Does Non Alcoholic Beer Make You Fat? Or can you lose weight?


Does Non Alcoholic Beer Make You Fat? Or can you lose weight?

Does Non Alcoholic Beer Taste The S...
Does Non Alcoholic Beer Taste The Same

One of the big reasons to change to non alcoholic beers is that its good for the beer belly. Does non alcoholic beer make you fat or does it help with weight loss?

In general, non alcoholic beers are less fattening. They contain around 25-50% of the calories of regular beers but don’t have the metabolism slowing effects of alcohol which further exacerbates the calorie difference. This means you have less free energy to convert to fat. However they usually contain both more sugar and carbohydrate.

If you eat or drink enough of anything you will put on weight. The simple equation is “calories in – calories out” – if you put in more calories than you burn then you put on fat. However, a better question for the non alcoholic beers is “how many calories am i saving vs an alcoholic beer?”.

If you generally have a few beers a day or a week, just how many calories are you going to save with a non alcoholic beer?

Is non alcoholic beer lower in calories? – vs “Full” beers

At this point it’s probably good to note that whilst everyone quotes “calories”, what they actually mean is “kilocalories” (kcal). For the remainder of this article when i write calories i am referring to kilocalories (kcal).

Its also a good reminder that non alcoholic, dealcoholised and alcohol free do not all mean the same thing. It is best to read the label to see if the wine is <0.5% ABV or 0.0% ABV. For a full explanation and how to check, read my blog on the topic

The USDA state a standard beer has 154 kcal per 12 fl oz (341ml).

The USDA quote a 12 fl oz serving of regular beer has 154 kcal. We can use this as a decent generic reference point to start from.

I know there will be a large range within the beer world with different brewing making processes, additives and alcohol contents but it acts as a good surrogate for comparison.

If we look at some of the best selling beers from around the globe and compare them to the USDA standard it should give a general feel for the calorie difference.

Ive chosen 4 beers from different parts of the world that have for comparison in various factors throughout this article. They also have two different alcohol by volume concentrations. I’ll also include some big name brands to compare.

Beer giants

  • Budweiser
  • Heineken
  • Guinness

Non alcoholic beers

  • Brewdog Nanny State 0.5% – UK
  • Erdinger Alkoholfrei 0.4% – Germany
  • Heineken 0.0% – Holland but global
  • Guinness 0.0% – Ireland but global
BeerKcal count per 12 fl oz% of calories % of calories saved
Standard USDA beer 5% ABV154100%0%
Budweiser14695%5%
Heineken14997%3%
Guinness12581%19%
Brewdog Nanny State 0.5%2114%86%
Erdinger Alkoholfrei 0.4%8958%42%
Heineken 0.0%7448%52%
Guinness 0.0%5737%63%
Non alcoholic beer comparison – “full”

Well well well, that is quite the range. Bud and Heineken are near the standard, Guinness is predictably a bit below as its only 4.2% ABV.

The surprise isn’t the alcohol free beers are lower in calories, the surprise is the range in them with Erdinger having x4 the calories of Brewdog Nanny State. We will need to come back to this.

Is non alcoholic beer lower in calories? – vs “Light” beers

I suppose if you are worried about calories in beer then the traditional best switch option was the “light” beers.

Light beers are usually brewed with an added enzyme that converts more carbs to sugar and then onto alcohol with yeast. They would also typically be lower in alcohol by volume to save on calories.

Ive switched out the big 3 full beers for 3 big light versions.

  • Bud Light
  • Coors Light
  • Miller Lite
BeerKcal count per 12 fl oz% of calories % of calories saved
Standard USDA beer 5% ABV154100%0%
Bud Light10367%33%
Coors Light10266%34%
Miller Lite9662%38%
Brewdog Nanny State 0.5%2114%86%
Erdinger Alkoholfrei 0.4%8958%42%
Heineken 0.0%7448%52%
Guinness 0.0%5737%63%
Non alcoholic beer comparison – “light”

So the non alcoholic beers still stack up vs the light beers. You are still saving more calories drinking them vs light. Brewdog Nanny State still way out on its own.

Why should we care about reducing calories?

Se we’ve seen there are huge calorie savings to be made switching to a non alcoholic beer. The next question is why is this good, how is this a benefit to you?

A pound of fat is anywhere from 3,436 to 3,752 calories. That is the amount of calories you have to be deficit to lose a pound of fat from your body.

A usually target for diets is to have a daily calorie deficit of 500kcal to total up to 3500-3600kcal in a week. That would be roughly equal to losing a pound of fat.

Food or beverageKcal count
3 bottles of regular beer462 kcal
3 bottles of Nanny State63 kcal
100g donut with chocolate 452 kcal
2 Mars Bars460 kcal
Calorie in beer and food

In the table above you can see the calories in 3 bottles of beer is more than 2 chocolate bars or 100g chocolate donut. This highlights just how many easy calories you can drink.

Over the course of 9 weeks, if you were to drink x3 bottles of beer a week vs x3 of alcohol free Nanny State, then you would be full pound heavier. You would have a pound of fat extra on your body.

