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The Amount of Calories, Carbs, Sugar in Beer

There has never been a time when people, especially under-30s, have been so acutely aware of the importance of nutrition and looking after themselves. The subject of weight loss is one aspect, but people want much more than to lose weight – they are looking for a healthier mind and body, more core strength, and to simply feel good about life.

But they also love craft beer. Ah.

Here’s the thing: almost everything we eat or drink has carbs in it (take a bow, water). We need them to live. There are three types of ‘macronutrients’ needed for a balanced diet: proteins, carbohydrates and fats. We also need a cocktail of ‘micronutrients’ (vitamins and minerals).

Most health experts don’t say we should eliminate carbs from our diet. Some do say that some of us might need to reduce our intake, however. That’s alongside keeping active and ensuring our diets are healthy.

Since calories, carbs and sugar are the three things people worry the most about, here’s a brief definition of each:

●   Calorie content simply means the energy a food contains. The more you put in, the more you need to burn off by exercise. Otherwise, the energy contained in the food is converted into fat.

●    Carbohydrates can be divided into sugars, starches and fibre. We need them all for energy, but the various types also have specific functions for the body.

●    Sugars are a type of carbohydrate, and when they’re added to foods they are called free sugars (although fruit juices, honey and other edibles are also counted as free sugars). This is the type doctors tend to advise against eating too much of.

How many calories in a pint of beer?

A pint of 4% ABV beer has about 182 calories in it, whereas a 330ml bottle of beer (5%) has 142 calories. Cider is the most calorific, with 216 calories in a pint, although a regular glass of white or red wine will clock in at 159 calories.

This data can all be found at Drinkaware.co.uk, where there’s a very handy guide to show the average number of calories in beers on the market, plus other alcoholic beverages. For comparison, McDonald’s says a Big Mac has 550 calories, and the FDA says there are 30 calories in a carrot.

How do alcohol-free beer calories compare?

One unit’s worth of pure alcohol contains about 55 calories; that’s about 7 calories per gram. It is the reason why many people looking to reduce their calories from alcohol might choose to drink non-alcoholic beers. Does this make sense?

A pint of 0.5% ABV beer has a smaller amount of alcohol than a pint of 6.0% ABV – so you should get 12 times fewer calories from the alcohol itself. That’s not to say there are no calories – there’s plenty of other calorific stuff in there. But all else being equal, low-alcohol or alcohol-free beer will not have as many calories.

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How much sugar is in beer?

Outside the realm of alcopops, sugar is rarely added to alcoholic drinks, including beer. However, it does play a part in the fermentation process. That’s when yeast converts the sugars released in malting into alcohol. Because the sugar is converted, it theoretically means that beers have very low sugar.

Interestingly, light beers are often those with higher sugar, and low alcohol beers can also be quite sugary, as the sugar produced in the malting process is hardly converted by the yeast. However, in regular beers, the amount of sugar is typically less than 2 grams per litre, or less than 1 gram per pint. There are 20 grams of sugar in a Mars Bar, and 10 grams in a can of Coca Cola Original (but none in Diet Coke, which sweetens with Aspartame and Acesulfame K).

Are there carbs in beer?

Sugar is a carb, and as we’ve just seen, there are small amounts in beer. But that’s not the end of the carb count. In fact, because of the ingredients that go into beer – hops and grain, plus other additives, there are typically about 10–15 grams of carbs in a pint of beer.

A medium strength lager is probably your best bet if you’re trying to minimise carb intake, as it will tend to have 8–12 grams of carbohydrates. That’s a pretty marginal difference, however, and you’d need to drink a lot of beer for the difference to translate into a noticeable effect.

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Brewdog’s beers: nutritional info

If you’re looking for carbs, sugar, calories or any other information on any of our products, have a look at our nutritional information datasheets. Please note: they show measurements per 100ml, not per pint or per can. Since a can is 330ml, multiply by 3.3 for the total amount. For a pint, multiply by 5.7.

Here are some key stats (per 100ml):

●    Our beer with the lowest carbs is Nanny State, at 1.2g. At 6 Kcal, it is also our beer with the least calories. Note, however, that it is an alcohol-free beer.

●    Dead Pony Club, with 3.8% ABV, has 2.4g of carbs, and is our lowest carb alcoholic beer. It’s also our alcoholic beer with the least calories, at 32 Kcal.

●    With 9.1g of carbs, Layer Cake (7.0% ABV) is the most carb-heavy in our range. It also has the most calories, at 77 Kcal.

●     Across our range, several beers have less than 0.1g of sugars per 100ml, and only Duopolis, Layer Cake, Punk AF and Lost AF have 2g or more.

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