Health Nutrition

Light vs. Dark Beer: Are There Benefits or Harm Between Them?

People have been enjoying light beer and dark year for years.

Whether you’re drinking a pint with some of your best friends or you’re winding down with a bottle at home after a long day, beer is one of the most popular beverage choices.

Not all beer is the same and there is a myriad of different types of beer that differ in recipe, taste and alcohol content. Lots of beer drinkers have strong opinions about whether dark beer or light beer tastes better, but beer in fact offers a number of health benefits when it’s consumed in moderation and can actually be a great part of a well-balanced diet! However, different kinds of beer offer different kinds of health benefits.

Find out more about the difference between light beer and dark beer when it comes to taste and impact on health.

Get the scoop on dark beer

Dark beers, like porters and stouts, are made from a barley malt that has been darkly roasted. The darker the malt is, the darker the beer will be. In addition to darker malts yielding a darker coloration, they also produce a sophisticated, complex taste profile. Dark beers usually have notes of flavors like chocolate and toffee, produced by the roasting of the malt.

What you might not know about dark beer is that it also has several health benefits. There are tons of antioxidants in dark beer that are great for your health. These antioxidants help prevent things like cataracts and other diseases from developing. Although not conclusive, some studies have suggested that dark beers might also help prevent atherosclerosis—a disease that contributes to heart disease and stroke.

Another great benefit of dark beer is that it has a high iron content—the highest of any kind of beer. Drinking a dark beer can help you reach your required daily value of iron, which helps keep your energy levels high and promotes healthy hair, skin and nails. Considering iron deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies, lots of people could use the extra dose of iron that dark beer has to offer. Cheers!

Is light (lite) beer better or worse?

Light beer is characterized primarily by a lighter color, but also a lighter flavor. While dark beers tend to have malty flavor characteristics, light beers have a hoppy taste and often citrus and floral notes. The taste profile of light beer is not usually as rich as dark beer and it also has fewer calories and carbohydrates. Light beer is a popular choice for people who are watching their calorie intake or who are sensitive to the high carbohydrate content of darker beers.

Light beer doesn’t have as many antioxidants or nutrients as dark beer, so it isn’t as effective at preventing cataracts or reducing the chance of blood clots. Light beer also has a lower iron content than dark beer.

Still, it can be a healthy option for some! For people who are trying to lose weight with calorie reduction, light beer is the clear choice over dark beer. Light beers have between 60 and 100 calories per bottle compared with about 200 for dark beers. If you want to enjoy a drink at a social function without busting your calorie budget for the day, a light beer is an excellent choice.

Since it has fewer carbohydrates than dark beer, light beer usually won’t make you feel bloated or groggy after you drink it. Still, it’s important that you don’t go overboard on light beer. Because it has a lower alcohol content than dark beer, people tend to drink several bottles to get a buzz. However, by the time you’ve had three bottles of light beer, you will have consumed far more calories without a significantly greater alcohol content than dark beer.

The bottom line on beer

It’s important to be aware of the health benefits and potential risks of anything you’re consuming, but remember: beer is meant to be enjoyed. Regardless of whether you reach for a pale ale or an English porter, take the time to really appreciate the beer that you’re drinking and consider the thousands of years of beer-drinking history that you’re taking part in.

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