• I’ve read that the lower the alcohol in a beer, the less carbs in it.

    Rubbish. It’s the residual sugars left behind (dextrins) after fermentation that contribute to the majority of carbs in beer. Non-alcohol (NA) beers are a good example of what I mean. A Beck’s Haake NA hits 20 carbs per 12-ounce serving!

  • Doesn’t beer have the sugar maltose in it?

    In either trace, or quite often, no measurable significance to worry about. Sounds to me like someone’s been reading the South Beach Diet. For all you “wine is good—beer is bad” theorists out there, there’s residual sugar in wine too—mostly fructose and glucose…but I digress!

    What follows is a chart that describes residual sugars sometimes found in different styles of beer.


Excerpt from Malting and Brewing Science, Volume II Hopped Wort and Beer
J.S. Hough, D. E. Briggs, R. Stevens, T.W. Young
2nd Edition, Chapman & Hall

As you can see, the amount of maltose in these various beer styles is almost always nil, trace or in amounts so low as to be insignificant. And yet, the idea that the moderate consumption of beer can’t be included in a low-carb diet or a controlled-carbohydrate lifestyle persist. Even Doctor Arthur Agatston, author of The South Beach Diet, has pulled back his fangs on beer. “…if beer is your great love and you can do it in moderation,” he now concedes, “then give it a try.” If you throw a couple of bucks to the Doctor’s website in order to gain access to it (as always, this site provides FREE info), you also see that the inclusion of beer in The South Beach Diet is now accepted.

You can also read more about the moderate consumption of beer during a low-carb diet by clicking “HERE”

  • How many carbohydrates in Guinness?

  • If ever there is a question concerning beer and carbs, this certainly ranks as the #1 most-asked (#2 being “What’s the carb count for Newcastle Brown Ale?”). The answer, however, is not that simple. Guinness is brewed in a number of worldwide locations and the carb count for this product varies from an anecdotal 5.2 carbs per 12-ounce serving (from Stout by Michael J. Lewis; Brewers Publications, 1995), up to 17 grams or so. Diageo, the brewing group that owns Guinness, says there are 10 carbs in a 12-ounce serving of Guinness. Fosters in Australia, however, claims their version (contract-brewed??) of Guinness is 12.78 draught and 17.40 bottled. When in doubt, leave it out or simply make sure the canned or bottled version you pick up is really a draught product. Note also that the containers for Guinness come in various sizes and that carb counts given here are for 12-ounce servings.

  • Will my weight loss stall if I drink?

  • Yes. Alcohol is utilized by your body before any other fat, protein or carbohydrate. Of course, while you’re burning alcohol, you are in a temporary stall. Nothing else will be utilized. Keep in mind however, that 1 ounce of alcohol will be burned off in 1 to 2 hours. A 12-ounce beer equals the alcoholic strength of 4 ounces of wine equals 1 ounce of booze. Two drinks, therefore , will slow down your weight loss for 2 to 4 hours—to me, an insignificant amount of time to worry about. You make your own choice.

  • Does wine differ from beer in terms of carbs and such?

  • A lot of “yes,” no”,” and “maybe’s” here.
    One thing I HAVE to note—even the Atkins wesbsite doesn’t know what it’s talking about when beer, wine and booze come up in a discussion.
    From the Atkins FAQ:

Why can’t I consume alcohol when I am doing Atkins?

You should not drink alcohol during Induction, but you can drink moderate amounts of alcohol during the Ongoing Weight Loss, Pre-Maintenance and Lifetime Maintenance phases of the Atkins Nutritional ApproachTM. When given the choice, your body will burn alcohol for energy before it burns fat. But alcohol does not act as a carbohydrate so it will not interfere with burning fat in the same way that sugars and other carbohydrates do.

Alcohol consumption may also increase yeast-related symptoms, such as bloating, gas and cravings for sweets, and can therefore interfere with weight loss. Beer, which contains yeast, probably has the most yeast-forming components of any alcohol. An occasional glass of wine or vodka is the best choice. Scotch and other grain-based spirits are more likely to promote yeast problems

Another classic explanation of pure nonsense from the Atkin’s site:
“A 12-ounce can of beer contains about 12.5 grams, but you have to read the label since carbohydrate content varies from brand to brand.”¬† What label are they reading?



1.) “Beer, which contains yeast…”
The Atkins yeast bugaboo is a red herring of an argument. All commercial beers are filtered and contain little to no yeast. The beers are also pasteurized which destroys remaining yeast cells and any microbic critters that might sneak into the beer during the packaging process (the whole purpose of pasteurization, you might recall). You might find yeast in micro brewed/craft brewed¬† beers, but when Atkins started this “yeast in beer” nonsense, micro brewed beers weren’t even on the market!

2.) “An occasional wine or vodka is the best choice.”
Hogwash! Wine, just like beer, is a fermented product. Yeast causes the chemical reaction that creates ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide. The yeast is killed off in wine when sulfites are added to it and racked off to leave the yeast sediment behind. Wine winds up having no more nor less yeast in it than beer. Making a distinction between two products that are both derived from fermentation is absolute nonsense.

3.) “Scotch and other grain-based spirits are more likely to promote yeast problems.”
Someone was hitting the bottle when they wrote this. VIRTUALLY ALL BOOZE is derived from a mash containing grains, vodka included (exceptions being rum and tequila–no need to mash since the base is already fermentable). In the rare case of some Polish vodkas, potato or potato starch is used as a fermentable base, but with the necessary malted barley to boost the enzymatic action that takes place during the mashing process. However, whether grain or potato or even raw sugar is used in the initial fermentation, the fermentable used has no effect on the final product. After the fermentation is complete, the beer-like liquid is heated causing the alcohol to steam off. The high octane vapors are cooled and condensed, giving you booze.From that point, the alcohol can be infused with botanicals to make gin, stored in charred oaken barrels to make whiskey or scotch or simply filtered and bottled as vodka. Ethyl alcohol is ethyl alcohol and there is NO difference in the chemical composition of it whether it was derived from grains, potatoes or sugar.

What causes various levels of carbohydrates in beer and wine is the residual sugar left behind after fermentation. Ounce for ounce, the difference in the carb count of wine or beer is virtually nil. The “difference,” and the point that NOBODY seems to notice, is the serving size. Beer is normally indicated as a 12-ounce serving, wine as a 4-ounce serving. This is the equivalent to comparing apples to oranges. Drink 4-ounces of beer and you’ll be consuming the equivalent carb count of a 4-ounce serving of most wines.

4.) “How many carbs does alcohol contain?
“It varies by type of alcoholic drink. In the case of beer, read the label. For wine and spirits, refer to a carbohydrate gram counter.”

Did anybody at the Atkins company proof read this FAQ section? Alcohol does NOT contain carbohydrates. (I’m not making this massive blunder of an explanation up—check the Atkins site).

“In the case of beer, read the label.” Read the label? You get the feeling that who ever put this Atkins FAQ together never sat down and looked at a can of regular-brewed beer. ONLY low-carb beers have a nutritional analysis statement on them but the Atkin’s site takes no notice of this major distinction between “light” and regular beers. Is one to assume that “light” beer is the only kind of beer you’ll be able to drink the rest of your life? If you want a list of over 575 worldwide beers with their carb counts, click here.

As for getting the carb counts for wine by referring to a carbohydrate gram counter? If you’re content on only drinking 2 or 3 different brands of wine, then fine.