Three reasons to avoid low-carb beers and spirits

Dr Nick Fuller
Leading Obesity Expert at the University of Sydney and founder of Interval Weight Loss.

For decades we have seen a rapid decline in the amount of beer and wine we drink. However, new research from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows a worrying trend that we are opting for spirits and pre-mixed alcoholic beverages instead – increasing from 1.79 to 1.89 litres per capita from 2016-17 to 2017-18.

Coupled with this is the “low carb” beer trend. Low carb beer drinkers now make up 25% of Aussies drinking beer when they used to comprise a mere 3% just over a decade ago.

Many are opting for spirits and low-carb choices for “health reasons”, and believe it is better for their waistlines. BUT, there are three reasons why you shouldn’t be ordering the spirits or low-carb beers next time you go to the bar.

1. It’s no lower in carbs

One in three men and one in five women believe they are selecting a healthier option when reaching for the “low-carb” variety, but it’s merely clever marketing and they certainly aren’t going to help you on your weight loss journey. Low-carb beers have a similar amount of carbohydrates (some even more!) as regular beer – and the amount of carbohydrate in beer is not much at all. A typical lager or ale will contain less than 1.5 grams of carbohydrate per 100 ml while the “lower-carb” variety can range anywhere from 0.5 grams to 2.0 grams. Next time you go to order, think about the quantity of alcohol you’re drinking rather than the carbs. And opt for a light beer instead.

2. You’re increasing your risk of disease

The current guidelines in Australia recommend that we should drink no more than two standard drinks per day – typically equating to one self-pour. But even at these low levels of consumption, you’re still putting yourself at risk of disease and it doesn’t matter whether you’re drinking beer, wine or spirits. Despite research showing heart health benefits at very low levels of consumption, there’s also plenty of research to show that it can increase your chance of cancer, so the risks may outweigh the benefits. 

3. They aren’t better for our waistlines

Whether it be beer, wine or spirits, the calories come from the alcohol and not the carbs, which many typically think. All alcohol is high in energy and drinking spirits or pre-mixer drinks is likely to result in you drinking more calories, not less.

To read the full article, originally published in The Daily Telegraph, click here.

About Dr Nick Fuller

Dr Nick Fuller is the founder of Interval Weight Loss and is a leading obesity expert at the University of Sydney with a Ph.D. in Obesity Treatment. Dr Fuller is also the author of three best-selling books and his work been published in top ranked journals in the medical field, including JAMA, Lancet and American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.