Beer is the favorite drink of the Germans, at least if we look at what we are so well known for abroad. The Germans are associated with lederhosen, Oktoberfest and good beer. Some prejudices are true. In Germany, around 100 liters of beer are drunk per capita every year. (7) Even more beer is only drunk in the Czech Republic and Austria. (8th)
We don't call it a beer belly for nothing. The fact that this actually comes from drinking beer is not just a saying, but has also been confirmed by a study by the University of Copenhagen, for example. (10) The substances contained in beer are responsible for the location of fat accumulation. We have researched for you why drinking beer accumulates fat in the first place, what that has to do with calories and, above all, how many calories a beer has.
the essentials in brief
- A bottle of "normal beer" has 140 kcal (42 kcal/100 ml).
- Exactly how many calories a beer has depends on the type and quantity. Strong beer or bock beer have significantly more calories than wheat beer, for example.
- Beer alone does not make you fat and is wrongly called fattening. Rather, the problem is the amount of beer and the appetizing quality.
How many calories does a beer have: What you should know
We explain how many calories a beer has, what calories actually are and why it matters how much of it you consume. And all just so you know what it means when you look at the calories in your beer.
What are calories?
Calories are the little men who sew clothes tighter at night. That's nonsense, of course, but it would be nice if it were that simple.
Our body gains energy from proteins, carbohydrates, fats and to a small extent from alcohol. Calories indicate how much energy is contained in something, so they are a unit of energy.
A calorie is the energy required to heat 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius. (1)
When we talk about calories, we usually mean kilocalories (kcal). A kilocalorie equals 1000 calories. The body cannot actually utilize all the calories that we consume. Between 2 and 10% cannot be used by the body, exactly how much depends on the food, how it is prepared, and the person.(2)
Why should you pay attention to calorie intake?
Our body is very intelligent and can adapt to different situations. One reason it's so good at it is that it stores excess energy for bad times. So if you take in more calories or energy than your body uses, it builds up a supply. This store is your body fat.
Because your body doesn't know that the bad times aren't likely to come, you'll gain weight if you eat more than you expend. How many calories you or your body needs per day depends on a variety of factors. The calorie requirement differs according to gender, age, weight and activity level. If you want to know more about it, just have a look at the article on calculating calorie requirements .
We need energy to be able to do things, and the body stores this energy in the form of fat. (Image source: rottonara/Pixabay)
Each of us carries a lot of energy around with us. As a rule of thumb, one kilogram of body fat stores 7000 calories. However, this is only an approximation and varies greatly from person to person. (3) From your body's point of view, it makes sense to have some fat on you because, in an emergency, some of it can be turned into energy to survive.
In short: excess calories = gain in body fat.
That's why it actually makes sense to be at least a little bit moderate about calorie intake, unless you're expecting starvation.
Does beer make you fat?
Well actually no. But then somehow yes.
Beer itself doesn't make you fat. It contains no more calories than the same amount of orange juice or skim milk. However, it often does not stop with a beer. The after-work beer is already standard on weekdays. If you're sitting in front of the TV in a sociable group or more comfortably in the evening, you'll drink one beer very quickly and then the second and third.
The hormones in beer cause fat to build up around the abdomen in men.
While it's often said that beer is a meal, it doesn't fill you up. (6) On the contrary, beer stimulates the appetite. Not only beer, but no kind of alcohol will make you feel full. Your body doesn't seem to register the energy intake from alcohol. Instead, you'll end up feeling even more hungry in the short term. (9) And then the mostly hearty food is added to the alcohol. (10)
With a liter of beer, you quickly absorb the calories of a small meal, plus the actual meal. The bitter substances in the hops have an appetite-stimulating effect and because the beer flushes salts out of your body, you do not have an appetite for an apple, but for something greasy.
Because beer is appetizing, we tend to eat more than our bodies need. Image credit: stokpic/Pixabay
So beer alone does not make you fat, but rather the amount of beer and the extra calories in the diet that you eat extra because of the beer. If you're in control of your beer consumption, you don't have to worry about a beer belly. It has also been shown that increased beer consumption for women has little or no effect on body fat around the abdomen. (10)
How many calories are in the different types of beer?
Now for the specific numbers. We have found out for you how many calories different types of beer have in general. The different beer brands differ a little in their calorie content. Of course, the easiest way to find out the exact calories is to look at the beer bottle.
|Type||kcal per 100 ml||kcal per bottle (330 ml)|
|Light pils or wheat||25-28||83-92|
As can be seen in the table, the top beer is strong beer, with up to 230 kcal per bottle. That's about a third of a Margarita pizza. (5) Leaving aside non-alcoholic beer and light beers that are extra low in calories, the beer type doesn't make a huge difference. Whether Pils, Kölsch or wheat beer, they don't take much in terms of calories.
Mixed beer drinks, on the other hand, have a lower alcohol content, which your liver will certainly be happy about, but the calorie content is higher. Diluting a beer only makes sense in terms of calories if you dilute it with water, you'll probably drink a lot less then (it just doesn't taste good).
