Gluten Free, Low Carb Organic Beer: Which is Best for Your Health? – 05/13/2022

The debate about whether there is a healthy beer is like extensive bar conversations: everyone has their own opinion, and arguments are often not enough to convince those who disagree or not. The truth is that the drink, which is one of the favorites of Brazilians, is becoming more democratic due to new versions that take up more space on supermarket shelves and a loyal audience.

You can find craft beer, non-alcoholic (zero or low), light, low carb, gluten free, and even organic, made from natural ingredients with no added chemicals. According to the interviewed experts, the best options (with alcohol) are the most natural, with the least amount of ingredients, without the addition of chemical products, that is, artisanal and organic.

But ideal would be low-calorie, non-alcoholic and natural. This is because research is inconsistent. While some show that consumption in moderate doses protects the heart, others show that even a daily dose can already reduce brain size.

But putting all these factors aside, will this drink still be considered beer in the country that loves it so much?

Beer is good too

Contrary to what many people believe, beer (more natural) contains a range of nutrients. In addition to water, which corresponds to 90%, its composition contains antioxidant substances derived from hops and malt, which help in maintaining organic functions. “It has a lot of protein and calories, in addition to mineral salts and some B vitamins,” lists Flavio Luis Schimdt, food engineer, professor FEA-Unikamp (Faculty of Food Engineering, State University of Campinas).

Juliana KatoDietitian and Executive Director of Nutrition at Sochesp (Sociedade de Cardiologia do Estado de São Paulo) explains that the hop flowers used in the production, which impart a bitter taste and aroma, also contain phenolic compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. “In addition, brewer’s yeast is rich in micronutrients and is considered a probiotic because it contains a fungus. Saccharomycetes cerevisiae.”

Among the vitamins, niacin (B3), which acts on cholesterol lowering and overall health, and folate (AT 9), the action of which is associated with the formation DNA. Discovered minerals: magnesium, which plays a role in the functioning of body cells, phosphorus is involved in the restoration of cells and tissues, and selenium, which has antioxidant properties, is involved in the fight against free radicals.

“Recent studies have shown that moderate consumption, including beer, may have a protective effect on cardiovascular disease and mortality compared to teetotalers,” Giuliana says. Kato.

However, there are health benefits only when consumed in moderation and without intolerance to the ingredients and fermented products.

A tip for people looking for a healthier lifestyle is to always refer to the nutritional chart and ingredients list.

Image: Monica di Loxley/unsplash


We must not forget that beer is high in calories: each 350 ml can contains 150 kcal. “A lung must have up to 35 kcal per 100 ml to receive this classification. However, in a 350 ml jar there would be 122.5 kcal, that is, the reduction compared to the traditional one is not so significant. alcohol in the formula,” says Mayara Bernardo, clinical and renal nutritionist at HC-UFPE (Hospital das Clínicas, Federal University of Pernambuco), affiliated with the Ebserh network (Brazilian Hospital Service Company).

A tip for people looking for a healthier lifestyle is to always check your nutritional chart and ingredient list to see what you’re consuming.

O ciza (Health and Alcohol Information Center) recommends a maximum of two drinks per day for men and one dose for women, given a dose equal to 14 g of alcohol, which corresponds to 350 ml (one can) of beer. The difference arises because women have lower levels of the enzymes responsible for metabolism alcohol and take longer to eliminate it.

You can find low-alcohol versions on the market, with an ethyl alcohol content of less than or equal to 0.5%. The so-called zero alcohols have a maximum content of 0.05%, while those with a low alcohol content range from 0.5 to 2%.

According to the nutritionist of HC-UFPE, due to the fact that it does not contain alcohol in its composition, its calorie content is also lower, since 1 g of alcohol is equivalent to 7 kcal. “Non-Alcoholic” can contain up to 50% fewer calories than traditional and is ultimately also the choice of those who want to lose weight or even maintain a healthy weight.”

Even at lower alcohol concentrations, they are not recommended for pregnant women. “There is a consensus in the scientific community not to recommend it to pregnant women; about non-alcoholic beer, there is still no agreement on the permission to drink,” warns Paulo F. Henkinnutritionist and director open (Brazilian Association of Nutritionists).

What about gluten free?

Traditional beer contains gluten due to malt, which is made from cereals containing protein – barley, wheat, rye. Therefore, it is not recommended for people with gluten restrictions such as celiac disease, allergies or intolerances.

Thus, gluten-free options are made from other grains such as rice or using protein-digesting enzymes.

“The processes for reducing or eliminating gluten, as well as the processes used to reduce alcohol content, have greatly improved over the past 10 years. The quality of this beer was very close to the original recipes. Taste and aroma characteristics have not changed much. the same,” says food engineer Flavio Luis Schmidt.

However, the absence of a substance does not make the product healthier. “In addition, the calorie content is similar to the traditional one, and the concentration of alcohol and carbohydrates does not decrease,” explains Bernardo.

nutritionist Sochesp reminds that it is important to drink mindfully, and lists among the recommendations: feed while drinking, because alcohol is absorbed faster on an empty stomach. Hydration is also critical to preventing hangovers and dehydration and, finally, keeping your food restrictions in check. consumption.

“Need to back it up, no matter what the selected drink must be controlled quantity. Versions that are considered healthier give the false impression that they can be eaten freely,” concludes Bernardo.

Brazilians invent isotonic low-alcohol beer

Some of the problems associated with too much beer are alcohol abuse and dehydration. With this in mind, a researcher at Unesp (Universidade Estadual Paulista) in Araraquara (SP) has developed a low-alcohol isotonic pilsen.

According to Deborah Oliveira De Fusco of Unesp’s Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, who created the beer version, the ingredients of the recipe (malt, hops, yeast, water, sodium and potassium) go through the same manufacturing process as the alcoholic varieties, but the difference is that its fermentation is interrupted on the second day after the addition of yeast, which regulates the alcohol content, leaving it at about 0.2%.

So that the drink can also be characterized as isotonic, sodium and potassium were added to it at the end of the maturation process. “Many isotonic products on the market contain various artificial substances, such as, for example, dyes and preservatives. People seeking a more natural lifestyle do not want to consume this type of drink,” said Professor Gustavo Enrique de Almeida. Teixeira, professor at the Unesp Faculty of Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences in Jaboticábala and leader of the research that resulted in the new beer.

Sources: Flavio Luis engineer, professor at FEA-Unicamp (Department of Food Engineering, Campinas State University); Juliana KatoDietitian and Executive Director of Nutrition at Socep (Society of Cardiology of the State of São Paulo); Maiara BernardoClinical and Renal Nutritionist at HC-UFPE (Clinical Hospital, Federal University of Pernambuco) connected to the Ebserh network (Brazilian Hospital Service Company); Paulo F. Henkinnutritionist and director of Abran (Brazilian Association of Nutritionists).

Reference: Tacos (Brazilian food composition table).

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