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Whether you're trying to stick to your New Year's Resolution or hoping to shed some weight put on during lockdown, understanding the calories in beer can be a helpful first step to getting you back on track. Trying to figure out how many calories are in your beer can be a daunting task, so here's a few tips to help you understand your beer calorie consumption.
In the brewing process, when yeast feeds on sugar, alcohol is formed. Alcohol is incredibly calorie dense, and contains approximately 7 calories per gram which is nearly twice as many calories as the same quantity of proteins or carbs. In addition to the alcohol, beer also contains carbohydrates from unfermented grains, which is another source of calories.
While many light beers are quick to advertise exactly how many calories are in a can or bottle of beer, standard beer and craft beer can be a bit more difficult to track. If the beer doesn't state calorie quantity, it's safe to guess that you're drinking approximately 160-180 calories per can. Bigger pours and higher ABV are both indicators of higher calorie content. For example, a pint of a high ABV stout will usually contain more calories than a pint of a standard strength lager. If you use a calorie tracking app, many beers will already be in the database with calories listed. Men's Health UK recently released a nice beer calorie guide, and here's their breakdown of calories in different beer styles:
Since most of the calories in beer come from alcohol, low-alcohol and alcohol-free beer usually has far fewer calories. That being said, there are usually still some calories in non-alcoholic beer as it is brewed with carbs and sugars just like full-alcohol beer.