If you’re used to ordering light commercial brews to keep the calories down, you’re not only missing out on taste, but on a whole heap of nutrients that get filtered out along with the calories. A better option? Craft beer, which is produced on a smaller scale using traditional brewing methods with a focus on ingredient quality.
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“A lighter beer has more empty calories compared to a nutrient-rich beer like a stout, or porter, or brown ale,” explains Matt Sieradzki, bar manager at The Craft Brasserie and Grille in Toronto and Master Prud’homme Beer Sommelier. “If you get a really good unfiltered brown ale or IPA, it’s going to have a lot of beneficial things.” While craft beers do undergo some natural filtration, remnants from proteins, barley and hops leave you with full-bodied, robust flavors that are perfect for the season and also pack an impressive nutritional profile. On top of protein, fiber, and complex carbs—which are easily broken down, especially if you’re active—you also get selenium, B vitamins, phosphorus, female-friendly folate, niacin, plus antioxidants and silicon, which has been shown to help prevent osteoporosis. Craft beers are also typically free of additives and preservatives, since alcohol and hops are natural preservatives.
If you’re gluten-free, a dry cider is a good lower-sugar option.