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Carbs in Beer: Is It Possible to Fit Low-Carb Beer in Your Diet?

There’s a lot of controversy about carbs in beer. Some people argue that beer is an appropriate drink for a low-carb diet, while others claim that the carbs found in beer are high glycemic and best avoided. So, who can you trust? Are there any carbs in beer, and do any low-carb beer options exist? Let’s figure it out!
Low-carb beer

How many carbs in beer? 

Did you know that sugar isn’t the main problem your body encounters when drinking alcohol? It’s actually the effect that alcohol has on your metabolism. 

When you drink a glass of beer, your body identifies the beverage as a toxin. The small intestines absorb the alcohol before it gets delivered to the liver to be broken down. Unfortunately, the metabolism of all other substances, including carbs and fats, will be put on hold as a result.

Since the beer carbs aren’t broken down by your body, they’re also not converted to glucose for energy. Your blood glucose levels will decrease and the fats will remain untouched. This can potentially lead to weight gain. 

But how many carbs does beer really have? If you want to know which beers to drink and which to avoid, simply look at their color and characteristics. As a rule of thumb, the darker the beer is and the denser the foam, the more carbs it will contain.

For example, if you drink a honey, tan, or black beer, you’re consuming anywhere from 15 to 17 grams of carbs per 12-ounce serving. Some craft beers that have more flavor come with 30+ grams of carbs per serving. 

Here’s an list of popular beers and their carb content:

  • Corona — 14 grams of carbs per serving
  • Guinness — 14 grams of carbs per serving
  • Stella Artois — 13 grams of carbs per serving
  • Heineken — 11 grams of carbs per serving
  • Beck’s — 9 grams of carbs per serving
  • Bud Light — 7 grams of carbs per serving

If you’re on a low-carb diet, be sure you count the beer carbs as part of your daily intake. Opting for low-carb beers can seem like a good compromise, but always check the nutritional label or speak to the brewer to ensure you know what you’re getting. 

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Lowest carb beer 

In general, if you’re following a low-carb diet then beer is a no-go. The beer carbs can contribute to excess abdominal fat and are not a smart choice for weight loss. Luckily, beer carbs can vary, depending on the brand, and there are a wide range of low-carb beers available. 

A woman drinking low-carb beer
  • Light beers. The difference between regular beer and light beer is in the calories and carbs. While regular beer might contain 150 calories, light beer would have 110. More importantly, if regular beer has 10–14 grams of carbs, light beer might only have about 5 grams. 
  • Ultra-light beers. Did you know that there is a lighter version of light beer? These ultra-light beers contain fewer beer carbs than light beers. A light beer may contain 110 calories and 5 grams of carbs, while ultra-light beers have 95 calories and just 2–3 beer carbs. 

Low-carb beer and the keto diet 

The keto diet has become popular as various studies have shown how effective it is for weight loss and managing health conditions like diabetes and epilepsy. The keto diet is a low-carb healthy eating plan that drives your body into ketosis, a state where your body uses fat instead of carbs as the primary fuel source. 

If you’re following a keto diet, you’re probably avoiding carbs — and beer carbs were probably one of the first things you cut out. The carb count of beer is so high that even just one serving will take up a good portion of your carb limit for the day. Consuming beer while eating keto can slow your weight loss progress and even kick the body out of ketosis.

Take a look at the main reasons why beer is not a recommended beverage while you’re following a keto diet:

  • Malted grains: Malted grains are one of the main ingredients in beer. They are the beer’s source of color, flavor, and aroma. The most commonly used malted grains include rye, oats, and wheat, and they’re the principal source of calories and beer carbs. 
  • Unmalted grains and added sugar: Some types of beers contain other ingredients, like unmalted grains and added sugar. Why? Because they add to the flavor and aroma of the beer. These ingredients contain extra calories and carbs, though, and they’re not appropriate for your low-carb keto diet.  
  • Alcohol content: Even without the added sugars and malted grains, the alcohol factor still exists. And let’s not forget how damaging alcohol can be for your body and from a dieting perspective. It contains an average of seven calories per gram in fact — almost as many as pure fat! Drinking alcohol also lowers the amount of fat your body burns for energy. 

Beer might not be the finest beverage to drink while on a low-carb diet, but there are some low-carb beer options you can try. At the end of the day, if you don’t want to risk ruining your healthy lifestyle and low-carb keto diet, pour yourself a glass of dry wine or whiskey. It’s also absolutely normal to not drink alcohol at all. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t drink alcohol during pregnancy as there is no “safe” amount and it can lead to FAS (fetal alcohol syndrome), cardiac defects in fetus, growth retardation, and CNS defects.

https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/alcohol

https://www.ruled.me/low-carb-and-ketogenic-beer-options/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27623967

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19818281

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23515149

https://www.fooducate.com/community/post/The%20Difference%20Between%20Light%20Regular%20Beer/56E17821-40FF-07C0-4B23-B2E158437321

https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/alcohol-facts/health-effects-of-alcohol/calories/calories-in-alcohol/

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/alcohol/Pages/calories-in-alcohol.aspx

http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/pdf/10.1146/annurev.nutr.20.1.395

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