How many calories does non-alcoholic beer have?
Yes, in fact, non-alcoholic beer has fewer calories. Compared to normal beer, it has around 40% fewer calories and compared to cola or lemonade, it performs extremely well. Non-alcoholic beer is healthier for your liver because it doesn't have to break down the alcohol. The lower calorie content comes at the expense of taste.
Non-alcoholic beer contains less than 0.5% alcohol and up to half the calories of alcoholic beer.
Fewer calories does not mean that it is suitable for losing weight. It still has a similar number of calories as Fassbrause or iced tea. Drinks that make sense during a diet are mainly water or tea because they contain no calories.(4) However, if you have the choice between a non-alcoholic beer and a regular one, then the non-alcoholic option is lower in calories and healthier for your body, albeit those less tasty.
How many calories are in different amounts of beer?
So that you can save yourself the math if you don't want to drink a bottle or 100 ml of beer, we've done it for you. In the table below we have assumed a normal beer with 42 kcal per 100 ml and an average non-alcoholic beer with 23 kcal per 100 ml. Therefore, the calorie values for your amount of beer are only an approximation, but at least you can use them to estimate how many calories are in it.
|Crowd||kcal normal beer||kcal non-alcoholic beer|
|1 bottle (500ml)||210||115|
|1 measure (1 liter)||420||230|
|Six pack (0.33 l each)||832||455|
|box (20x0.33 l)||3326||1822|
|1 barrel (30 liters)||12600||6900|
It's no big surprise that a large batch of beer is correspondingly high in calories. However, it will probably be less common for you to have a keg of beer alone (at least not in one evening). Just for fun, a comparison: the calories from a keg of beer correspond to 3.8 kg of fries.
Does other alcohol have fewer calories than beer?
No. Beer is the lowest calorie alcoholic beverage. A glass (0.1 l) of red wine, for example, has 67 kcal, white wine only slightly less with 60 kcal. High-proof alcohol has significantly more calories. But very few would probably come up with the idea of drinking 2 liters of schnapps in the evening, with beer, on the other hand, things are different.
Wine has significantly more calories than beer, and the accumulation of fat in beer tends to take place in the upper body. (Image source: PhotoMIX Company/Pixabay)
If beer is blamed for weight gain, it's entirely possible. However, what accounts for the many calories is the amount of beer and the food that is eaten with the beer. And not the beer itself. If you drank the same amount of sparkling wine or even hard liquor, you would consume significantly more calories than if you drank beer.
Now you've learned how many calories are in your beer and why that matters to you in the first place. At around 42 kcal/100 ml, a normal beer contains no more calories than many other non-alcoholic drinks and even fewer than other alcoholic drinks such as wine or sparkling wine. Non-alcoholic beer, on the other hand, has significantly fewer calories.
Beer is by no means fattening per se, but the amount of alcohol adds up quickly. It's also important to note that beer stimulates the appetite, leading to extra calorie intake. That is why the term beer belly is correct.
- wikipedia.de : Calorie
- Kevin D Hall Steven B Heymsfield Joseph W Kemnitz Samuel Klein Dale A Schoeller John R Speakman Energy balance and its components: implications for body weight regulation The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Volume 95 Issue 4, April 2012, Pages 989-994,
- zoeharcombe.com: The Calorie Theory – prove it or lose it Zoë Harcombe, 05/08/2014
- Madjd A, Taylor MA, Delavari A, Malekzadeh R, Macdonald IA, Farshchi HR. Effects of replacing diet beverages with water on weight loss and weight maintenance: 18-month follow-up, randomized clinical trial. Int J Obes (Lond). 2018 Apr;42(4):835-840. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2017.306. Epub 2017 Dec 21. PMID: 29633983.
- apotheken-umschau.de: Calculator: How many calories does your food contain? Max Rubner Institute - Federal Research Institute for Nutrition and Food, April 27th, 2011
- Yeomans MR, Caton S, Hetherington MM. Alcohol and food intake. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2003 Nov;6(6):639-44. doi: 10.1097/00075197-200311000-00006. PMID: 14557794.
- de.statista.com: Beer consumption per capita in Germany from 1950 to 2020 Sandra Ahrens, 01/20/2021
- de.statista.com: Per capita consumption of beer worldwide by country in 2018 Sandra Ahrens, March 10, 2020
- Yeoman's MR. Short term effects of alcohol on appetite in humans. Effects of context and restrained eating. appetites. 2010 Dec;55(3):565-73. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2010.09.005. Epub 2010 Sep 21. PMID: 20851724.
- Bendsen NT, Christensen R, Bartels EM, Kok FJ, Sierksma A, Raben A, Astrup A. Is beer consumption related to measures of abdominal and general obesity? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutr Rev. 2013 Feb;71(2):67-87. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2012.00548.x. Epub 2012 Dec 13. PMID: 23356635.