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Does Beer Really Have to Make You Pee More?

Um, water makes you have to pee, too, but I don’t hear you complaining

There are so many myths about beer, like that it’ll give you a beer belly or that it makes you have to pee more. Neither are inherently true! I’ve already debunked the beer belly thing, so now it’s time to address the latter. 

Beer makes you have to pee frequently because you’re consuming a ton of liquid. Say you’re chillin’ and grillin’ on a summer holiday, maybe drinking a bottle of Budweiser or two an hour. Maybe you even shotgun a can. Now compare that hour or two to an occasion where you’re just drinking water. I doubt you’d be consuming nearly as much of it. 

Maybe you’re thinking that beer makes you have to pee way more than wine or liquor. Again, quantity! Volume! A whole bottle of wine is only an ounce more liquid than two 12-ounce bottles of beer. Meanwhile, a single serving of liquor is 1.5 ounces. I don’t know how you take your booze, but I’d predict you probably do a 2:1 ratio, mixer to liquor, maybe less. Even if you’re doing two shots, coming out to three ounces of liquor and six ounces of mixer, you’re still three ounces behind a single beer and twice as drunk. 

This presents a whole ’nother conundrum. Not only do we generally drink more liquid per serving of beer than other alcoholic beverages, we have to drink a lot more of it to get a similar buzz, too. While a 12-ounce beer and a 1.5-ounce shot are considered equal amounts of alcohol, per the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, there’s a huge difference in the amount of time it takes for you to drink it. With that in mind, if you’re trying to get a buzz off the beer, you’re again going to be drinking a greater volume of liquid in a shorter amount of time. 

There is truth to the idea that beer makes you have to pee more than water or soda or what-have-you, but that’s because all alcohol will. Alcohol, as a diuretic, can cause your kidneys to release more water from the body. As such, you’re peeing out a bit more liquid than you put in. That said, there’s some evidence that the higher the ABV, the stronger the diuretic effect. In a study of elderly men published in the July 2017 issue of the medical journal Nutrients, wine and liquor had more of a diuretic effect than beer, because they contain more alcohol per ounce. 

So, technically, beer might make you pee less than other alcoholic beverages. 

But honestly, who cares? 

Just go pee, and get back to your beer already.