February 17, 2012

Dark Side of the Glass

A typical German dark wheat beerImage via Wikipedia
Come to the dark side.
Wednesday evening I came across a piece on CraftBeer.com debunking the myth that dark beers have higher alcohol content and more calories than lighter-colored beers.

It was a fine tune to my ears as I've been a slight proponent of that issue for the last few months. A while back I had two posts that featured a few links to studies saying that not only was beer healthy to consume daily in moderation, but in most cases the darker the beer is the better it is for you.

The article makes a few good points on how some lighter-colored beers have plenty more alcohol in them, along with having a lot more calories. I've noticed that some of the darker beers I've tried have an oddly low number of calories. I never thought of checking into the numbers of some of the lighter ones until I read the article last night.

Since I've embarked on this quest to try as many good beers as possible I've made numerous trips to the gym. It's common sense to figure that since you're drinking a bit more beer than your body's used to, that you might put on a few extra and unnecessary pounds.

Add that to my love of pairing a well-crafted beer with an awesome meal most evenings out of the week. Let's just say that I, a person infested with paranoia, was in a rush to pay for my gym membership at the turn of the new year.

Let's fast forward a month and a half. According to my Foursquare account, I've been to my gym 25 times as of yesterday. On average I burn around 500-600 calories per trip. So, if my math is correct I've burnt at least 12,500 calories so far in 2012 (500*25) and that's just the minimum!

I've weighed myself twice since I started hitting the gym. Once in January and once in February. The last time I bothered to weigh myself was last summer when I weighed around 182 lbs. This January I was suddenly 170 lbs. In February I was down to 162.

Now, I'm not one of those that takes a notebook with them for a workout to record reps, times etc. I'm sure the exercising I've done has played a huge role in what I've lost. I also don't have a complete breakfast every day as I substitute some blueberries and blackberries with a glass of orange juice before heading out. I've almost completely cut out pop/soda from my diet. I'm no dietician, but it's of my opinion that some of the beer I drank also played a role in a bit of this.

Let's take a look at some of the darker beers with lower calorie counts.
  • Guinness Draught: Estimated calorie amount is 123. This is among the lowest calorie amounts I've come across in any beer. This beer is also one of the darkest and stronger tasting ones out there. Eating three or four cookies puts more calories into your body than this beer does.
  • Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout: Estimated calorie amount is 150. Also a very dark beer as well as supplying you with that chocolaty and coffee thickness.
  • Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald: Estimated calorie amount is 174. Haven't had this in a few years, but I remember it being thick, strong and black.
Keep in mind that if you plan to remain at your current weight or even wish to lose a few pounds, I'm not saying that drinking beer will help the pounds just fall off, but some beers are a healthier alternative in some cases as opposed to soft drinks which can hold calorie counts that are almost double.

You also can't slug down beers like some college kids do most nights either. I've obviously added a few other tricks such as exercise and fruit to my repertoire to help stay at a certain weight and it turns out that I've actually lost some.

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