April is a wonderful month… A) It means warmer weather is beginning to arrive B) Summer is around the corner C) My birthday is in April… D) Why not, National Beer Day is in April!
April 7th is the day that the law, allowing the brewing and sale of beer in the United States again, was enacted! This is the day people celebrate because it is when beer became legal in the United States after the Cullen-Harrison Act was signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt. While it is an unofficial holiday, it is a little fun fact to brighten your evenings on April 6 (New Beer’s Eve) and your April 7th’s (National Beer Day).
In honor of this day, I’ve decided to do a blog on beer…
First of all, we must acknowledge that alcohol is a source of calories. Alcohol has more calories than either carbohydrates or proteins; containing 7 calories per gram of alcohol. The body handles calories from alcohol differently than it does with the calories from food. If you drink too much alcohol its calories may be used to make fat in your liver (this explains a beer belly). Here is an interesting fact; beer does not cause beer bellies (weird, right?)… Think about it, everyone who drinks beer does not have a beer belly. While beer is not the cause of a beer belly is does seem to have an association… For a social or moderate “drinker” it is usually not the occasional lager that adds to ones waistline. Rather, it is what frequently accompanies a bar scene – the greasy bar food and high calorie mixers (refer to my happy hour blog for a little insight on mixers).
Alcohol is a toxin. Your body works in overdrive, trying to burn it off as fast as it can when you consume alcohol. You might be thinking, “Well isn’t that a good thing?” Yes. It sure is! We do not want toxins building up in our bodies. But what it also means is that your body is directing its attention towards burning off the alcohol and whatever calories from food you are consuming are placed aside and are most likely going to be stored as fat. So, in general alcohols association with bigger waistlines is due to the liver burning alcohol instead of fat when you are consuming alcohol. This is what we do not want, belly fat in the midsection, it is not only unattractive but it also is linked to health problem: Type 2 Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, and Cardiovascular Disease. The key is knowing which beers will give you the added health benefits without those extra pounds.
You have probably heard a drink a day actually has some health benefits. For instance, silicon is a mineral that is found in beer and plays a role in increasing bone density. The hops that is used to make beer contains a compound called xanthohumol, this may aid in protecting against some cancers. For other health benefits and negative effects look at the image at the top of the post titled “The Case for Beer.”
Tastiest light beers…
* Bud Light 110 calories 4.2 % alcohol content – the tastiest. Not that much higher in calories.
Amstel light 95 calories 3.5% alcohol content (great option!)
Corona light 99 calories 4.1% alcohol content
Miller Light 96 calories and 4.2 % alcohol content
Coors light 102 calories 4.2 % alcohol content
Beer can range from 64-198 calories per 12 ounces. Light beers are a better choice because they contain the same amount of alcohol as regular beers but fewer carbohydrates. Incase you have ever been confused on this – low-carb beer is just another term for light beer.
Most glasses of wine contain 125-150 calories, but that can double depending on the size of the glass size and how full it is. In all reality, at cocktail or dinner parties, glasses are often refilled before empty, making it especially hard for you to track your alcohol and calorie consumption. If you are not finished with your drink, politely say you are still finishing your drink and do not need a refill right now.
Below is from Drink This Not That. While I do know that Bud Light is on their “Not That” page, It would be on my “Drink This” page (that is if I had a page…Since I don’t I’m putting it on my blog as a beer I recommend!)
Remember, it is all about moderation, beer or any alcoholic drink in moderation is not bad for you. But over consuming alcohol is very harmful to your health. Always keep in mind when drinking alcohol to consume more water than usual as alcohol causes dehydration.
For some more low calorie drink choices look at the image below:
A broad description of what I do as a dietitian is this – I work with people helping them achieve their health related goals via their diet. The number one component of an dietary plan is compliance – getting people to stick to it. The best way to make someone give up is by having “Thou Shall Nots” or “Never Allowed” lists. Therefore, the best way for success is having no absolute requirements. If you enjoy an occasional glass of wine or beer- have it. But keep in mind the more you drink and the further you deviate from a basic plan or the more you drink, the less likely you are to achieve your health goals.
More on National Beer Day
Drink This Not That By David Zinczenko with Matt Goulding.