Is beer really a calorie bomb, or is one blaming the “beer belly” for blighting the drink? Even if the term beer belly suggests it: it’s not that easy! Half a liter of beer contains an average of 200 kilocalories. While this is not negligible, it does not explain why the shirt tenses with so many men. After all, party nights become really sinfully calorie-rich because of what we eat with beer.
In addition, the calorie content varies considerably depending on the type of beer: we clarify how many calories the different beers contain. In addition, a calorie chart gives an overview of the calorie content of other alcoholic beverages.
Calories per beer type at a glance (kcal per 100 ml)
Although the German Purity Law defines the ingredients of beer on water, hops, malt and yeast, there are considerable differences between the different beers – also with regard to the calorie content.
|Pils 4,8 %||41 kcal|
|Pils 5,1 %||41 kcal|
|Old Beer 5,0 %||49 kcal|
|Wheat Beer 5,3 %||44 kcal|
|Wheat Beer 5,4 %||43 kcal|
|Dark Beer 4,8 %||42 kcal|
|Export 5,6 %||45 kcal|
|Alcohol-Free Pils||26 kcal|
|Non-Acoholic Wheat Beer||28 kcal|
|Malt Beer||42 kcal|
|Radler 2,0 %||38 kcal|
|Double Bock 7,9 %||71 kcal|
|Leight Beer 5,2 %||49 kcal|
What calories cause in the body
Calorie is a physical unit of energy. 1 calorie (cal) equals the energy you need to spend to heat 1 gram of water 1 degree Celsius. The amount of energy of 1 kilocalorie (kcal) is sufficient to heat 1 liter (1,000 grams) of water by 1 degree Celsius.
The highest percentage of calories in beer is alcohol. Because the calorie content of pure alcohol is even higher than that of sugar:
• 1 gram of alcohol contains 7 kilocalories.
• The same amount of sugar contains 4 kilocalories.
• The calorie content of 1 gram of fat is about 9 kilocalories higher than that of alcohol.
Even if the alcohol itself is broken down in the liver, the end products of this process are fed into our energy balance – as well as in the breakdown of sugar or fat. Now, when the energy storage is filled, the surplus energy ends up in our “storage”. It then arise the tiresome fat pads – in men especially on the stomach, in women rather at the hip. By the way, the calories contained in alcohol are only limited. These are the proverbial “empty calories”.
Calorie should be abolished as a unit for decades. Actually Joule is in Germany the prescribed and internationally standardized unit. Basically, the food industry still uses calorie only as a unit because many consumers prefer the calorie count in Joule. One kilocalorie equals 4.1868 kilojoules (Kj).
The breakdown of alcohol: (Almost) everything to the liver
Alcohol is a cytotoxin and must be broken down. The liver is responsible for that. Mainly responsible for the typical hangover symptoms is the intermediate degradation product acetaldehyde. Incidentally, not all alcohol is broken down by our liver. We also give a small amount of it to our kidney (0.3%), lung (0.7%) and skin (0.1%).
How do the calorie differences in beer come about?
The varying degrees of alcohol content of the various beers partly explains the differences in the calorie content of the beers. This also makes it clear why non-alcoholic beer contains significantly less calories than beers with alcohol and why strong beers – such as Salvator – are at the forefront of calories. However, alcohol is not the only calorie-containing ingredient in beer. The calorie content is also influenced by the carbohydrates contained or their degradation products. The content of carbohydrates in the beer may vary depending on the composition and brewing process. Although many feel that wheat is particularly heavy in the stomach, wheat beer is unjustly considered a calorie bomb. The two wheat beers in our calorie chart make it clear that the difference to the Pils is only slight.
As always: The quantity makes the damage!
Whether your own beer pleasure actually leads to being overweight depends very much on the amount you drink. To estimate, you should consider how many calories you take through the beer drunk and to what extent this covers the daily calorie requirement.
If we assume Pils – by far the most popular type of beer in Germany – then you have consumed 205 kilocalories after 0.5 liters. At 1 liter it is 410 kilocalories. Three halves make 615 kilocalories.
Assuming a daily requirement of 1,800 kcal, 1.5 liters of beer already cover one third of your daily needs. The statement makes it clear that – depending on consumption – beer can certainly be a cause of excess pounds. However, only if it is an integral part of the meal plan. After all, beer bellies do not grow overnight – even if you’ve been partying too much. Those who generally eat a balanced diet can enjoy their beer without a guilty conscience.
Calories in other drinks – like wine and liquor
Beer is almost low in calories compared to many other alcoholic drinks. For example, with a glass of wine (100 grams), you can eat 83 calories on average. So compared to a Pils wine contains twice the amount of calories. There is no fundamental difference between red and white wines. The only decisive factors are the alcohol content and the sugar content. The calorie content of sparkling wine is on average similar to that of wine. The calorie count of high-percentage alcoholic beverages is of course particularly high due to the calorie content of alcohol. “High percentages” like vodka, gin and grappa (40%) have 225 kilocalories per 100 milliliters. In terms of quality, only liqueurs like Baileys, Jägermeister and Eierlikör are worse off. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks that have more calories than beer (per 100 ml):
- Liqueur: 248 kcal
- Caipirinha: 197 kcal
- Sparkling wine and wine: 83 kcal
- Milk: 48 kcal
- O-juice: 44 kcal
Is it true that beer inspires cravings?
