If you stick to low-carb beer in an effort to avoid the beer belly, we've got some deflating news.

By Joe McDonough


Posted on April 20, 2018

Wily marketing has seen diet-conscious beer drinkers flock to low-carbohydrate varieties, but the truth as revealed by the Cancer Council of Victoria , is that they are no better for your waistline than a standard lager or ale.

One in three men and one in five women, of the 1000 Victorians surveyed, believe low-carb beers like Hahn Super Dry or Carlton Dry are more guilt-free options because of the carb-count, but the Cancer Council study found there was no staggering difference across the board.

Carlton Dry, in fact, has more carbs than the standard (full carb) beer average of 1.4 grams per 100ml.

And it turns out the carb content is not your enemy anyway.

Dietitian Alison McAleese, the manager of the LiveLighter campaign, explains it’s the alcohol, and not the carbs, that made beer so high in kilojoules.

“Marketing certain beers as ‘low carb’ is doing nothing more than giving these beers a false healthy halo,” McAleese said.

Marketing certain beers as ‘low carb’ is doing nothing more than giving these beers a false healthy halo.

“Low-carb beer has only slightly fewer kilojoules than regular beer. They’re not healthy, and drinking them certainly won’t prevent weight gain.”

“The amount of carbohydrates in any beer is actually quite low — between 1 and 3% generally — and it’s not the main thing to be concerned about,” she said.

“We found that there wasn’t any relationship between low-carb claims and the amount of kilojoules, or energy, that’s in the drink.”

Time to make beer brands disclose kilojoule content

Considering the high number of Australians that have been misled by the marketing tactic and a lack of accessible information, LiveLighter and the Cancer Council are calling on the Federal Government to make nutrition labelling mandatory on all alcohol products.

“It’s not surprising people are confused about the health effects of beer,” McAleese said.

“Alcohol brands aren’t required to disclose kilojoule content and nutrition information, so consumers are far more likely to be duped into thinking beer is healthy by sneaky marketing messages like ‘low carb’.

“If kilojoule reduction is the goal, people are better off choosing lower alcohol beer or, better yet, cutting back on the amount of alcohol they are drinking.

“We’d like kilojoules to be labelled on bottles and cans of alcohol so people can make informed decisions about how much energy is in the beers they’re buying.

“We know when people get the information about what’s in their food, and this case in their drink, they do make healthier choices, and at the moment that information just isn’t available.”