Have you ever noticed just how many different flavors of beer there are today? You can choose from a pale beer or a dark beer. They come flavored in flavors that at one time were unknown to man. If you’re watching your waist line, you can even order up a low calorie or a low carb beer. But exactly what is in beer? And is it all that unhealthy for you?

The Ingredients

Beer is characteristically made from grain, hops, water and yeast. The most common of grain used in creating beer is malted barley, which gives it a sweet taste. Then a bitter ingredient is added, hops, which offsets that sweetness and preserve the beverage too. Last, the ingredient that gives us the alcohol is the brewer’s yeast which ferments the mixture.

Other ingredients are used sometimes as well. The barley is replaced with maize, rice or wheat. Some breweries wanting a flavor uniquely theirs add fruit, herbs and spices. With all these ingredients mixed together, the alcohol content of beer can be as little as 3% and as much as 40% with the pale beers being the lightest content.

In Moderation, There Are Benefits in Beer

Just like anything, when consumed in moderation, there are some health benefits to be had from drinking beer.  It has been discovered that your good cholesterol can increase with consumption of any alcohol. The levels of moderation suggested are light in comparison to most people’s intake however with women at one drink per day and men at two per day.

The Nutritional Content of Beer

While you can’t use beer as your main source of nutrition, there are some good inside this beverage, such as the Vitamin B and Potassium that are in it. However, the grains, hops and yeast provide a higher content of carbohydrates.

The Downside to Beer

Beer has some downsides to it such as alcoholism, cirrhosis, liver cancer and obesity. Those who drink beer heavily are in danger of breast cancer, colon cancer, hypertension, stroke and weight gain. Which brings us the “beer belly”.

It’s all in the Belly

While it is called the “beer belly”, beer isn’t the direct blame. It is usually coupled by beer drinkers with poor diets and a lack of exercise. Too much of anything with a caloric count can create the “beer belly”. It can be easy to overdo any beverage because it isn’t filling and when you aren’t full, you drink more. It can be beer, fruit juice, water or wine. Not to mention that beer itself can you make you hungry on all on its own.

So to Drink or Not To Drink?

Go ahead and enjoy your favorite brew in a frosty mug or Viking Drinking Horn. But do so in moderation, eat a light meal while drinking and by all means, stay at the game console and not on the road.