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October 3, 2008

Beer Magazine-Drink Beer and Don’t Get Fat!

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Written by: BeerMagDerek

Drink Beer, Don’t Get Fat–Slow Down the Bulge
words: Todd McElwee photos: Carl Hyndman
Article from the Mar/April 2008 (#3) issue of Beer Magazine
Beer Magazine March/April 2008 (Issue #3)
Want to see this article in full glory? Order a back issue!
There’s always a new diet. It seems like every day another spandex-engulfed priest of fitness ascends the pulpit of good health to preach the gospel of a revolutionary new system. Some call for no carbohydrates, others—cabbage soup. Rarely do any include beer. Face it. Beer will never be the darling of any nutritionist. However, there are ways to hold onto that 6-pack and incorporate your favorite brew into any diet.

Beer isn’t health food?
So why isn’t beer a health food? It all comes down to calories, carbohydrates, and metabolism. Like every other ingestible substance, beer contains a certain amount of calories. The Food and Drug Administration estimates that inside an average 12 oz. brew’s frosty goodness, there’s a modest 150 calories, most of which stem from carbohydrates. A single gram of carbs has four calories. One gram of alcohol has seven. Beer contains no fat.
Big Cheese Burger or more beer?

The science of getting fatter
Carbs are a prime source of energy because they require less water than protein or fats to digest. However, they are not an essential nutrient. Many researchers believe that carbs promote weight gain because they elevate blood sugar levels, triggering insulin to ship more blood sugar to the cells. A surplus of blood sugar hampers the cell’s ability to burn fat and lose weight.

Metabolism is how food is transformed into energy. It’s dependent upon the age, sex, and physical makeup of an individual. Alcohol can inhibit the body’s ability to burn fat because the liver, the only sufficient source of the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase, is enlisted to deal with alcohol and not fat.

In the end, it all comes back to calories. People gain weight because they ingest more calories than they use. The calorie calculator on the Mayo Clinic’s website indicates that a 25-year-old, 6-foot, 175-pound man should, depending on level of activity, suck down anywhere from 2,300 to 3,200 calories per day. Comparatively, the suggested daily consumption of a 40-year-old man with the same dimensions is only 2,150 to 3,050 calories, because older bodies require fewer calories to function properly. Those are the parameters you have to work with, so here’s how to fit beer into them.

Think about a basketball team whose best player has only one foul left to give before halftime. Does the coach vanquish his star into the locker room? No. He utilizes him during the most critical factions of the game while augmenting for the absence with the other players during the rest of the contest. It’s all about substitution, not exclusion, and the same applies to drinking beer.

Do the Math
Let’s say that Samuel Adams Boston Lager is your libation of choice. During any given week you might throw down a 12-pack of Jim Koch’s tantalizing amber concoction. One 12 oz. serving contains 170 calories. That’s 2,040 calories, or nearly one additional day’s worth of suggested intake per week. But you love BostonLager. You’d gladly swap two-thirds of your family for a single glass of the brew. It would be impossible to give up. Luckily, you don’t have to. Simply cut back your weekly Boston Lager intake to three, and insert nine Samuel Adams Lights at 119 calories each to sustain your 12-beer average. The substitution will save you 359 calories per week, while prolonging your affair with Beantown’s favorite lager.

More Math
In terms of calories, Boston Lager is a relatively average selection. Many of the world’s premier craft brews, with their high alcohol contents and exotic ingredients, rank much higher on the consumption ladder. An average 12 oz. Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA comes in at 9 percent alcohol, but with 294 calories. Substituting one of the brewery’s less wily 60 Minute IPAs reduces your intake by nearly a third to 209 calories, for a 510-calorie differential per 6-pack. Beck’s Light (64), Miller Lite (96) and Heineken Light (99) are all under 100 calories. For those who consider light beer blasphemous, dozens of brews weigh in under the FDA’s 150-calorie average, including Budweiser, Yuengling Lager, Icehouse, Miller High Life, Rolling Rock, and even Samuel Adams Pale Ale. Michelob Ultra only has 96 calories and 2.6 grams of carbs per serving.

Darker Lighter Beer?
Don’t judge a book by its cover. Lighter color does not necessarily mean lower calories or carbs. It’s about content, and not the genre it falls under. For example, many consider the black-as-night Guinness to be one of the globe’s heaviest brews and a meal in itself, but it only has 120 calories per 12 oz. serving. In contrast, the feathery, weightless Corona Extra tops out at approximately 150 calories. Brilliant!

Stop Eating
Ring the dinner bell, it’s last call. Every evening, countless patrons make a beeline from their local watering hole to the closest fast-food establishment for an 8-pound, bacon-engulfed, butter dipped cheeseburger. Any numb nut knows that people don’t eat healthy when they drink. Think about the last time you saw someone polish off a night of boozing with some vegetables and hummus. Once again, substitution is the key. Try ordering skinless wings in place of the deep fried variety. Instead of devouring a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese, medium fries, and medium coke, opt for a cheeseburger, small fries, and small coke to save yourself 400 calories.

Tips For Enjoying Beer
• Look to reduce your caloric intake. Skip the wings and go for a salad or something healthier.
• Pay attention to the calories on the beers you like. Drink the beer
with the least amount of calories, saving the higher-calorie beer for
a “treat.”
• Hit the gym! The best way to stay in shape (and not that of Grimace) is to work out.

Switching to light or lower calorie beer isn’t enough
Choosing between the bar and the gym is rarely a difficult decision for most beer lovers. And sorry, as much as we went them to be, beer pong and speed quarters aren’t considered exercising. What many don’t understand is how painless it can be to combat the bulge without entering a gym.

Literally RUN to the store
Getting off your butt is the only way it won’t grow. There are 3,500 calories for each pound of fat. Folks who are fortunate enough to reside within walking distance of a bar or liquor store should walk to get there. According to the Mayo Clinic, one hour of leisurely strolling (3.5 miles per hour) burns an average of 346 calories, or over two beers, in a 160-240 pound individual. Running is even better, whittling off roughly 1,200 calories (eight beers) every 60 minutes. However you develop it, lean muscle burns substantially more calories than fat, meaning more forgiveness for last night’s kegger, or leeway for this evening’s outing.

The Tab
Nothing is off limits. If you wish to enjoy a pound of gravy fries with a magnum of Chimay Blue every now and again, go ahead. Just remember, substitution is the key. Now you have the tools to help prevent your shapely pint glass physique from becoming a dimpled German stein or old barrel keg. It will take some work to enjoy the quantity of beer you may want to consume, but with a few sacrifices and a little sweat, having a few of your favorite beers won’t make it necessary to go pants shopping.

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One Comment

  1. […] Needless to say, I’ve been down this road myself a few times. It’s worth the read…read more | digg […]

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