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    Archive for the ‘beer’ Category

    In The News: Beer for Bones?

    2111The hot topic of the moment buzzed about by nutritionists and late-night comedians alike comes courtesy of a study conducted by the Department of Food Science & Technology at the University of California, Davis published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

    The study’s conclusion? “Beer is a significant source of dietary silicon, a key ingredient for increasing bone mineral density.”

    As someone who doesn’t drink alcohol, I have no strong feelings about the research.

    For the record — my lack of interest in alcoholic beverages is solely a matter of disliking alcohol’s flavor.  For whatever reason, when some people hear me say I don’t drink alcohol, they almost expect me to go on a 30-minute monologue about why everyone should avoid it if they are about their health or why my moral compass disagrees with such a substance.

    Back to the study.  The mainstream media — of course — had more fun with this than a housecat in a room full of mice.  Awkward puns graced headlines, practically anointing beer as a recommended beverage (“by scientists!”, no less) against osteoporosis.

    It is true that adequate intakes of silicon are necessary for bone growth and maintenance.  And, yes, beer is indeed a good source of silicon.

    However, everyone who eats a varied diet — especially one high in whole, unprocessed foods — is getting more than sufficient amounts of silicon.  Remember, too, that bone health involves many nutrients — mainly calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, and phosphorus.

    It is precisely those four nutrients that many people do not get enough of!  Having an extra beer every day isn’t going to do much good for your bones if your vitamin D and magnesium intake doesn’t meet the recommended amounts.

    The study is certainly interesting — and accurate — but “beer is good for osteoporosis” claims blindly jump from point A to point Z — and fall flat on their face halfway through.

    Remember: no one food is “good for” a condition.  It is general dietary patterns that provide you with a good amounts of various nutrients that are helpful.  I know, that line of thinking is not going to sell millions of books, but at least I’m being completely truthful.


    You Ask, I Answer: Alcohol & Weight Loss

    tall_beerI would like to know the calorie content for beer, hard liquor and wine.

    If you’re trying to lose weight, what kind of alcohol should you stick to/try to avoid?

    Is it better to drink wine instead of beer?

    — Lori (last name withheld)
    Ottawa, Ontario

    As far as calorie figures are concerned, please refer to this post from July 2009.

    If weight-loss is your goal, though, liquid calories should be the first to go.

    Unless you are talking about homemade smoothies made with whole fruits and fiber-rich ingredients like oat bran and ground flax, liquid calories do very little towards helping you feel full, making it very easy to consume several hundred calories and still feel hungry.

    The best alcohol to drink is the one you simply drink less of.

    If, for instance, you find that one glass of red wine satisfies you the same way that three beers do, then wine is the best choice.

    Wine is not “more fattening” than beer, or vice versa.

    That said, keep in mind that mixed drinks are often higher in calories because they also include soda, fruit juice, or cream, all of which add extra calories.


    You Ask, I Answer: Nutrition Labels on Alcoholic Beverages

    Mike's Hard LemonadeWhy don’t alcoholic beverages have nutrition labels?

    — Corey Clark
    (Location Unknown)

    The answer is quite dull — bureaucracy.

    Since alcohol is regulated by the US Bureau of Tobacco, Alcohol, and Firearms — and not the Food & Drug Administration — those products are not required to carry a Nutrition Facts label.

    Interestingly, any alcoholic beverages that make weight or calorie-related claims (such as “light beers”) must display calorie values.

    Last year, there was talk of the Department of Treasury — huh? — mandating that all alcoholic beverages display a Nutrition Facts label by 2010, although I don’t know what the current status of that is.

    In the meantime, here are some helpful caloric reminders:

    • A 12-ounce bottle of regular beer contains, on average, 145 calories
    • A 12-ounce bottle of light beer, on average, adds up to 110 calories
    • A 12-ounce bottle of an alcoholic beverage like Mike’s Hard Lemonade or Smirnoff Ice contains approximately 220 calories
    • A 1.5 ounce shot of hard liquor provides, on average, 98 calories (depending on the specific liquor, this figure can range from 80 to 120 calories)
    • A serving of wine (defined as a hard-to-gauge 5 ounces) contains, on average, 115 calories

    As you can imagine, it is easiest to keep track of calories that come in bottles or cans (if you polish off three 12-ounce bottles of regular beer in one night, some simple math reveals you drank approximately 435 calories).

    The problems come in when a bartender makes a drink that may have anywhere from 1.5 to 3 ounces of hard liquor, or when your glass of red wine is refilled throughout the night before it ever has a chance to run empty.


    You Ask, I Answer: Sports & Fitness Beer (!)

    I’ve stumbled onto a Bavarian non-alcoholic beer that the brewer calls “The Sports and Fitness Drink “

    I’d be very interested to hear what you think about their claims.

    Is it all a crock or might they truly be onto something?

    — Kevin L. Mickle
    Las Cruces, NM

    PS: Over the last 2 1⁄2 months, I’ve lost over 15 lbs fat, 4.5% body fat, 3” off my waist, and gained about 6 lbs muscle (a guess) all from daily exercise and eating right.

    A good portion of “eating right” comes from following your recommendations. Thank you again!

    First of all — congratulations on achieving your health and nutrition goals.

    I know it takes a lot of effort, commitment, and hard work — especially achieving it in a healthy way.

    Onto your question.

    Wow, what a bizarre — and funny — product.

    Erdinger’s “lively, tasty, healthy fitness drink” is a 125 calorie alcohol-free beer that “contains all B-group vitamins and offers high levels of potassium, magnesium, phosphorus” along with all nine essential amino acids and soluble fiber.


    The manufacturer is very skimpy on details.

    The only numbers the website mentions are the 2 grams of protein and 25 percent of the daily folic acid requirement.in each half liter bottle.

    The fiber claim strikes me as particularly odd for two reasons. Firstly, I doubt the fiber content in this beverage is high; wheat beers — regardless of their alcohol content — are not good sources.

    Besides, whatever amount is present is most definitely not in the form soluble fiber. Remember, wheat fiber is exclusively insoluble.

    Lastly, fiber is not something that needs to be replenished after strenuous exercise. It is irrelevant to muscle recovery.

    Verdict? This drink has nothing to do with sports or fitness.

    It’s just a regular non-alcoholic beer with a few vitamins and minerals sprinkled on top for gimmick purposes.

    Feel free to drink it with a meal if you enjoy the taste and can afford the calories, but consider it just another alcohol-free beer.


    ADA Conference: No Comments

    I’m not even going to bother to comment. The photo on the left was taken at one of the many booths present at the ADA’s Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo.

    The chart on the right-hand side of the board lists calorie contents of several beverages, promoting beer as one of the lower calorie alternatives.

    I’ve tried to make sense of this booth’s presence, but I can’t. Anyone care to help? What connection am I not seeing between beer and nutrition?


    Numbers Game: Answer

    So there you are at a great party, enjoying the people and drinks. Four cans of beer later (without nibbling on anything the whole night) you have downed 450 calories.

    You could have eaten a McDonald’s double cheeseburger and saved yourself 10 calories!


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