Can Beer Fit into a Healthy Lifestyle?

Contributed by Carol Harrison

Canadians have long enjoyed beer as a refreshing beverage and for healthy adults, beer can be an option in a healthy balanced lifestyle when enjoyed responsibly by staying within the limits set by Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines.1

How can beer be an option in a healthy lifestyle?

When healthy food and beverage choices are made most of the time, beer can be an option in a healthy lifestyle by healthy adults who choose to drink alcohol responsibly.

To get the nourishment you need without excess calories: eating balanced meals, cooking with healthy food at home in reasonable portions, is a great place to start.

As for indulgences that offer taste and enjoyment but little or no nutritional value in return for the calories they provide - be that beer, wine, sweetened icy drinks, cakes, candy or chips - it comes down to eating them less often and in smaller amounts. Keeping track of what and how much you eat and drink can help you to see where you can cut back.

Exercise is always encouraged, but because a lot of exercise is needed to burn off relatively few calories, it’s not realistic to expect that exercise alone can make up for added calories.

What are the limits for drinking alcohol?

Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines1 set limits for low-risk drinking for healthy adults. Developed by a team of experts, the Guidelines help to promote a culture of moderation and support healthy lifestyles.

One of the strengths of the Guidelines is that they are specific. Moderation can mean different things to different people, but the Guidelines are precise about limits for the number of drinks per day and per week, as well as what constitutes “a standard drink”.


The Guidelines also list when alcohol must be avoided such as when you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, or will be operating machinery or driving. Tips for safer drinking are also included.

Find out more here.

How do the Guidelines apply to me?

If you choose to drink alcohol, discuss alcohol and your health with your medical doctor. Many personal factors, including health conditions, your medications, eating, exercise and drinking patterns can impact the information your doctor will provide about alcohol and your health.

Just as our health and lifestyle can change over time, so can the research on alcohol. That’s why it’s always preferable to get personalized advice from your medical doctor so that you can make informed decisions to manage your health.

Bottom line

Most Canadians have little room for “extras,” but when healthy choices are made most of the time, beer can be an option in a healthy lifestyle.

Note: Drinking alcohol is a personal choice. If you choose to drink, stay within the limits set in Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines. The Guidelines also list when not to drink alcohol such as when you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant or if you are operating machinery or making important decisions. If you have questions about alcohol and your health, talk to your medical doctor.


  1. Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines, 2012. Available at: Accessed February 20, 2017.