Do the "six-pack abs" of your youth now look more like a half-barrel of beer hanging over your belt?
If youíre serious about losing weight, why not consider the low carbohydrate approach? Following the philosophy of todayís most popular low carbohydrate books, dieters initially restrict their daily carbohydrate intake but incrementally move away from the early restrictions of the diet and increase their carb intake while excess weight continues to come off. Successful dieters can eventually resume enjoying starchy foods like potatoes, rice and even pastaÖin moderation, of course.
The publication of a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that a comparison between a low carbohydrate diet versus a low calorie diet showed that the "...low-carbohydrate diet produced a greater weight loss (absolute difference, approximately 4 percent) than did the conventional diet for the first six months, but the differences were not significant at one year. The low-carbohydrate diet was associated with a greater improvement in some risk factors for coronary heart disease."
Although both types of diet seemed to achieve similar results after one year, the choice of a thick steak with a green vegetable and a side salad laden with bleu cheese dressing for dinner versus the blandness of a low calorie diet has made the low carbohydrate approach an appealing one for many.
But what about beer? Is it possible to include moderate amounts of regular brewed beer in a low carbohydrate diet? For years, after all, itís been called "the drink of moderation."
One problem that some real beer drinkers find when trying to shed weight on a low carbohydrate diet is the seeming reliance on light beer with its minimal carbohydrate content. Is it possible to move beyond the early restrictions of a low carb diet and the blandness of light beer and on to one of your full bodied favorites? Not one of the many popular low carbohydrate diet books on store shelves today addresses the possibility of switching from light beers to regular brewed beers while you gradually increase your carbohydrate intake, a normal step in the mid to later stages of a typical low carbohydrate diet.
Why not? If youíre a beer drinker, the answer might be obvious. There are no carbohydrate listings on the cans or bottles of regular brewed beer because a 1993 ruling by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco [and] Firearms states that "Önutrition information on labels [of regular beers] is unnecessary and unwarranted."
As one who has struggled to drop unwanted pounds, and more importantly as a concerned consumer, I question whether itís right to simply know the carbohydrate and calorie content of whatís in my kidís sugar-coated breakfast cereal but not know nutritionally whatís in a bottle of Goose Island I.P.A. or a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
Bert Grant, better known by some as the man who founded the Yakima Brewing Company, the first microbrewery in the U.S., decided back in the 1990s that he was going to subject his popular Scottish Ale to a nutritional analysis. This decision was reached by Grant because many of his customers had asked him to do. The brewer put this information on the beerís label. The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco [and] Firearms stepped in, however, after Grant began adding this information to the labels of his beer and ruled that Grantís action was a violation of an old Repeal-era ruling that prohibited beer makers from suggesting that their products were food-like or curative. After a long legal battle and many dollars spent trying to do the right thing, Grant backed down from the Feds but the suits did eventually throw him a bone; ATF said that the brewer could continue to place the carbohydrate and fat content of his beer on the labels of his ale. It was a victory, of sorts, but one that no other brewer has thus far tried to continue.
In March of 2003, however, the Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) adopted regulations that, for the first time, will allow alcohol beverage manufacturers to include on their product labels information regarding possible health benefits from the consumption of alcohol. (The TTB has succeeded the ATF as part of the Homeland Security Act). Itís a small step but might eventually lead to a statement of nutritional analysis of all containers of beer, wine and spirits.
For the benefit of anyone whoís considering using the low carbohydrate approach to shedding unwanted pounds, and doesnít want to wait for some politicians in Washington, D.C. to make up their minds as to whether all beers should have a nutritional analysis statement on them or not, hereís a list of some popular regular brewed beers with their carbohydrate contents. All carbohydrate values are for twelve-ounce servings.
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Not one of the many popular low carbohydrate diet books on store shelves today addresses the possibility of switching from light beers to regular brewed beers while you gradually increase your carbohydrate intake