Beer contains less sugar and fewer calories than other alcoholic beverages, says new study

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A new report in the UK, which looks at the health benefits of beer when compared to other alcoholic beverages confirms that, contrary to myth, that beer is low in sugar compared to other alcoholic beverages such as wines and spirits.

The study looked at the caloric contents of 52 separate alcoholic beverages and found that the majority of beers sampled contained less than 1g of sugar per 100ml serving, with higher alcohol beers rising to 1.5g per 100ml. This is a low number when compared with recent statistics showing that the sugar content (per 100ml) in other beverages, say Coca-Cola (10.6g), Orange squash (7.8g) and a medium Cappuccino (4.3g).

A new poll commissioned alongside the report by the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) showed that members of the public misunderstood the nutritional contents of beer. The poll found that 68% of British adults mistakenly think that beer is high in sugar, 84% think it is high in calories, while 85% erroneously believe that it is fattening. Interestingly, the poll found that women more than men perceive beer as being high in sugar (74% versus 61% for men).

The scientific facts is that beer contains less sugar and fewer calories when compared to other alcoholic beverages. Beer is also fat free and offers the lowest alcohol strength option when compared to other alcoholic beverages.

The report which was titled “A healthy Perspective on beer” is a follow-up to an earlier report in 2010 which also looked at the scientific evidence behind the nutritional content of beer, when consumed in moderation as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle.

The newer report which was authored by health journalist, Isla Whitcroft, contains comments from experts in their field, in order to correct some of the common myths about beer and provide an educational, informative and balanced perspective on the health benefits of beer.

A senior consultant at the Internal Medicine Department of the Hospital Clinic in Barcelona, Spain, Professor Ramon Estruch, said:

“Some ethnic groups with particular genetic characteristics, or those with certain health issues should not drink alcohol at all. However, overall our studies have led us to conclude that for most people, drinking beer and wine in moderation is better for their overall mortality rate than not drinking at all. We believe that the phenols in beer have anti-inflammatory properties which could account for some of the health benefits.”

Also commenting on the nutritional content of beer in the report, UK Nutritionist, Fiona Hunter, said “Beer includes amongst other things silicon, magnesium, zinc and selenium. All these minerals are vital for our good health…..Beer is “ml for ml” low in alcohol compared to all other alcoholic drinks. It contains myriad useful vitamins and minerals and if taken responsibly and within moderate consumption guidelines, can make a positive contribution to our health.”

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