If you think about it how many people are still standing in front of a fast food stall after a pub or disco excursion late at night quickly suspects that drinking (a lot) of beer does not mean you are fed up. Beer contains “empty calories” in the first place. These are called when an energy-rich food contains relatively few nutrients such as proteins or minerals. The problem with empty calories is that they barely saturate.
In addition, alcohol consumption stimulates certain brain activities that cause feelings of hunger. In addition, alcohol deprives the body of fluid and salt. We tend to balance this loss of nutrients with hearty or salty meals.
The calorie trap then snaps when you give up your appetite for chips, salt sticks and Co. while drinking beer. These too contain mostly empty calories. As a result, at the end of the evening or night, you may have consumed an extra 1,000 kilocalories and more and still look in the fridge with your eyes wide open because your body is still lacking vital nutrients.
So who wants to take action against the beer belly, should not only pay attention to the amount of beer drunk, but also on what one eats with his beer.
Beer is not that empty after all
When it comes down to the fact that beer contains “empty calories”, that’s only half the story. Unlike alcohol, hops and malt contribute to the nutritional value of beer. They contain minerals, proteins and many B vitamins. Beers with high levels of yeast, such as yeast wheat, also provide the body with fiber that aids digestion.
Typical average nutritional value of beer (per 100 ml)
|42 kcal||0 g||3,1 g||1 g|
A snack does not always have to be a sin
Beer and snacks are a staple for many – but they do not always have to be pretzel sticks. Ideally food and drink provide a culinary delight and you should also give new and healthier snacks a chance.
Celery and Dip: You can use celery as a general-purpose stick for many dips. The spicy sticks go well with tomato, paprika and cucumber dips. On the basis of lean quark, you can mix low-carbohydrate and protein-rich dips.
Bruschetta with tomatoes and basil: Toasted bread with a crispy crust, basil, sun-ripened tomatoes and of course garlic. This not only makes a tasty treat with wine, but also works well with a wheat beer. To keep carbohydrate content low, you should use whole grain or spelled bread.
Sweat out the beer during sport
Hip and belly fat increase as we consume more energy or calories than we consume. So you should pay attention to how much and what you eat and drink. An alternative is to increase energy consumption through sport. Because when the “engine” is more stressed, it also requires more “gasoline”.
Of course, the simplest solution is to lace up the running shoes and start jogging. In half an hour of jogging you burn about 400 kilocalories (based on a man with 80 kilograms of body weight and a running speed of 10 km/h). You can run away the calorie content of 1 liter of Pils in half an hour by jogging. Experienced runners can increase fat burning by changing tempo while running. Interval runs bring the metabolism really in motion.
Measures against the beer belly:
Nutritional protocol: It is enough to record the nutritional behavior for a week; just write down what you eat and drink throughout the day and research the calorie data. In this way, you document your diet – and reveal where the calorie bombs hide.
Exercise for the whole body: One-sided training – whether endurance exercise or weight bench – is not ideally suited to stimulate fat burning. A mix of stamina and strength exercises for the abdomen, legs, torso and arms boosts the metabolism more effectively. You can, for example, insert cardio units on the rowing machine or ergometer between power units for a change.
Muscles instead of fat: Who builds muscle, which increases its energy needs. Muscles consume energy even when you are not doing anything. You can support muscle building through protein-rich nutrition. The training of large muscles is more effective than that of small ones.
Alcohol-free beer: the right drink for sports?
Just served for a match win and in the next moment the alcohol-free winner beer in hand – is that really good for the body? Yes, non-alcoholic beer after exercise is usually a sensible drink. Because most beers are isotonic. This means that the nutrient content of the drink is roughly the same as that of the blood.
This allows the body to digest the beverage very quickly and absorb the nutrients. Above all (isotonic) non-alcoholic beers can compensate for the loss of minerals and sugar (glycogen). Especially useful is the rapid compensation of minerals, if you have spent several hours of sports and sweat neatly.
What is it about diet beers?
A diet beer in the traditional sense is a beer with a reduced carbohydrate content. Brewers can reduce this with different methods. In one of these processes, all the carbohydrates in a special brewing process are converted into alcohol. Subsequently, the alcohol is then reduced to a standard level. Originally the beers were marketed for diabetics.
In summary: beer alone does not get you a belly
- Half a liter of beer contains an average of 200 kilocalories.
- The calorie content in beer depends on one hand on the alcohol content and on the other by the carbohydrates contained.
- Drinking beer does not set a feeling of satiety, but alcohol intake additionally stimulates the appetite.
- High-percentage drinks (especially with high sugar content) contain a lot of carbohydrates.
- Balanced meal before parties as well as deliberately selected and healthy snacks to the beer keep the calorie intake in check.
I hope this gives you a better idea now on the story of beer calories giving you a belly, share your thoughts on the subject in the comment box below and continue enjoying a cool beer after work just like I am going to do now – cheers.