Is Beer Paleo? Is Mead Paleo? | The Paleo Diet®
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Is Beer Paleo?

By Nell Stephenson, B.S.
June 2, 2015
Jon Parry/
Jon Parry/

Is there room for a pint of beer on The Paleo Diet® now and again? While beer is never Paleo, you can enjoy it in moderation as part of the 85/15 rule.

Why isn't beer Paleo? The Beer Academy defines beer as a beverage containing barley, hops, water, and yeast.1 Since barley is a grain, which falls outside of Paleo guidelines, then beer is technically off the table, too. Even gluten-free beers are grain-based, and grains contain anti-nutrients that can lead to leaky gut syndrome and other digestive issues.

Similarly, wine and mead are on the non-Paleo list as well. Wine often contains sulfites, an additive that can lead to stomach pain or even hives and wheezing. Mead, an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water, fruits, spices, grains, or hops, isn’t the most Paleo of beverages, either.

So, what can we drink then, aside from water on the rocks?

Explaining the 85/15 Principle
By Aimee McNew

Better Alternatives to Beer

When you're tempted to grab a frosty glass of beer, consider a few other healthier-for-you options instead. Also, remember to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated when you indulge in that rare libation!

Sulfite-Free Red Wine

While wine isn't technically Paleo and you'd still need to consume it as part of your 85/15 rule, sulfite-free red wine is the best choice for when you are going to indulge in a glass. Unlike beer, red wine actually contains certain health benefits including high levels of heart-healthy resveratrol.

“Red wine is clearly the drink of choice if you are doing light to moderate drinking for your health, and daily consumption just before or with the evening meal may be the most protective pattern,” said Dr. James O’Keefe, MD, Chief of Preventive Cardiology at Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City.2 The key is to look for wines that are sulfite-free,3 and to keep it to a glass or two, rather than binging on boxed wine or drinking too close to bedtime.

Neat, non-grain based spirits

Grape vodka, gin made from juniper berries, and pure tequila, served neat or on the rocks, also make viable options as a drink of choice. Just be sure your beverages don't contain any added sugars.


The best thing you can do is nix the alcohol altogether and mix up a hydrating Paleo-friendly beverage. Plus, you can make it as simple as twisting a slice of lime into a glass of sparkling water. No shakers or bar equipment necessary!

The Bottom Line

Alcohol is still alcohol, and the less you drink, the better. However, that doesn't mean you can't indulge in the occasional celebratory glass of beer or wine.

On the days you know you'll be drinking later, be sure to drink more water than usual, load up on the veggies, good fat, and protein. You'll also want to cut back on fruit, since you’ll be getting enough simple carbohydrates from the alcohol later in the evening.

Finally, be sure to drink earlier in the night, and not right before bed. This will give you enough time to sober up before hitting the sack, and you'll be more likely to get the restful sleep you'll need for tomorrow.

Is Wine Paleo?
By Loren Cordain, Ph.D.


[1] The Beer Academy | Beer Academy | Beer Info | What Is Beer? N.p., n.d. Web. 27 May 2015.

[2] Time. Time, n.d. Web. 27 May 2015.

[3] The Paleo Diet. N.p., 18 Aug. 2014. Web. 27 May 2015.

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