If you’re considering trying a low-carb diet, you may be wondering if you’ll still be able to enjoy your favorite alcoholic beverages. If you’re a beer drinker, you might feel like you have to give it up completely to meet your weight loss goals. However, this isn’t true! While beer is more carb-heavy than hard liquors like vodka and tequila, there are tons of low-carb beer options you can enjoy in moderation.
In this article, we’ll explain the science behind alcohol’s effect on your body, tell you how many carbs are in all the most popular beer varieties, and give you recommendations for some great low-carb beer options.
Can you drink beer on a low-carb diet?
Low-carb diets like Keto and Atkins are extremely popular right now. They revolve around cutting your daily net carb intake and aiming to consume only 20-50 net carbs each day. The lack of carbs puts your body into a state of ketosis, which promotes fat burning and is said to lead to rapid weight loss.
Can you still drink beer while on a low-carb diet? The short answer is yes; anything can be enjoyed in moderation. However, most of the popular beers on the market today contain quite a few carbs, and too many can completely busy your daily carb allotment. There are a variety of low-carb beer options you can enjoy, but we recommend being careful, as they can add up quickly.
Even low-carb and low-calorie beverages can stall your weight loss when consumed in high quantities. Beer, wine, and cocktails contain a ton of empty calories, providing no nutrients like protein or vitamins. Alcohol can also stall your body’s fat-burning process, as your body will choose to metabolize the liquor instead of the food you’ve eaten. So while you can enjoy your favorite adult beverages in moderation, going overboard can push you off track when it comes to your weight loss goals.
How many carbs are in the average beer?
There are about 12 grams of carbs in the average 12-ounce can of beer. However, there is a huge range of beers with carb counts much higher and much lower than this number. In general, light beers will have far fewer carbs and calories than their original counterparts. We’ve broken down some popular beers and their carb counts, so you can make the smartest choice on your next night out.
Bud Light is the most popular, best-selling beer in the United States, and for good reason. Bud Light is a drinkable light lager with a fresh, clean, hop aroma, delicate malt sweetness, and a crisp finish. It’s extremely refreshing, making it the perfect choice for a hot summer day. Each can of bud light contains 110 calories and 6.6 grams of carbs. With a much lower carb count than the average beer, it’s a fairly good choice for dieters, but we wouldn’t recommend having more than one or two.
Budweiser, the heavier version of Bud Light, is also extremely popular. It’s a medium-bodied, American-style lager that is crisp and full of flavor. It is brewed with high-quality barley malt, a blend of premium hop varieties, fresh rice, and filtered water. It is much nutritionally heavier than Bud Light, with each can containing 145 calories and 10.6 grams of carbs. If you’re on a low-carb diet and you have a choice between the two, definitely opt for the Bud Light.
Another American-style lager, Busch is grainy, dry, and light, with a refreshingly smooth taste and crisp finish. It’s made from a blend of hops, barley malt, fine grains, and crisp water. The recipe hasn’t been changed since 1955, making Busch a classic. Each 12-ounce can of Busch contains 114 calories and 6.9 grams of carbs.
Busch beer’s lighter sibling, Busch Light, actually contains more alcohol than the original, which is unusual for a light beer. Busch’s ABV is 4.3%, while Busch Light’s is 4.5%. Busch Light is also dry but lighter in body, while still delivering a crisp, refreshing taste. At 95 calories and only 3.2 grams of carbs, it’s a great beer option for dieters.
Coors Light is another American-style light lager with a crisp, clean, refreshing taste and a smooth sip. It is light in body, with clean malt notes and low bitterness. It’s very easy to drink and is made with water, lager yeast, barley malt, and four different varieties of hops. Each can contains 102 calories and 5 grams of carbs, making it a fairly good low-carb beer option.
Corona Extra is one of America’s most popular imported beers. It hails from Mexico and offers aromas of fruit-honey and light malt. Corona is refreshing, crisp, well-balanced, and extremely drinkable, especially on a hot summer day. However, it is quite heavy, containing 148 calories and 14 grams of carbs. While one won’t completely throw you off track, we recommend stopping there if you’re trying to keep it low-carb.
Another popular import, Heineken hails from the Netherlands and is grainy, herbal, and light. It’s a full-bodied lager with a deep golden color, light fruity aroma, and a very mild bitter taste. It has a balanced hop aroma, and a crisp, clean finish, making it very drinkable and refreshing. It’s the highest calorie beer on this list, with 149 calories per can, but slightly lower-carb than Corona, with only 11 grams.
Michelob Ultra is supremely light, grainy, and refreshing. It’s a light lager that originates in Missouri and offers a clean, crisp taste with no artificial colors or flavors. It’s quite low in both calories and carbs, with only 95 calories and 2.6 grams of carbs per can. Michelob Ultra is a great choice for those on a low-carb diet and contains the fewest amount of carbs out of the top 10 best-selling beers in America.
Miller Lite is a smooth, refreshing, American-style pilsner with a light to medium body and a hop-forward flavor. Just as the name suggests, Miller Lite is light and crisp, with solid malt character and a clean finish. It’s billed as the ultimate party beer, great for backyard BBQs and tailgating. At only 96 calories and 3.2 grams of carbs per can, it’s another great choice for those trying to cut back on carbs.
Natural Light is always found at tailgates and fraternity parties. It has a light body and easy drinking character, making it perfect for outdoor events and parties. It is bready, dry, and grainy, but still a wonderfully blended and balanced American-style lager. Natural Light contains only 95 calories and 3.2 grams of carbs.
Best low-carb beers
While the average beer may contain 10-14 grams of carbs per serving, there are so many great beer options that are low in carbs but not in flavor. Here are some of our favorites:
- Corona Premier: If you love the taste of Corona but can’t afford to waste 14 grams of carbs on a serving, try Corona Premier. It’s a classic, refreshing choice, perfect for beach days and outdoor BBQs. Plus, each serving is only 90 calories, with just 2.6 grams of carbs.
- Lagunitas Daytime IPA: If you’re an IPA lover, you’re in luck: Lagunitas Daytime IPA has all the aroma and flavor of a traditional IPA but with far fewer carbs and calories. It has classic IPA bitterness, which is balanced by its smooth, refreshing qualities. Each can contains only 98 calories and 3 grams of carbs.
- Shiner Ruby Redbird Lager: If you like your beer on the fruitier side, look no further than Shiner Ruby Redbird Lager. It’s easy to drink, but offers a kick of grapefruit flavor, packing bold, tart, fruity flavors. Plus, with only 95 calories and 3.1 grams of carbs, it won’t break the bank, dietarily speaking.
- Kona Brewing Co. Kahana Blonde Ale: If you find yourself constantly wishing you were sitting on a beach in Hawaii, Kona Brewing Co. Kahana Blonde Ale will definitely hit the spot. It’s light, bright, and smooth, with a punch of tropical fruit flavor from real mango. Plus, with only 99 calories and 4 grams of carbs, it won’t get in the way of your swimsuit body goals.
Being on a low-carb diet doesn’t mean you have to give up enjoying your favorite beer. If you select your brew wisely and remember to drink in moderation, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy a few cold ones and still meet your health and fitness goals.
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