Sorry, Tequila Is Not A Health Food

It’s not a cure-all, not a stimulant and definitely not a probiotic. Let’s get our facts straight about this distinctive spirit, which does indeed have its merits.

There’s a lot of buzz on the Internets about how tequila is good for you. Depending on which breathless article you read, agave squeezins can prevent diabetes, dementia and osteoporosis, cure colds, and blast pounds. It’s even touted as a probiotic. Shots of tequila are better for you than kale smoothies! Jimmy Buffett is a nutritionist! A round of Patrón for everybody to celebrate!

We hate to rain on your margarita parade with cold hard facts, but tequila will not make you healthier. It will just make you drunk. When asked whether tequila is a superfood, a nutritionist at the University of Tennessee Medical Center who spoke anonymously because he/she didn’t get the marketing department’s permission to talk to a reporter, laughed. And laughed. And laughed.

Tequila Health Myths 

The most ridiculous claim about tequila as a health elixir is that it’s a probiotic. Probiotics are live bacteria that keep your digestive system healthy. You find them in yogurt. Tequila is alcohol. Guess how many living organisms can survive in 100-proof alcohol? Zero.

There is a shred of science in one claim. A 2014 study found that tequila contains a type of sugar that can lower glucose levels in diabetics and promote weight loss. The problem is that the study was done on mice, not humans, and the mice were fed an ingredient found in tequila, not tequila itself. Until mice can do shots, or until someone gets a research grant to feed tequila to overweight type 2 diabetics for the sake of science, mark this one as iffy.

Another tequila myth: It’s an upper, not a downer. It will make you happy. People cry in their martinis but they smile over their tequila. I mean, Pee Wee Herman tequila dance, right? Wrong. Tequila is a depressant. It will make you just as sad as cheap beer and country music.

Myths busted. On to tequila truths.

It has fewer calories than other alcohols.
A shot has 65 calories. Bourbon, gin and vodka have about 100 calories per shot. This does not mean tequila is a weight-loss aid. Fake news. You will not lose weight drinking tequila. You will just get fat more slowly.

It’s less likely to give you a hangover than other alcohols.
Hard to believe because tequila hangovers have a rep for being epic. But here’s a quick chemistry lesson: There are toxic chemicals in alcohol called congeners. They’re the wankers that make your head pound and your stomach swirl the morning after. Top-shelf silver or blanco tequila has almost no congeners. So a knee-walking, commode-hugging hangover is your fault, not the tequila’s. If you’re hurting after a night of margaritas, you:

A. Drank cheap tequila

B. Drank a dark variety like anejo or reposado

C. Drank too much

D. All of the above

Tequila Types

You’re asking, anejo what? It’s one of five types of tequila.

Gold: This is crap. Stay away. It has artificial coloring to make it look like good tequila. This is the stuff sports bars put in margaritas and serve in plastic cups to frat boys and divorced middle-aged men on Two-fer Tuesdays.

Silver: Also known as blanco. It’s the official tequila of margaritas. It’s clear and only aged for a couple of weeks, so it has the truest tequila flavor out there.

Reposado: Aged for a year, giving it a gold hue and a mild taste. Good for shots.

Anejo: Aged for two months to three years. It’s dark, smooth and good for sipping.

Extra Anejo: This is the pricy stuff. It’s aged for more than three years and has a deep, smooth flavor. Sip it, savor it. Don’t waste it in shots or mixed drinks.

We leave you with a classic margarita recipe and one last piece of advice: Never make the rookie mistake of switching from margaritas to shots. Never.