A lot of people enjoy a beer on occasion. It's a great way to kick back and relax with friends and family.
However, alcohol can be high in calories. So, many who are watching their weight choose light beer.
Light beer is a favorite for health-conscious drinkers because it contains the same refreshing taste of beer at fewer calories. But is it really the healthier option?
What Does "Light" Mean?
To qualify as "light," foods and beverages must have fewer calories than the regular versions. There are no clear guidelines, however, on how much lower the calorie count must be. As a result, many products labeled "light" are only slightly lower in their calorie count.
For example, a bottle of Budweiser is 145 calories. A bottle of Bud Light Platinum has 137 calories. This equals about a 5 percent difference between the two. Miller High Life, on the other hand, contains 143 calories, compared to the 96 calories of Miller Lite. In this example, the regular option has 55 percent more calories than the Lite.
Keeping this in mind, it is safe to say you shouldn't always assume that a beer with the word "light" in it is significantly healthier. You will need to compare the calorie count of your beer brand to determine if the difference is significant. Of course, calories aren't the only measure you should consider.
Watch For Carbs And Alcohol Level
Beer is made with grains, which means it contains carbohydrates. When considering whether a light version is the better choice, you need to think about how many carbohydrates you are taking in, as well as the calorie count. You might be surprised at the carb count in some of the common light beers.
Take Bud Light as an example. Each bottle contains 110 calories. They also contain 6.6 grams. On the other hand, with Michelob Light, you get 95 calories and 2.6 calories. That is 15 fewer calories and more than 50 percent fewer carbs than Michelob regular.
Another measure to consider is the alcohol level. If you enjoy drinking until you feel buzzed, you may end up needing to drink more light beer than regular. If you choose the lighter Miller MGB 64, you'll consume only 2.8 percent alcohol by volume (ABV).
Someone who wants to more alcohol in their system would need to drink more of Miller MGB 64 to get the same buzz as a beer, which could add up in terms of carbs and calories.
Should You Drink Light Beer?
Some light beers can be healthier alternatives to regular varieties. However, you must pay attention to the calorie and carb counts to ensure you are making the healthier choice.
You should also keep in mind that a healthier choice is not healthier if you use it as an excuse to drink multiple beers. You would be better off enjoying one craft beer with 8 percent ABV and 250 calories than drinking three light beers with 4.2 percent ABV and 110 calories each.
Like any other food or beverage choice, you need to consider what each beer represents as far as calories and carbs. That way, you can make an informed choice next time you want to enjoy one.
If you want to gain more energy while losing extra pounds, try the Mediterranean Diet. Our Diet Guide will equip you with everything you need to get started.