad news is that alcohol is a diuretic, which means that whatever drink you choose, it’s going to dehydrate you. Despite that, the percentage of alcohol content in these drinks plays a key role when it is to dehydration.

Speaking about the alcohol content, beer has a lower percentage. For a 12-ounce glass, the alcohol percentage is anywhere between 3 and 7%. Whereas, one shot of liquor, might contain about 70% alcohol.

As a result, beer can be said to be the least dehydrating drink compared to liquor. But there is an exception to it. If only you can keep the drink to a single serving. When you drink several beers within an hour, you may end up dehydrated the same way compared to a shot at the bar.

Why does beer or liquor dehydrate you?

Both beer and liquor tend to dehydrate you regardless of the amount you consume. But what is the exact reason? As you know, alcohol is a diuretic. Because of its unique characteristic, alcohol causes the fluids to flush out from your blood through the renal system.

As such, the bladder, uterus, and kidney remove fluids at a much faster rate compared to other liquids. Therefore, if you don’t drink enough water while consuming beer or liquor, the chances of getting dehydrated increase.

What are the reasons that encourage alcohol to dehydrate your body?

Here are the reasons why alcohol dehydrates your body when consumed in large amounts.

Alcohol tends to build up in the bloodstream

As soon as alcohol enters your bloodstream, it travels everywhere in your body. And, that includes the brain as well. This is what makes you feel dizzy and your judgment gets impaired.

In addition, alcohol can get into your lungs and is released when you breathe out. That’s why breathalyzers can detect whether or not a person is intoxicated while driving. The device can measure the amount of alcohol in your blood.

The liver absorbs alcohol and starts behaving as a diuretic

Alcohol when processed by the liver, it gets converted into acetaldehyde in large amounts. However, the substance can be toxic when you consume alcohol in large amounts. To remove the substance from your body, the liver turns it into acetate.

Apart from that, alcohol tends to reduce the quantity of vasopressin that your body makes. It is a hormone that decides how much urine the kidneys can make. As such, the suppression of this hormone results in having a diuretic and makes you feel dehydrated.

The components in alcohol get flushed from the body

Waste products including acetate are removed from your body in the form of water and carbon dioxide. While the kidneys are responsible to remove waste products, a majority of water loss is because by vasopressin.

That way, water gets flushed quickly whereas alcohol is being processed. In that situation, you have to drink an adequate amount of water while consuming alcohol. When you consume more alcohol than your body can process, the blood alcohol concentration in your body increase faster.

The body slowly metabolizes alcohol

The human body metabolizes certain components of alcohol into energy and nutrients. And, that can happen if you consume one beer, a shot of liquor, or a small glass of wine per hour.

Are there ways to prevent dehydration?

Yes, there are certain preventive measures that you can take to make sure that your body stays hydrated even if you consume a considerable amount of beer or liquor. So, before you plan for a night of drinking, follow these practices. That will prevent the effects of dehydration when you consume these alcoholic drinks.

Drink plenty of water

It is wise to drink at least 16-ounce of water for every 12-ounce of beer. Besides, you should have the same amount of water with 4 to 6 ounces of liquor. Water helps replenish the fluids in your body and keeps you hydrated.

Have some vitamin-rich food

Whenever you plan to drink hard, it is good to slightly fill your stomach with vitamin-rich food. Consuming vitamin-enriched food balances the loss of nutrients while you are drinking.

Choose light-colored drinks

Distilled, dark liquors such as brandy or whiskey contain congeners such as acetaldehyde and tannins in higher amounts. Congeners tend to dehydrate you fast and can make you more uncomfortable when it’s a hangover.

Take it slow

While it is good to have some fun and relax, consuming beer or liquor in large amounts isn’t good for your health. Hence, try to take one drink per hour so that your body gets enough time to process alcohol. Moreover, try to reduce your daily intake of liquor or beer.

Understand how your body reacts to alcohol

There is no denying that everyone processes alcohol differently. Therefore, have them at the rate that makes you feel comfortable. Whenever you feel weak, nauseous, or dizzy, switch to water. Also, you can consume healthy food and stop drinking immediately for the moment.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are having beer or liquor, pay close attention to how your body reacts. This is the only way to avoid dehydration and prevent any damage to your body. Gender, age, genes, and weight play an important factor when it comes to processing alcohol by your body.

So, even if beer dehydrates you less compared to liquor, it is good to follow drinking habits that are best suited for you. While it is fun to have a few drinks, having a hungover and feeling dehydrated isn’t good either.



Dan Specht

Dan has been homebrewing beer for 8 years and holds a level 2 certifiication as a Cicerone.

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