For too long, beer has been viewed negatively as unhealthy, fatty, high in carbohydrates and generally not something one should be consuming unless you want to end up with a Homer Simpson paunch. Well I’m putting a stop to it. Immediately. I’ve also given a few tips to help convince you to ditch the Dry January and start drinking beer everyday. You can thank me later.
Beer vs Wine: The facts:
A pint of beer can contain between 170-230 calories depending on the brand (bottles are around 15o cals and there is no real difference between ales or lagers). A large glass of wine (250ml) with 13% ABV can range from 170-250 calories meaning that your girly night in with a bottle might make it tricky squeezing into your skinny jeans ready for your tinder date.
12 ounces of Guinness (350ml) only has around 125 calories, which is the same as skimmed milk and less than orange juice. This means you can replace your milk and cookies at bedtime with a beer! Good times.
As a rule, calories increase with strength of the beer. The DrinkAware unit calculator is pretty handy for calculating the most waistline-friendly alcoholic beverages.
Next up, those little devils, carbohydrates. Beer actually contains a fairly low amount of carbohydrate for a product that is completely natural. The average beer has about 12 grams of carbs per 12-ounce serving. The Recommended Daily Allowance for men and women is 300 grams of carbohydrates in a standard diet. In other words, you would need to drink an entire 24-pack case of beer – and then reach into a second case – simply to reach the government’s recommended daily allotment of carbohydrates. A nice crunchy Braeburn apple, pretty innocent right? Think again, they contain 35g carbohydrate, so more than double that of beer! My Tropicana in the fridge will provide me with 20g carbohydrate per 200ml serving. That’ll be my choice when I’m carb-loading.
We shall hear none of this ‘Guinness is like eating a loaf of bread’ nonsense anymore.
A beer a day…
You have probably heard that a beer a day is good for you, and this is absolutely true. Some doctors actually recommend drinking alcohol in moderation. A cheeky pint is perfect for moderate drinking because of its lower alcohol content and larger volume compared with wine or spirits.
While beer does not contain many of the anti-oxidants that plonk does, it is higher in protein and vitamin B and also contains iron, calcium, phosphates and fiber. Vitamin B particularly folic acid helps prevent a dicky heart and heart attacks. Fiber helps (ahem) keep you regular and reduces the absorption of fats.
Talking of fat, beer contains 0%. None, zip, zilch, nada. If it did we wouldn’t be able to pour a magnificent white, creamy cloudy head of suds. What’s more, some studies have demonstrated that beer actually can help some people lose weight by speeding up metabolism.
If you’re of the age where visits to the doctor result in finger wagging and mutterings of “cholesterol levels”, then praise the lord for beer as it is proven to maintain help maintain levels of HDL “good cholesterol”. Rejoice.
Beer contains silicon, which is in very few foods and is linked to healthy, strong bones. Drink beer if you want to prevent bone breakage nest time you get knocked off your fixie.
Does beer give you a beer belly?
Simple answer – no. Poppycock.
A perfectly poured pint or relaxing glass of vino every day is not going to have a noticeable effect on your weight. You need carbs to provide energy and 300g is a fair amount to play with. A “Beer Belly” is nothing to do with beer it is simply excess calorie intake.
People get fat and they get fat in different ways. If you have the beer belly ‘gene’ then it is likely that your surplus calorie intake will likely manifest itself into abdominal obesity. This is likely to occur eventually regardless of your alcohol consumption. Men, look into the future – glance at your father.
Moderation may be tough for some of you but I’d say turn to excellent beer which may be a touch more expensive and drink less of it! The taste and experience will be so much more rewarding.
The main reasons we get fat are that:
• Alcohol contains calories so when we drink a lot of alcohol we are consuming more, irrespective of if it is beer.
• Alcohol is poisonous to our bodies so while we are drinking, our body is working to remove the alcohol not focusing on the good stuff like burning fat and absorbing nutrients.
• When we mature as human beings, our metabolism slows. This makes it harder to lose weight and for men this is most obvious around the stomach, for women I’m afraid it’s padding around the hips, legs and bum.
• Fatty, greasy, salty foods taste awesome when we drink. Kebabs at 3am are also always an excellent idea but none of these are recommended dietetics practices.
Here’s some food for thought if you’re worried about drinking beer and your weight:
1. Cancel dry January and start drinking beer on a daily basis
2. Cut out the snacks at the pub and the KFC family bucket on your way home
3. Consider exercising? After all your bones will be healthy and strong now and ready for anything
4. Choose a few quality beers over the 8 for £5 deal at the supermarket
5. Don’t get old
6. Share this with your friends doing Dry January so you have someone to go to the pub with