How to Choose a Healthier Beer

Oh, alcohol. It's a tricky subject when you want to lose weight and you have weekly happy hours, date nights or special occasions.

Alcohol is high in calories, and low in nutrients, so when you drink it, you’re consuming so-called “empty” calories. On the other hand, you may have heard that hops are good for you, thanks to a recent study published in Nutrition Journal that linked matured hop extract, a key compound used to give beer its flavor and bitterness, to body fat loss.

But don’t start leaping to conclusions that drinking IPAs rich in matured hop bitter acids will help you lose weight. Because the amount of beer you would have to get to ingest to get enough hop bitter acid would be too high, not to mention the amount alcohol and calories coming with it.

A Look at Four Beer Styles

Ale: Ales are fermented at warmer temperatures and with the yeast on the top of the tank. They taste more full-bodied and fruity and average 4–7% ABV.

  • Sierra Nevada Otra Vez Gose (ABV 4.5%) — 139 Calories, 11g Carbs

  • Founders Brewing Co. All Day IPA (ABV 4.7%) — 144 Calories, 12g Carbs

  • Blue Moon Belgian White Ale (ABV 5.4%) — 162 Calories, 12g Carbs

  • Westbrook One Claw Rye Pale Ale (ABV 6.0%) — 185 Calories, 18 g Carbs

Stout: These dark beers are made with roasted ingredients and are considered an ale. Though they are often low in ABV at around 4%, be vigilant when choosing one as some craft brewers make them with up to 25% ABV.

  • Brooklyn Brewery Dry Irish Stout (ABV 4.7%) — 117 Calories, 13 g Carbs

  • Guinness Draught (ABV 4.2%) — 125 Calories, 10 g Carbs

  • Victory Donnybrook Stout (ABV 3.7%) — 125 Calories, 18 g Carbs

  • Murphy’s Irish Stout (ABV 4.0%) — 144 Calories, 13 g Carbs

Lager: Lagers are fermented with the yeast on the bottom of the vat and they are matured in lower temperatures. They are generally said to have a crisp flavor and commonly range from 2.5–6.0% ABV.

  • Uinta Black Baba Black Lager (ABV 4.0%) — 120 Calories, 11 g Carbs

  • Abita Amber Lager (ABV 4.5%) — 144 Calories, 12 g Carbs

  • Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn Lager (ABV 5.2%) — 170 Calories, 18 g Carbs

  • Samuel Adams Boston Lager (ABV 4.9%) – 180 Calories, 19 g Carbs

Pilsner: A type of pale lager, this style is medium to light-bodied and usually has a range of 3–6% ABV.

  • Pilsner Urquell (ABV 4.4%) — 156 Calories, 16 g Carbs

  • Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils (ABV 5.3%) — 159 Calories, 15 g Carbs

  • Sierra Nevada Nooner (ABV 5.2%) — 161 Calories, 12 g Carbs

  • Victory Prima Pils (ABV 5.3%) – 165 Calories, 15 g Carbs

*Calorie and carbohydrate counts are estimates based on the most recently available information.


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