Are non alcoholic beers just full of sugar?

The accusation levelled at the non alcoholic beers is that they just replace the alcohol with carbs and sugar and undo at least some of the good they’ve done. Im going to compare the same regular and light beers to see if this is true.

In general, non alcoholic beers do contain higher levels of both sugar and carbohydrates. Regular beers contain no sugar whereas non alcoholic beers can have up to 2 teaspoons or more a bottle. There are exceptions to this with some non alcoholic beers like “Nanny State” having around 33% of the carbohydrate than regular beer with no sugar.

Let’s run our comparisons again.

BeerSugar per 12 fl oz (g)Carbs per 12 fl oz (g)
Standard USDA beer 5% ABV012.6
Budweiser010.6
Heineken011
Guinness010
Brewdog Nanny State 0.5%0.14.2
Erdinger Alkoholfrei 0.4%12.618.55
Heineken 0.0%4.5516.8
Guinness 0.0%2.413.3
Non alcoholic beer comparison, sugar content – “full”

There we are then. In general the non alcoholic beers have a larger amount of carbohydrate and a much higher sugar content than the regular beers.

Nanny State is again bucking the trend nicely. Erdinger tho, would you be drinking it if you knew its sugar content?! It is laden with lactose in order to give it body.

Next up the light beers again.

BeerSugar per 12 fl ozCarbs per 12 fl oz (g)
Standard USDA beer 5% ABV012.6
Bud Light04.6
Coors Light05
Miller Lite03.2
Brewdog Nanny State 0.5%0.14.2
Erdinger Alkoholfrei 0.4%12.618.55
Heineken 0.0%4.5516.8
Guinness 0.0%2.413.3
Non alcoholic beer comparison, sugar content – “light”

Pretty much as expected by this point. The light beers have a lower carbohydrate content than the regular beers and a much lower content than the non alcoholic beers.

Nanny State is on a power with the light beers in carbs but with no alcohol and lower calories. Impressive stuff.

How can more sugar mean fewer calories?

So non alcoholic beers have more sugar but fewer calories, how is this?! The answer is alcohol is calorie dense. A gram of alcohol has nearly 7 kcal, which is nearly as much as a gram of fat.

A 12 fl oz glass of 5% beer will have most of its calories coming from the alcohol and not nearly as much from the sugar.

SubstanceKCal per gram
Fat7
Alcohol7
Sugar4
Calories per gram

Alcohol is even much more calorie dense than sugar. So the reduction in alcohol more than offsets the increase in sugar in terms of calories.

So is non alcoholic beer less fattening?

Many factors go into if you will gain weight but i’ll generalise here. Alcohol is itself calorie dense and we have shown there is a big reduction in calories if you switch to non alcoholic beers.

You would take in less calories for a given volume and have a relative calorie deficit and be a lower weight drinking non alcoholic vs alcoholic.

The alcohol also acts in other ways in the gut. It can slow metabolism and slow food transit through the gut.

This can lead you to absorbing more calories from food and burning less calories, further exacerbating the calorie difference. Add in when you drink alcohol you tend to eat more unhealthy food anyway!

In general, non alcoholic beers are less fattening than regular beers or even light beers. They contain around 25-50% of the calories of regular beers but don’t have the metabolism slowing effects of alcohol which further exacerbates the calorie difference. This means you have less free energy to convert to fat.

The Nanny State Anomaly

Lets have a look at the Brewdog Nanny State again. Brewdog have another alcohol free offering, called Punk AF.

BeerKcal in 12 fl ozSugar (g)Carbs (g)
Nanny State210.14.2
Punk AF52.56.310.5
Nanny State vs Punk AF

Punk AF has a lot of sugar relative to its carbs but still a pretty low calorie count.

With Nanny State, Brewdog use 8 different hops instead of sugar and alcohol to give the beer backbone.

This has resulted in market leading nutrition numbers and should be applauded. Oh and spoiler alert! Its a really nice beer.

Nanny State

Are non alcoholic beers good for a weight loss diet?

Ok, so non alcoholic beers have less calories, more sugar but does non alcoholic beers make you fat or not?

Does that mean they are good if you are trying to lose weight or on a diet? I think the answer is yes!

If you want to have a drink of wine but are willing to substitute it for a non alcoholic alternative you will be saving a lot of calories which over time can add up to pounds of fat saved or lost.

Seemingly the best type of non alcoholic beer to go for would be Nanny State or one brewed like Nanny State. You should shop around and look for a low carb/sugar, non alcoholic beer, as long as you like the taste!

Is non alcoholic beer good for you?

Non alcoholic beer can contain a range of potentially health improving compounds. It is isotonic and contains a range of botanicals that have potential health benefits. These benefits include reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke. There is also a variety of vitamins and minerals including folic acid, zinc, potassium and iron.

For a full article of 12 non alcoholic beer benefits then click here to read

philmcclelland

Hi im Phil. Im the sole writer on this site. For more info look at my about page https://www.openingthebottle.com/about-us/

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