The truth about low-carb beer
Turns out we have been living a lie when it comes to the benefits of low-carb beer.
For lovers of beer who want to keep trim or reduce their carb intake, low-carb beer sounds like a win-win situation. However, new research has revealed that when it comes to beer, ‘low-carb’ is a complete myth.
‘Marketing certain beers as ‘low carb’ is doing nothing more than giving these beers a false healthy halo,’ says Alison McAleese, dietitican and LiveLighter campaign manager who collaborated with Cancer Council Victoria [Australia] on the research.
Despite 35% of men and 22% of women considering ‘low-carb’ beer to be a healthier drink option in a survey of over 1000 Victorians, it turns out there’s nothing that special about beer labelled as low-carb.
‘Low-carb beer has only slightly fewer kilojoules than regular beer. They’re not healthy, and drinking them certainly won’t prevent weight gain,’ says McAleese.
The assumption behind low-carb beers being better for your waistline is rooted in the notion that carbohydrates are the reason for the high calorie count in beer.
However, this is not true. Beer is in fact naturally low in carbohydrates – about 1.4 grams per 100ml of beer. Low-carb beers might bring that down to 0.5 grams, which is not really enough to have a big impact on the calorie content of the beer.
Instead, it is the alcohol that is to blame for beer’s high-calorie count.
“Around 80% of the kilojoules in a typical beer come from the alcohol itself, while only around 15% come from carbohydrates, and less than 1% from sugar,” McAleese adds.
“At the end of the day it’s the alcohol in beer, not the carbohydrates, that does the damage to your waistline and puts you at greater risks of serious health problems, including cancer.
“To avoid weight gain and reduce these risks, choose lower alcohol beer and cut back,” she says.
McAleese says that confusion is completely understandable, since this information isn’t readily available and marketing has a huge influence.
‘Alcohol brands aren’t required to disclose kilojoule content and nutrition information, so consumers are far more likely to be duped into thinking beer is healthy by sneaky marketing messages like ‘low carb’.’
The Cancer Council of Victoria is calling on the Federal Government to enforce nutritional labelling on alcohol products, just as it does with regular food products, to help consumers make informed choices around drinking.
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