Beer: Low in sugar and carbs, but myths and misinformation abound, says report

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

What's in beer? B vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, says report. Pic: iStock
What's in beer? B vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, says report. Pic: iStock

Related tags Sugar content Alcoholic beverage

Beer is low in sugar compared to other alcoholic drinks but misinformation about the beverage abounds, according to a report released this week.

A study analyzed the calorific content of 52 alcoholic drinks, and found the majority of beers sampled contained less than 1g of sugar per 100ml, with higher alcohol beers containing 1.5g per 100ml.

This compares to the sugar content (per 100ml) of other popular beverages such as Coca-Cola (10.6g), orange squash (7.8g) and a medium cappuccino (4.3g).   

The figures from the Campden BRI study are included in the report commissioned by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), a body representing brewers and pubs.

68% believe beer is high in sugar

The report, titled ‘A healthy perspective on beer?’ ​was authored by health journalist Isla Whitcroft. It intends to “correct some of the common myths and misinformation about beer and provide an educational, informative and balanced perspective”​ on beer.

“In the five years since our last report into the nutritional and health benefits of beer there has been an increasing focus on, and interest in, the nutritional content of what we eat and drink,”​ said Brigid Simmonds, chief executive, BBPA.

“However, there is still a lot of work to be done to challenge many of the misconceptions around the drink, not least, as our latest consumer poll shows, around sugar content and calorific values.”

For example, 68% of British adults believe that beer is high in sugar; 84% consider it high in calories, and 85% think it is fattening, says the report.

The report emphasizes that all the benefits of beer consumption are only realized in the context of moderate consumption as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle by adults with no underlying medical conditions.

Attributes of beer as outlined by the report include:

  • Beer contains up to 35 different phenolic compounds, which are antioxidants.
  • It is a rich source of silicon (a mineral for bones, skin, hair and nails) and contains trace elements of zinc, copper and selenium.
  • Beer contains up to 6g of fiber per liter.
  • It contains no fat, less sugar than many wines, and few, if any, additives such as sulphites, milk proteins, gelatine and egg white that can be found in wine.
  • Beer is typically low in alcohol compared to many other alcoholic drinks.
  • The beverage is a rich source of B group vitamins, which include riboflavin (B12), Niacin (B3), B6, Folate (B9), B12, Biotin (B7).   

“For most people, drinking beer and wine in moderation is better for their overall mortality rate than not drinking at all,” ​said Professor Ramon Estruch, senior consultant at the Internal Medicine Department of the Hospital Clinic (Barcelona).

You can read the report in full here.

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1 comment

Nutritional Info

Posted by Chris Hannaway,

If beer producers published their nutritional info and ingredients on pack more often then we wouldn't have this problem....

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