Move over, beer belly: these five beers are surprisingly healthy
While there’s no doubt that a few too many six-packs of beer can wreak havoc on your waistline, a recent study conducted by Pennsylvania State University found that a pint or two a day could help prevent you from having a stroke or developing cardiovascular disease. Moderate consumption of beer is said to reduce the risk of kidney stones by 41 per cent, and it’s also one of the very few plant sources of vitamin B12.
Be warned, though. Regularly bingeing on pints won’t just cause you to move up one or two clothes sizes - you might start shedding some of your social circle, too. As with anything, moderation is key. Here are five of the most nutritionally sound brews on the market.
Arguably the most famous beer of them all, for many years the makers of this noble stout ran an advertising campaign proclaiming “Guinness is good for you.” You might scoff at that suggestion, given its thick, dark body and creamy crown, but it turns out there’s actually some truth to it. A pint of the black stuff is quite low in calories, with just 126 to be found in each glass - that’s 19 less than a Budweiser and 24 less than a Heineken. Guinness also has a relatively low alcohol content of 4.2 per cent, and contains fewer than 10 carbs per pint.
Light beers boomed in the US in the 1970s out of concern by drinkers that their favourite refreshment was making them pile on the pounds. A standard can of Coors Light contains just 102 calories - eight less than a Bud Light. The brand came to international attention back in 2011, when Alaska resident Clifton Vial found himself stranded for three days in his pickup truck more than 40 miles outside the nearest city. Vial had no mobile phone signal, limited layers for warmth and no food, as temperatures fluctuated between -12 and -17 degrees Celsius. He scoured his car for food and only found a few cans of frozen Coors Light, so he cut the lids off and dug the beer out of them with a knife. After he was found by rescuers he got on a set of scales to find he’d lost over a stone in weight, but was otherwise considered in a healthy condition!
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Thanks to the craft beer revolution of recent years, pale ales are all the rage. This is largely because they are very hoppy, and pack a hops punch that is usually 50 times stronger than your average beer. Though more hops means a higher concentration of alcohol, calories and carbs, it also means a higher content of polyphenols: an antioxidant that lowers cholesterol and fights cancer. The standard edition Sierra Nevada Pale Ale contains 175 calories, and 14.1 grams of carbs.
Considered better tasting than light beers, Pacifico was first brewed back in 1900. Aptly named due to the Pacific location of its brewery, this Mexican pilsner comes in at just 135 calories and 12 grams of carbs per bottle. It contains less alcohol than most, and no saturated or unsaturated fat, sugar, or sodium. These factors make it a good choice if you’re watching your weight but don’t want to give up drinking entirely.
Left Hand Good JuJu
Good JuJu is a pale hoppy ale brewed with fresh ginger, from Left Hand Brewing Co who are based in Colorado. The beer’s ginger aids digestion and is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties. Although this ingredient is prominent, it’s not overwhelming, combining with zesty lemon and floral hops to create a subtly spicy flavour. Good JuJu is also lower in calories than standard beers, with 131 per bottle, and 4.5 per cent alcohol.