Calories Alcohol Free Beer
There is a lot of myth surrounding calories alcohol beer as in its “totally calories free” and “it’s really good for you”.
Although they say that about alcohol beer and wine anyhow including the fact it gives us “dutch courage”. If you believe the headline it will help with stress, our heart and our vitamin intake.
The good news!
Actually switching to alcohol free beer can be a great option but only if it’s done with the same precaution as any switch that is made in food and drink.
Even diet drinks contain some chemicals that people would not touch with a barge pole. I am a bit more relaxed than that but in the end I would agree I need to check them and you probably should as well.
If you are switching to alcohol free drinks it’s good to know what you are drinking for whatever reason, for me it was liver disease as a social wine drinker but for you it may be something else, hangovers, lifestyle, your hips, saving money.
All are possible when you give up alcohol bur do the opposite of the advice in the film the Wizard of Oz.
Pay every attention to the man behind the curtain – Sugar is everywhere
As my liver consultant told me:
I have seen people give up even mild social drinking and their weight boom.
They seem to compensate with sugar
This may sound odd coming from someone who is a champion of alcohol free drinks such as beer, gin, fizz and wine. But bear with me!
So we have started to think about how much alcohol we drink? Good move! Those drinking behaviors are getting out of hand. So we could wait for Dry January ( please don’t ) or just switch to alcohol free or just mix it up a bit all year around.
However, here is the thing.
- Giving up or cutting down our alcohol intake is generally connected to our health overall.
- Many people replace one bad habit for another.
- Many people give up alcohol because of their weight not just their liver
When it comes down to drinking alcohol we have a goal in mind but when it comes to calories we really need to think about it with a bit more of a strategic mind.
When I was diagnosed with liver disease and I was a social wine drinker my weight was actually fine. I walked 10,000 steps every day and did some weights and was generally in good shape.
But here is the thing when we think alcohol and calories it’s generally about our hips or our beer belly and yes it can vary if you are a woman, man, tall or short. We are all unique.
However, the desire to change our drinking habit is a common thread.
When it comes to alcohol we often worry about the strangest things:
- We don’t have a starter but have 3 large glasses of wine with lunch
- We have a few pints of beer but worry about the kebab on the way home
- We order 10 packs of cheap gin and full on tonic but worry about the cola fizz sweets in the snack draw.
I made lifestyle changes around alcohol which of course can kill us but so can sugar so it’s best to keep our wits about us.
In my case I do like a dessert but I also know one alcohol drink could kill me so it’s important to know what change we are making and why? I know lets keep the liver disease and add in diabetes for good measure.
No thanks !
So does alcohol pile on the weight?
Yes is the fastest answer as we know its calories in and calories out at the basic level. Of course there are high GI foods and different diets but at the end of the day the main issue is:
What we put in our mouth.
I maybe contradicting myself here but when we have had a drink we make odd choices’ food wise
- More sweets
- More fry-up breakfast
- A read made meal goes before a carefully cooked one
- Our blood sugar drops so we are all “out of it” as far as eating habits go
Remember also that alcohol has no useful calories so no nutritional value! It is the kick we go for not the nutrition.
The science is very simple: your body will be burning off the calories but the alcohol gets processed before it gets to the food, so that food goes as fat straight onto our hips. The chemical enzymes in our body that look after the alcohol can lead to fat around the hips and belly by the order it deals with stuff.
Yes a beer belly is also about how much we eat but alcohol also plays a big role. At the end of the day it really is calories in and calories out!
But it seems sugar aside, alcohol plays a big part.
⇒⇒⇒⇒ Check out my review of alcohol FREE craft beers here
Sugar spikes and alcohol dehydrates
Talk about being between a rock and a hard place. I came up with that phrase myself and I quite like it.
Too much sugar sends our blood levels crashing after sugar and so does alcohol very often. More generally though alcohol is a dehydrating factor which is why we are always told to drink a few glasses of water before we go to sleep after a night out.
So as my medical consultant pointed out the buzz of drinking alcohol the so called dopamine effect can send you straight to the sweet cupboard. Your brain chemistry is all over the place.
The same way we become dehydrated even though we are supposedly drinking lots of water, we feel thirsty so we end up drinking more wine or beer to compensate rather than good old aqua!
Remember our body via our brain is moving toward pleasure and away from pain as its default setting and this can sometimes be in a faulty mode.
