If you're going to have a beer, here's how to make it a healthier one....
1. Go for one that's lower in alcohol content so you don't overdo your units. The Department of Health says there is no safe alcohol limit - but if you can't do without your booze, try to keep to 14 units a week, or less, if possible. You may think a half pint is one unit - that's only true if the alcohol content is around 3.5%. Any more and your units will be creeping up without you realising it.
2. Avoid the high sugar versions - they increase the calorie count. Fruit-flavoured beers or a cider alternative can add several teaspoons of sugar.
3. Splash out on organic beer. It's difficult to conclusively prove they make a significant difference to your health but anything made without the use of lots of pesticides is likely to be better for you and the environment. Yes, they may cost a bit more than mass-produced versions, but if it means you drink fewer as a result, that's a win for your health too!
4. Choose varieties with added benefits. A pint of Guinness or other dark beer has more fibre than light beer and lots of B vitamins. Plus it fills you up, with no more calories than lighter beer.
5. Go gluten-free if you have coeliac disease or are truly gluten-intolerant. The gluten-free beers are getting better and better as demand increases. Though personally I would probably opt for a drink that is naturally gluten-free than one that may require extra processing to remove gluten.
And remember, for the sake of your weight, don't overdo it - there's a good reason for the name 'beer-gut'. The central obesity that causes the classic beer-gut appearance is also the type most associated with heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke - so you may get more than you bargained for in your pint.
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