Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Beer 101 from WW

29 facts and tips to savor with your favorite malt beverage.

Your typical 12-ounce beer with 5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) contains 3 POINTS® values.

The typical 16-ounce draft pint contains 4 POINTS values.

Most 12-ounce light beers are about 2POINTS values.

A 1-pint draft of light beer is 3 POINTSvalues.

Beer bellies, the traditional male malady, are enough to put either sex off downing a cold one. But they're a myth, says Charlie Bamforth, PhD, chair and professor, Department of Food Science and Technology, University of California, Davis and author of Beer: Health and Nutrition. "This is a silly myth. If folks get fat from drinking beer it's because their total calorie intake is too high and they are not working it off."

What’ll ya have?

There are thousands of different beers. Here’s a selection of a dozen popular brews. Some are smarter grabs that save POINTS® values. All are 12 ounces.

Beers with 1 POINTS Values

Miller Genuine Draft Light 64 (MGD 64) 
Becks Premier Light

Beers with 2 POINTS Values

Amstel Light 
Guinness Draft (bottle) 
Aspen Edge 
Samuel Adams Light 
Bud Select

Beers with More POINTS Values

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale 
Coors Blue Moon 
Red Hook IPA 
Molson Golden
The good news
Beer includes some minerals as well as:
  • NO cholesterol
  • NO fat
  • Very little sugar

The bad news
While experts may pooh-pooh beer bellies, the fact remains that alcohol is one calorie-dense nectar, packing seven calories per gram. That's almost as much as fat, which has nine calories per gram. Don't blame the malt. "The most significant source of calories in beer is the alcohol itself," says Bamforth, "The stronger the beer, the more calories."

  • Most 12-ounce beer with 5 percent alcohol by volume contains POINTS values.

  • The typical 16-ounce draft pint contains POINTS values.

  • Most 12-ounce "light" beers arePOINTS values.

  • 1-pint draft of light beer is 3POINTS values.

  • 12-ounce non-alcoholic beer isPOINTS value.

  • You can now buy beer with 1POINTS values; they are the lowest in alcohol, at about 3 percent by volume.
Can it improve your health?
Some studies show that moderate drinking may help lower risk of heart disease, particularly in women over 55 and men over 45. But what is moderate? For women, it's no more than one drink per day. For men, it's no more than two. Exceed your quota, and the risk of heart and liver disease, stroke and accidents negate any perks. 

Don't follow the lite
The terms "light" and "lite" (or any other cutesy variation) have no legal definition. They could mean the beer is light in color or lighter than lead — or anything else the staff at the brewery decided. 

Watch your low-carb language
If the labels reads "low carbohydrate," the beer must have no more than 7 grams of carbohydrates per serving. But any beer can tout "reduced carbohydrates" or "lower carbohydrates" on its label, just so long as the brewery makes a more carb-heavy beer. Shifty, eh? 

Do suds wine-style
A tip that adds civility and can shave POINTS values: "There's nothing wrong with pouring a beer into two glasses at dinner like you would with wine," says George F. Reisch, brewmaster for Anheiser Busch, Inc. Yes, you read correctly. One of the guys who makes Budweiser takes his Bud in a white-wine glass. "I actually think people should share beers more," Reisch adds. "It's smart and your last sip will still be cold." 

Nix the nuts
Those robotic grabs of peanuts or cheddar fish can add up to triple the calories and POINTS values of the beer you drink. Be prepared: Drinking can lead to snacking, so keep the right stuff on hand — or see if you can charm the bartender into stocking better choices. Instead of party mix, try: 

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