I wrote this article after someone sent me a message saying I love your website and I’m pleased there are no calories in non-alcoholic beer. I hated to break the news but non-alcoholic beer does have calories. I was met with silence.
Even the skinny burger I have before getting a train at the nice bar at the station has calories so I’m afraid so does beer. Having said that there can be a difference which I will explore and the good news is if you are drinking 0.0 abv options there is no alcohol in your drink which in my view can be a bigger threat or a bigger choice depending on why you choose this option. So let’s run with it!
Non Alcoholic Beer still has calories
What Are Calories? Counting calories is one way to monitor weight loss. A calorie is a unit of energy. Historically, scientists have defined “calorie” to mean a unit of energy or heat that could come from a variety of sources, such as coal or gas.
So before I get my white science coat out, not my strongest subject at school. Let’s break it down further. As we know for example some foods are empty calories and some are good calories. Sugar can be a very empty calorie and there lies the problem.
So every food can be categorized in terms of protein, carbohydrate and fats along with more breakdowns such as sugar salt etc. I could ask you to keep an eye on the sugar but at the end of the day that feels a bit more complicated than just keeping an eye on overall calories.
So any comparison, any good news?
Of course there is the fact I’m a positive kind of guy. When I was in hospital with 48 hours to live they were not talking sugar they were talking the effect with an existing condition that alcohol can have. We know these can vary depending on circumstance but we are thinking about mental health, liver, stomach and to be fair weight.
Of course food and sugar is an issue but I will leave that to a different blog. However, for context and let’s imagine you were drinking the following. If you have a big social life around drinking this is very easy to achieve (if that is even the right word). If you were consuming 4 bottles of wine a month this would add up in a year to around 27,000 k cal so I guess the equivalent of sizing up your burgers to the big ones to 48 which for some people I bet is the norm.
So let’s get onto normal beer. Say you were just drinking 5 pints of standard lagers again that would account up to 44,200k cal over a year so that’s a lot of doughnuts. Wow! So what can some 0.0 abv brands offer us, any hope please?
Count the amount you drink but differently
I am concerned only with the 0.0 brands here and to be honest from researching the higher up the chain you go the bigger the calories although I am trying not to generalize and be biased here. So the 0.5% ABV and upwards. So the upside is there is a difference if we look at some 0.0 abv brands I am familiar with :
- San Miguel normal has 45 calories per 100ml calories compared to the 0.0 abv version which has 24 calories so a slight deficit.
- What about Heineken? 42 calories per 100 ml while the 0.0 abv version has 21 calories so again a deficit.
- Bavaria 37 calories per 100 ml compared to one of my favorite Bavaria 0.0 which has 24 calories.
Now those are just a few brands but overall you are probably talking a deficit which accounts for the lack of alcohol but we are not talking skinny beer here but remember you are buying it as an alcohol free alternative allowing you to think about your health, religion, driving of whatever choices you are choosing to make and I think that’s a fair trade off. After all there is no magic pill here.
In some brands particularly higher up the abv scale more sugar is added to substitute for the lack of alcohol.
How do you check?
The easy answer of course is to check the stats on the back of the bottle which are there for those in the 0.0 range where we are concerned with calories in non-alcoholic beer.
However, give yourself a break. This is no more different how you eat any food so it’s a balance and with the 0.0% abv range what we are looking for here is having a social crutch or to “fit it”. It’s the “I fancy a beer moment” when you know an alcohol one is a no go area. Maybe as you watch a film you have eaten a pile of popcorn anyway.
So this article is designed to say keep with the 0.0 abv choices as it is fine yes but there are calories here so think of your objective. Your choice and mission is not to drink alcohol so some calories along the way are fine and crikey it’s hard enough to find anyway when you are out and about so you don’t want me yelling in your ear after the joy of finding increased alternatives in a bar.
So a glimmer of calorie hope
I like to think I use more calories finding 0.0% than I do drinking them. That said it looks like there is a small deficit particularly with the non-alcoholic beer calories and at the end of the day no alcohol is our choice here. I love a good mocktail and the calories in that can be high as well as the usual with pizza, pasta, garlic bread and fish and chips. ( It’s british thing).
For me I am more concerned about switching off salt but the health benefits of zero alcoholic options need to be considered as part of your lifestyle.
It was my consultant and again I think he’s right who said that people who come off alcohol for whatever reasons tend to put on weight. Yep he is right we don’t want to end up over weight either, so go easy bank your success and enjoy your calories non-alcoholic with one eye occasionally open on the scales.
Which is why my 10,000 steps a day come in very handy indeed! And they come from searching for options! After all let’s not now replace one un healthy lifestyle with another.