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How Much Sugar Is in the Beer You Drink?

Not all beers are equal when it comes to carbs and sugar!
People clinking beers

Counting carbs in beer has become a normal and necessary part of a fun night out. But should you also start counting the sugar in beer too?

Does beer have sugar?

Beer is generally made up of yeast, grains, spices, and water. Even though sugar is not included in the ingredient list, it is created naturally when the grains are processed and fermented by yeast. 

To get technical, sugar in beer is created by something called beer gravity. This term refers to the density of the liquid extracted from the mashing process during the brewing of beer known as the wort. When the wort has a lot of sugar, it's known as a high gravity wort. Once yeast is introduced into the batch, sugar content generally decreases while the alcohol content goes up. After the fermentation process is complete, beer is typically comprised of 80% fermentable sugars and 20% of oligosaccharides, which is a type of carbohydrate.

So a beer's final sugar content is based on several factors that include its gravity, type of yeast, and any additional flavors that might be included in the beer such as honey or corn syrup.

How much sugar is in beer?

Labeling a beer's sugar content is not required by law, so pinpointing the exact amount of sugar can be difficult. The good people at Healthline have put together a list of the carb and sugar content for some of the most popular beers in America:

  • Bud Light: 4.6 grams of carbs, 0 grams of sugar
  • Budweiser: 10.6 grams of carbs, 0 grams of sugar
  • Busch: 6.9 grams of carbs, no sugar reported
  • Busch Light: 3.2 grams of carbs, no sugar reported
  • Coors Banquet: 11.7 grams of carbs, 0 grams of sugar
  • Coors Light: 5 grams of carbs, 1 gram of sugar
  • Coors Non-alcoholic: 12.2 grams of carbs, 8 grams of sugar
  • Heineken: 11.4 grams of carbs, 0 grams of sugar
  • Miller High Life: 12.2 grams of carbs, 0 grams of sugar
  • Miller Lite: 3.2 grams of carbs, 0 grams of sugar
  • Regular beer: 12.8 grams of carbs, 0 grams of sugar
  • Light beer: 5.9 grams of carbs, 0.3 grams of sugar
  • Non-alcoholic beer: 28.5 grams of carbs, 28.5 grams of sugar

It's important to point out that non-alcoholic beer tends to have a very high sugar content while light beer generally has more sugar than regular beer. The list also clearly points out that the more carbs a beer has, the higher the content of sugar.

Should you be concerned with sugar in beer?

Fortunately, the sugar content of beer is generally very low, so beer drinkers won't have to start counting beer as a dessert just yet.

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