In the past beer was seen as beneficial to your health, because it was often more sanitary than local water supplies.

The water used to make beer was boiled early on in the brewing process which killed any bacteria. The alcohol produced during fermentation with the addition of hops helped to preserve it, creating a sanitary drink.

It might come as a surprise to those that associate beer drinking with being overweight but, “there is not a trace of fat in beer”. Brewers and beer connoisseurs have known this for quite a while. Even the slightest traces of fat or oil in beer can destroy its flavor. It is the calories that help form the dreaded beer belly.

Beer and Nutrition

Regular Beer Light Beer Bud Light Michelob Ultra
Water 327.4g* 335.8g 336.3g 337.7g
Calories 153* 103 110 96
Alcohol 13.9g* 11.0g 11.7g 11.3g
Protein 1.6g* 0.9g 0.9g 0.6g
Carbohydrate 12.6g* 5.8g 6.6g 2.6g
Fat 0.0g 0.0g 0.0g 0.0g
Cholesterol 0.0g 0.0g 0.0g 0.0g
Calcium 14mg 14mg 11mg 14mg
Magnesium 21mg 18mg 25mg 14mg
Phosphorous 50mg 42mg 39mg 28mg
Potassium 96mg 74mg 92mg 60mg
Sodium 14mg 14mg 11mg 11mg
Niacin 2mg 1mg N/A** N/A**
Folate 21mcg 21mcg N/A** N/A**
*Include ales, lagers, porters, premium beers, and stouts. All other nutrients based on lager samples

A Physicians Point of View

Despite the name, beer is not specifically responsible for the beer belly. Research from the beer-loving Czech Republic tells the tale. In a study of nearly 2,000 adults, beer consumption was not related to girth.

If it’s not beer, what is to blame? The culprit is calories; if you take in more calories with food and drink than you burn up with exercise, you’ll store the excess energy in fat cells. And unfortunately for men, their abdominal fat cells seem to enlarge more readily than the abdominal fat cells in women.

But although beer is not a special problem, it can add to abdominal obesity by contributing calories.

In round numbers, a standard 12-ounce beer contains about 150 calories; a light beer, about 110 calories. For comparison, a 5½-ounce glass of wine or a 1½-ounce shot of hard liquor provides about 100 calories. Since all these beverages contain approximately the same amount of alcohol, you can see that regular beer does have extra calories — unless you count the mixers and olives.

— Harvey B. Simon, M.D.

Article Source: Harvard Health Publications.

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