July 16th, 2019

Living On F-Factor: BEER

You asked, we listened. Follower question of the week.

Q: I LOVE beer, but I know it’s carb-heavy and a no-no on F-Factor. Are there any options for me?

A: Yes! We never thought we’d be saying this, but with recent rise in carb-conscious American consumers, low carb beers are now a thing… and some of them are low enough in carbs that you can have even if you’re on Step 1 of F-Factor! What you should know about beer in general, why beer has long been taboo, the low carb beers you can enjoy while following Step 1 of The F-Factor Diet, and how to journal them here.

BEER’S BAD RAP 

The reason beer has long been associated with a beer belly (and taboo on F-Factor) is because it is more carb heavy than other alcoholic beverages. Where a glass of wine is around 2g of carbs, and a shot of clean liquor is 0g carbs, a 12-oz serving of regular beer has around 12-15g of carbs. Step 1 of F-Factor limits your intake of carbohydrates to just 3 servings of high-fiber carbs per day, so beer would not be an appropriate choice. Talk about bad news beers

The reason beer has more carbs than other alcoholic beverages has to do with the key ingredient that fermented to produce alcohol. All alcoholic beverages are produced through the fermenting of carbohydrates. Wine is what happens when grapes are fermented, and beer is a fermented grain beverage. The carbohydrates in grains, which are used to make beer, are more complex than the carbohydrates that are used to make wine, fruit. Because the carbs to make beer (grains) are more complex carbs, the yeasts that ferment said carbs have a harder time converting them to alcohol than they do with fruit. Thus, the fermentation process of grains yields a beverage (beer) with more carbs, and less alcohol than it does with wine. 

WHAT ABOUT LIGHT BEERS? 

Light beers are beers that have reduced calories and/or alcohol content, in comparison to their OG counterparts. To make beers with reduced caloriesAKA light beersbrewers cut alcohol levels. This is because alcohol contains more calories than carbohydrates do. The more alcohol in a drink by volume, ABV, the more caloric a drink isso if brewers reduce the alcohol, the calories go down. The result is something with about 2/3 the calories of regular beers (and a lower ABV). This is great if you like the taste of beer and just looking for one that is less strong, but not so great if you’re carb conscious, as the carb-content often remains rather unchanged in the process. Therefore, despite the reduction in calories, your average light beer still is not suitable for Step 1 of F-Factor.

THE NEW LIGHT BEERS – LOW CARB BEERS

With the rise of health-conscious and carb-conscious consumers, brewers have found new ways to further improve their product lines. As mentioned above, to reduce calories, brewers cut alcohol levels. To cut carbs, brewers to tinker with the grain mixes (adding corn and rice), change yeast types and mashing temperatures and extend fermentation times to convert as many of the carbs into alcohol as possible. Therefore, many low-carb beers have an alcohol content comparable to standard, full-carb beers (which is somewhere around 4-5% ABV), but with lower calories and very little residual sugar. And because the carbs are lower too, the calories are comparable to those of light beers. 

HOW DO BREWERS MAKE LOW CARB BEERS
[box]There are a few methods brewers use to reduce the carb content in their beers:

  1. The brewer adjusts the amount of grains and may change the source of carbs in the original recipe.
  2. The “mashing” temperatures are adjusted so that as much as the complex carbs are broken down into simple sugars to make it easier for the yeast to convert to alcohol.
  3. Lastly, the brewer allows a sufficient fermentation time so that the yeast can work it’s hardest and preform its best.
  4. The brewer might even use a particularly more efficient strain of yeast.[/box]

The resulting beers are lower in calories and carbs.

TOP 10 BEERS FOR LIVING ON F-FACTOR (AND HOW TO JOURNAL THEM) 

The best beers for living the F-Factor Way have less than 5g carbs per serving. From highest in carbs to the absolute lowest, here are our picks // highest calorie beer to lowest, here are X beers with 5g carb or less per serving  (unless otherwise stated, 1 serving is defined as 12 oz) 

BECKS PREMIER LIGHT (4g carbs)⁣ – With an ABV of 2.3%, this 64-calorie beer is an example of a lower calories being achieved by reducing both the alcohol content and carb content. To journal (1 serving): 4g carb, 0g fiber 

DOGFISH HEAD SLIGHTLY MIGHTY IPA (3.6g carbs)⁣ – With an ABV of 4% this 95-calorie low carb IPA is on par with your standard beers in terms of alcohol content. Bonus: each serving provides 1 gram of protein too. To journal (1 serving): 4g carb, 0g fiber 

BUSCH LIGHT (3.2g carb) – This 95-calorie beer has an ABV of 4.1%. To journal (1 serving): 3g carb, 0g fiber 

NATURAL LIGHT (3.2g carb) – Otherwise known as Natty Light, this 95-calorie beer is on the stronger side of low-carb beers with an ABV of 4.2%. To journal (1 serving): 3g carb, 0g fiber 

MILLER LIGHT (3.2g carbs)⁣ – With an ABV of 4.2% and 96 calories per serving, this beer is similar to both Busch Light and Natty Light. To journal (1 serving): 3g carb, 0g fiber 

RUBY REDBIRD (3.1g carbs)⁣ – At 95 calories per serving and an ABV of 4%, this low carb beer holds its own with hints of grapefruit and ginger flavor. To journal (1 serving): 3g carb, 0g fiber 

CORONA PREMIER (2.6g carbs)⁣ – This 90-calorie beer has an ABV of 4.0%, so it’s on the stronger side of the lowest carb beers. To journal (1 serving): 2.5g carb, 0g fiber

MICHELOB ULTRA (2.6g carbs)⁣ – This 64-calorie beer has an ABV of 4.2%, making it the strongest of the under 3g carb per serving beers, and the most similar in terms of alcohol content to regular beer. To journal (1 serving): 2.5g carb, 0g fiber 

MILLER GENUINE DRAFT 64 (2.4g carbs) – This 64-calorie beer has an ABV of 2.8%, making it an all around light choice. To journal (1 serving): 2.5g carb, 0g fiber 

BUDWEISER SELECT 55 (1.8g carb) – In terms of carbs and calories, the choice is clear with this beer—one 12-oz beer actually has less carbs then a glass of wine! Each serving of this 2.4% ABV beer also contains 1g protein. To read more about why we love this beer, click here. To journal (1 serving): 2g carb, 0g fiber 

THE #1 BEER FOR LIVING ON F-FACTOR
[box]Despite not the absolute lowest carb beer we could find (shoutout to Budweiser Select 55 for holding that title), Michelob Ultra is your best bet to get a little beer buzz on. This is because it is the lowest carb and lowest calorie beer that contains as much alcohol as regular beers. In other words, they were able to reduce the carbs and calories significantly with this beer, without having too great of an impact on alcohol levels. You’d essentially have to drink 2 55-calorie Bud Select 55’s to affect a similar level of inebriation from 1 64-calorie Michelob Ultra. Thus, that 1.8g carb drink turns into 3.6 (and instead of 55 calories, you’re up at 110.. and likely really have to pee…) 

Of course, if beer is your drink of choice just because you like the taste and want a less strong drink, save the 10 calories and go with lowest carb options.[/box]

AND IF YOU DRINK TOO MANY…

Our handy-dandy hangover helper guide is always here for you. As always, drink responsibly.