Calories in Beer: Do You Know The Numbers?

In this second in a series of articles looking at calories in alcohol, we take a closer look at calories in beer and lager - notably, where these calories come from, how the emergence of a ‘light’ beer category has confused things for consumers, and how the number of calories in a pint across the UK’s most popular brands compare to our lower calorie alternative from Skinny Brands.

Where do the calories in beer come from?

The calorie count in beer is dependent upon alcohol levels and sugar/carbohydrate content, with alcohol having the most impact due to the higher number of calories per gram in alcohol (7) than carbs (4).

As a side note, often confused in the UK market to mean low calorie, light beer by industry definition actually means a reduced level of alcohol, and the lower number of calories is a byproduct of lessening the calorific impact that alcohol has within that beverage - as detailed above. However, this lower level of alcohol (and subsequently calories) is relative to that brand’s regular bottle of beer. Therefore, when faced with a new brand of light beer, it is important to find out the exact number of calories contained in that beer, rather than assuming that it falls below that of other bottles without the word ‘light’ in their name.  

Leaving that to one side, beer also has the impact of delaying the fat-burning process your body is undertaking prior to consuming alcohol. By viewing alcohol as a toxin, the body focuses its efforts at processing and eliminating alcohol when consumed. As a result, everything else comes to a complete standstill. This means that your body will stop burning other such things, including its stored fats. As such, if drinking beyond moderation, your body has a double whammy from the calories in the beverage, as well as increasing the impact of calories consumed before, during and after alcohol consumption - not good at all if you’re trying to restrict your calorie intake. 

How many calories are there in a pint of beer?

The number of calories in a pint varies considerably between different types of beer. The prevailing opinion is generally that the darker the beer and the denser the head, the more carbs and calories it contains. We’ve found, however, that this isn’t actually always the case. For instance, using the myfitnesspal database, we can see some pretty surprising numbers below:

  • Pint Kronenbourg (5.0% ABV): 244 calories
  • Pint Peroni (5.1% ABV): 235 calories
  • Pint Budweiser (4.5% ABV): 232 calories
  • Pint Cobra (4.8% ABV): 228 calories
  • Pint Heineken (5.0% ABV): 227 calories
  • Pint Stella Artois (4.8% ABV): 227 calories
  • Pint Becks (4.8% ABV): 226 calories
  • Pint Guinness (4.1% ABV): 210 calories
  • Pint Skinny Lager (4.0% ABV): 149 calories

By using higher levels of sugar, the likes of Peroni, Kronenbourg, Budweiser, Heineken, Stella Artois are in fact delivering significantly high number of calories to its consumers - even higher than Guinness. There appears a misperception, then, that lager is the better option for anyone wanting to watch their calorie intake from beer.

In essence, it is always best to work off of facts, and based on these facts we can see that Skinny Lager has a much lower number of calories compared to regular lager. Comparatively it has the following:

  • 39% fewer calories than a pint of Kronenbourg
  • 37% fewer calories than a pint of Peroni
  • 36% fewer calories than a pint of Budweiser
  • 35% fewer calories than a pint of Cobra
  • 34% fewer calories than a pint of Heineken
  • 34% fewer calories than a pint of Stella Artois
  • 34% fewer calories than a pint of Becks
  • 29% fewer calories than a pint of Guinness

Notably, Skinny Lager also has 10 less calories per bottle than Corona Light, which is a popular lager for a lot people trying to reduce their number of calories from alcohol. This demonstrates how including the word ‘light’ in the name doesn’t necessarily make it the lowest calorie alternative. This difference is all the more impressive when we take into consideration that Skinny Lager actually has slightly more alcohol than Corona Light (4.0% versus 3.9% ABV).

In summary, if you’re looking for a lower calorie beer that is still 4.0% and has a premium taste to it, then there really isn’t a better option in our opinion. If you’ve not tried Skinny Lager yet, why not treat yourself to a case today?

As always: drink responsibly, drink smart and drink skinny.

Leave a comment