Switching to a light beer is a great way to cut calories when trying to lose weight. Unlike regular beer, light beer contains a minuscule amount of sugar that may have something to do with the way it’s brewed. However, is it a healthier version?
Drinking the same amount of light beer as usual may not reduce weight gain as much as we think. However, it may be a better alternative under certain conditions.
Light beers are typically lager-style . Such a beer has fewer calories brewed in the wort at first, so there are fewer calories and carbohydrates in the finished beer. Sometimes this also means a slightly lower alcohol content.
For example, a normal Heineke contains 5% alcohol, while its light version reaches 3%. Keep in mind that lower alcohol or carbohydrate content may result in a slightly less flavorful beer. So the “light” in beer refers to the carbohydrate content, but also implies a bit of the rest.
Light beer in alcohol
To be described as low in alcohol, a beer must contain less than 1.2%. In contrast, reduced-alcohol beer means that it has an alcohol content below the average concentration for that type of beer.
Both versions tend to be lower in calories. For example, a half pint of light beer contains about 60 calories, compared to a regular strength lager with more than 100 calories.
Light beers in carbohydrates
Although there is no set definition of low-carb beer, regular beer contains about 11 grams of carbs per half pint, while low-carb beers tend to have 2 grams per same-size serving.
Remember that low-carb beer is only brewed to remove carbs, so it could have the same alcohol content as standard beer. Low carb beers are also quite hard to find in Spain.
The nutritional profile of beer will vary greatly depending on the brand and its alcohol content by volume.
Some brands offer a light beer alternative that contains less than 100 calories per 350ml serving, while others go a little higher, between 120 and 130 calories.
For comparison, a typical can of beer contains 155 calories and 13 grams of carbohydrates, but this depends on the brand. For example, a Budweiser contains 145 calories at 5 percent alcohol, while an IPA contains 198 calories at 6.5 percent alcohol.
This can make light beer attractive as a lower-calorie option. However, it’s important to note that light beer also has a lighter alcohol content, around 3 percent, while regular beer is between 3 and 8 percent alcohol.
As for its sugar content, a can of light beer has 0.3 grams of sugar. The same serving of regular beer has zero grams of sugar. The fermentation process of the low-sugar extract used to make light beer may explain why light beer has more sugar than regular beer. However, although there is some sugar, it is not much and it is not added sugar.
Light beer is made with a low-sugar cereal extract, which allows for less fermentation and less alcohol production. Alcohol is a source of calories, with 7 calories per gram. By comparison, 1 gram of carbohydrate or protein has 4 calories, while 1 gram of fat has 9 calories. Light beers have fewer calories than regular beer because they contain less alcohol, ranging from 3 to 4 percent , while regular beer is between 5 and 10 percent alcohol.
Also, it’s not so much the sugar that we should be worrying about in light beer, but the calories. The calories in alcohol are empty calories , meaning they offer no nutritional value. So, if we normally eat 1,800 calories a day, a 100-calorie can of light beer consumes 55 percent of our calories, from alcohol and a little sugar.
Differences with normal beer
In both beers, most of the calories come from the alcohol. The rest of the calories are from carbohydrates.
Light soft drinks achieve the calorie reduction by substituting artificial sweeteners for sugar, but light beer achieves the calorie reduction through a slightly different brewing process compared to regular beer.
Light beer contains less alcohol, which can be good or bad depending on our goal. If we want to get a fun and dizzying effect with a light beer, a bottle or can may not be enough. Therefore, we will end up drinking two, which will paradoxically cause us to consume more calories than we would with a normal beer.
When it comes to flavor, light beer tastes watered down compared to regular beer. However, brands are quickly adapting so that low-alcohol or low-carb versions taste nearly identical.
Also, it’s best not to think light beer is healthier than regular beer. Instead, we will think about whether the product we choose really meets our needs. If we believe that drinking less alcohol would benefit health, or if a doctor has recommended that we reduce alcohol consumption to help reduce the risk of certain conditions, we will choose a low-alcohol or non-alcoholic beer.
Even if we’re following a ketogenic diet or looking to consume fewer calories, light beer might be a better choice. In that case, we’ll read the label and make sure it’s a low-calorie or low-carb beer. In addition, moderate and occasional consumption is recommended.