nosh magazine (issue 5) - Page 9

Dr Joanna explains the new nutrition labelling on beer. ntil now, you had no way of knowing how many kilojoules were in a bottle of beer. If you wanted to know how many kilojoules or how much sugar was in your beer, you would have to go online and research a dietary information site. But that’s all about to change. The Lion group – with brands including Hahn and Tooheys, and their partner company Kirin – have announced that they’re introducing nutrition labelling in Australia on all labels and the outer packaging (like the cardboard container for a six-pack). U We’ve had nutrition labelling on our food and beverage packaging for decades to help us make informed decisions on what we consume. But for a long time, alcohol in Australia was somehow exempt. Thankfully, the Lion Group has gotten with the times.  Sugar in beer: the myth A myth has long suggested that beer is full of sugar, but it’s actually not; and neither is wine for that matter. Alcohol requires the sugar to be fermented in order to create it. In the case of beer, yeast is used to ferment the sugar from malted barley, and sometimes added cane sugar is used to create alcohol, while carbon dioxide makes the bubbles in the beer. The end product, therefore, contains very little sugar or other carbohydrates.  Low carb beer So, what’s the deal with low carb beers? Well, really it’s beer manufacturers buying into the carb-phobia that is rife at the moment. If you saw beer labelled as ‘low fat’, you’d probably think it was ridiculous, but confusion is abundant surrounding carbohydrates in all alcoholic beverages. nosh magazine NUTRITION LABELLING ON BEER When looking at the sugar content per 100ml of the entire selection of beers produced by Lion you’ll see that the majority of beers – whether labelled low carb or not – contain only around 0.1g of sugar per 100ml. The highest has 0.6g, which still only means about 2g in a 330ml serve. The total amount of carbohydrates range from 0.7g up to 3.9g per 100ml in a couple of the pale ales, but most drinks fall to the lower end of the range. In other words, neither the total of carbohydrates nor the sugar content is the issue when it comes to beer. Rather, it’s the alcohol that is providing the kilojoules. Beer and weight control If you enjoy a beer but are also watching your waistline then choosing a lower strength (lower alcohol) beer is a more effective method than choosing a low carb beer. The Lion beers range from as low as 99kJ/100ml for Hahn Super Dry 3.5 (the name depicting the alcohol content of 3.5 per cent) to as high as 221kJ/100ml for Little Creatures IPA (with an alcohol content of 6.4 per cent) – that’s more than a two-fold difference. The new labelling Hats off to Lion for this initiative and the fact that they have been working with an advisory board of independent experts including a dietitian, a GP, an exercise scientist and a fitness expert. This means that you’ll be able to see, at a glance, the necessary information to help you make an informed choice about your beer so you can know exactly what you’re drinking and drink responsibly. N To find out more about this initiative click here. DR JOANNA MCMILLAN, PHD APD Learn more at: website | profile Accredited Practising Dietitian Dr Joanna McMillan’s ever-growing following is the result of her high profile within the media, health and fitness industries, and through her roles as Vice President of the Australian Lifestyle Medicine Association (ALMA), Ambassador for Diabetes Australia, and Ambassador for Australian Pineapples (to name a few). 9