The good news is that not all sugar is bad, natural occurring fruit can be OK in moderation but commercially produced fruit is not healthy at all. I once managed to add two stones just by drinking a commercially produced smoothie. Every morning. It was just pure sugar with one once of the fiber it should really have.
No-one is meant to eat hundreds of oranges in one go!
Having said that so called “sweeteners” can change what we think are the natural levels of sugar and re code the brain as well as acting as a cop out. Ever had a big burger with fries and a milkshake but then feel better for ordering a diet cola or diet soda?
You get the idea!
The good news is that by and large the sugar in alcohol free beer comes from the natural hops and it comes with no alcohol if you go for a 0.0% band.
Let’s do some checking alcohol free verses alcohol
Since getting liver disease I am a label checker obsessive. I check labels a lot, mainly abv which is alcohol by volume. ABV tells us how much alcohol is in a drink. So for me it has to be 0.0% for the sake of my liver and to keep living.
At least it’s clear and simple.
However, it is also good to check the calories of alcohol free drinks as otherwise if you are going alcohol free because of your waistline you might be in for a shock.
The key is to start to look out for carbohydrates and under that figure you will find the total amount of sugar that make up that figure.
At the top of the can or bottle you will find calories mostly per 100ml, look for the kcal number.
The good news is that many brewers realize their market is more than just alcohol free but a diet market so it has started to put the total calories on the front of the can. So for example the can of Heineken 0.0 that is in front of me has “only 69 calories”. Not all drinks have this though.
However, let us take the 100 ml figure. An alcoholic Heineken can has 42 calories while the alcohol free has 21 calories so almost half. We then added the bonus of no alcohol that has to be worth something.
Let’s take another Bavaria Alcohol Free has only 24 calories. So as a rule of thumb you could half your calories with an alcohol free option in terms of beers.
There is also FreeStar Beer which has just 59 calories per can but is gluten free so you can see the options are mounting up. Just check the label and remember to look at the overall calories not just the 100 ml figures depending on the size.
Food and drink labeling is in my personal view really hard to understand.
If you want to go down the wine route then why not opt for one that is dry as alcohol free wine does have a reputation for being sweet. The Torres range of alcohol free wines which I review here has a calories count under 30 per glass and ranks as one of my favorites.
Then we come onto gin which is actually not such bad news on the calories front as a glass of gin has around 54 calories or thereabouts. However, the mistake people make is adding full sugar tonic to it and it this can easily take it over the 100 calories mark.
Next time people say gin is low calories I always say it’s hardly a diet drink and think of the mixer first then the gin.
Alcohol free gin on the other hand has around zero calories. Imagine that low calorie tonic, a no calories alcohol free spirit and yes I get it’s not gin in the true sense of the word.
The alcohol free market is producing some great products though.
Be wary of the mocktail
Be wary of other drinks including presse unless it’s light, ginger beer and mocktails. Mocktails while a great alternative to alcohol free cocktails are full of sugar and mixers. I am not knocking them for a special occasion or a drink to start the evening.
They are a great but beware of the sugar.
Then there are brands of flavored water, diet drinks ( sweeteners aside) and you have some interesting options.
Remember alcohol and obesity are not good news so swapping one for the other ain’t the answer. However, being out of your brains is for me the greater worry right now. I guess it’s all down to balance.
Isn’t it always!
So we have some options and yes I could go on about speaking about water and bore the pants of you.
I remember an alcohol therapist who was a colleague saying to me once that I was in denial about my social drinking and I did not need an alcohol free option. I just wanted to tell her to, well you get the idea.
She wanted me to sit in the corner like a naughty school boy drinking tea while she enjoyed a glass of wine.
I won’t be working with her again and I was not even her client having not had a glass in almost 14 months. However, people judge the people who want to cut back as much as the people who drink.
At the end of the day you want to know this.
Can I reduce my calories on an alcohol free drink and the answer is with a bit of label checking and careful navigation yes you can!
Good luck and drop those pounds.
I would love to know what you think about calories alcohol free beer, diets, and calorie control diets that include alcohol free drinks. Are you like me and have cut out the booze only to discover you have added on some weight!
It is the cream cakes probably,
Leave your comment below about calories alcohol free beer and I will also always get back to you. For more infomation on your alcohol intake check out drinkaware