For lovers of beer who want to keep trim, low-carb beer sounds like a win-win situation. However, new research has revealed that when it comes to beer, ‘low-carb’ is a complete myth.
‘Marketing certain beers as ‘low carb’ is doing nothing more than giving these beers a false healthy halo,’ says Alison McAleese, dietitican and LiveLighter Campaign Manager who collaborated with Cancer Council Victoria on the research.
Despite 35% of men and 22% of women considering ‘low-carb’ beer to be a healthier drink option in a survey of over 1000 Victorians, it turns out there’s nothing that special about beer labelled as low-carb.
‘Low-carb beer has only slightly fewer kilojoules than regular beer. They’re not healthy, and drinking them certainly won’t prevent weight gain,’ says Ms McAleese.
The assumption behind low-carb beers being better for your waistline is rooted in the notion that carbohydrates are the reason for the high calorie count in beer.
However, this is not true. Beer is in fact naturally low in carbohydrates – about 1.4 grams per 100ml of beer. Low-carb beers might bring that down to 0.5 grams, which is not really enough to have a big impact on the calorie content of the beer.
Instead, it is the alcohol that is to blame for beer’s high-calorie count.
Ms McAleese says that confusion is completely understandable, since this information isn’t readily available and marketing has a huge influence.
‘Alcohol brands aren’t required to disclose kilojoule content and nutrition information, so consumers are far more likely to be duped into thinking beer is healthy by sneaky marketing messages like ‘low carb’.’
The Cancer Council of Victoria is calling on the Federal Government to enforce nutritional labelling on alcohol products, just as it does with regular food products, to help consumers make informed choices around drinking.
Recovering caffeine-addict and serial bruncher Eliza Murray feels most at home typing away in a cozy cafe with her re-mortgaged avocado toast nearby. When she isn't reporting on the latest Instagram-shattering glittery food trends, she can be found experimenting with new gin garnishes (hello strawberries!) or biting into an entire wheel of brie (no shame). She tweets @theothereliza