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Low-carb and low-calorie beers

By ninemsn staff
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Air date: Thursday, November 19, 2009
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There's a healthy alternative to everything — and if the breweries have anything to say, that even includes beer.

But just how much healthier are the low-carb beers on the market?

We've cracked open a few coldies with Australian expert in nutrition and weight-control Dr John Tickell to find out if low carb beers are really better for you.

"Most beers don't put calories on the label but low-carb beers do, which seems to suggest that there's less weight and less calories," he says.

"They've come out with a product that says 'well this is low-carb, therefore this should actually be good for you'. And that's not the case"

A regular stubbie of beer has about 13 grams of carbs and 135 calories. But the newest low-carb beers contain generally less than two grams of carbs in every 100ml.

And low-carb beer generally contains one third the amount of calories of a full strength beer.

But the important thing to remember is low-carb beers still contain calories which need to be burned off so that they don’t end up getting stored as fat.

Studies have shown that it’s harder to lose weight when you have alcohol your system. This is because the body will burn alcohol before it burns fat and carbohydrates.

So drinking low-carb beers does not simply mean you can enjoy more of them without the effects. It’s also worth knowing that Burleigh Brewing Co recently released Bighead Beer, claiming it is Australia's first no-carb beer and containing only 88 calories per bottle.

The company describes it as a "full flavoured, full strength lager that is natural, free of additives and preservatives, and has a smooth clean taste."

Below are the carbohydrate levels of some of the most common low-carb beers in Australia:

Boag's Classic Blonde
4.5 percent alcohol
0.9g carbohydrates/100ml
113 calories per bottle

Toohey's White Stag
4.4 percent alcohol
1.0 carbohydrates/100ml
104 calories per / 345ml bottle

Carlton Dry
4.5 percent alcohol
1.9g carbohydrates/100ml
116 calories

Pure Blonde
4.6 percent alcohol
0.9g carbohydrates/100ml
107 calories

Hahn Super Dry
4.6 percent alcohol
0.9g carbohydrates/100ml
99 calories

Bondi Blonde
4.5 percent alcohol
1.7g carbohydrates/100ml
102 calories / 330ml bottle

Michelob Ultra
4.2 percent alcohol
O.7g carbohydrates/100ml
102 calories / 355ml bottle

Pure Blonde Naked
3.5 percent alcohol
1.2g carbohydrates/100ml
89 Calories / 355ml bottle

So what's Dr Tickell's advice?

"Why not have some real beer with real taste and just drink less? That's my attitude," he says.

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