Are Seltzers Healthier than Beer?

Whether you’re in brewing or simply a connoisseur of various alcoholic beverages, you may have found yourself asking “are seltzers healthier than beer?

And for good reason.

Seltzers hit the beverage scene hard and they are promoted widely as more or less healthy. But are they actually healthy? And are they healthier than beer?

What Is Hard Seltzer?

First, let’s explore what hard seltzer is.

Fermented sugar.

That’s it.

To make hard seltzer, a brewer chooses the sugar, creates a “sugar wash,” which is essentially just a sugar water solution, and then adds yeast.

There is a filtering process that removes all color and flavor, rendering this now alcoholic beverage a pure medium to add your flavor of choice.

At the end of the process, after (usually) natural flavor is added, carbonation is added, typically thorough forced carbonation.

What Is Beer?

In stark contrast, beer is made with grains and herbs.

The brewer chooses a grain, typically wheat, barley, or oats, or a combination of two or three. The grain is malted to bring out the sugars and then ground or cracked to expose those sugars.

The grains are mashed in, essentially boiled and steeped in filtered water, and then hops and yeast are added.

Test Your Yeast

 

Once fermentation is complete, beer can be served.

Often, the modern industrialized approach is to bottle condition beer, adding a bit more sugar or malt extract to add light carbonation, or force carbonate it for the same purpose.

Essential Differences

So you can see how aside from the addition of yeast, these two beverages could not be more different.

Beer is rich in the nutrients from the grain and hops as well as the enzymatic processes that occur during fermentation.

Seltzer is just fermented sugar water.

Beer offers nutrients such as Potassium, vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, and antioxidants. If naturally produced and organic, beer offers benefits like lowering cholesterol, aiding in digestion and heart health as well as controlling diabetes.

Obviously, beer, like any alcoholic beverage, should be drunk in moderation, but the potential for nutrients cannot be denied.

Seltzer, however, can make no such claims.

Gut Health and Bloating

Now, the question comes up around gut health and bloating when it comes to beer or hard seltzer.

In general, fermented foods and beverages lend themselves to gut health.

At the same time, alcohol can damage gut health, so any person interested in both drinking and maintaining good gut health must be mindful of striking this balance.

It should be noted that between the two drinks, beer offers some nutrition for the gut while hard seltzer offers none.

Recent studies have shown that men who drink beer in moderation improved the diversity of their gut microbiome.

In terms of bloating, both beverages will add bloating due to the carbonation, but hard seltzer is much more carbonated, with extra bubbles added at the end of fermentation, so expect more bloating with seltzer.

Calories and Sugar

When considering health, we also have to talk about carbs, calories, and sugar.

Remember, hard seltzer is just fermented sugar, so of course it is very low in both calories and carbs, averaging 100 calories and 2g of carbs per 12 oz. can. It does usually maintain some of its sugar even after fermentation, on average about 2 grams.

Beer of course is carb heavy thanks to those grains, coming in at 150 calories and 13g of carbs per 12 oz. can. It is however almost always completely devoid of sugar.

The Healthiest Alcohol

Okay, you say, so which is healthier?

Well it is a difficult conversation to have because we have to place health in context.

Scientists are now saying that no amount of alcohol is “healthy.”

What does that mean?

It means no doctor should be recommending alcohol for wellness and longevity.

But no doctor should be recommending cane sugar or white flour or processed food either.

Just because something is not considered a health food does not mean most of us are going to avoid it altogether.

There are very few purists on this earth, and that is as it should be.

We don’t drink alcohol, or eat cane sugar or white flour products or processed food to get healthy. We typically do it as a community experience, which is actually healthy.

Hanging out with buddies and having a couple of beers, or going on a date night to a winery, or meeting the girls for a few hard seltzers is an act of socialization.

And socializing has tremendous health benefits.

And in that case, it does not really matter if you’re drinking beer or seltzer.

But when it comes down to straight numbers, an argument can be made in favor of both.

Seltzer is lower in calories and carbs, which is great for maintaining weight.

Beer is rich in nutrients, which is great for meeting your dietary guidelines.

In reality, the healthiest alcoholic beverages are probably not beer or seltzer but wine or hard liquor.

Wine is low in carbs and calories and high in nutrients and polyphenols.

Hard liquor is low in carbs, calories, and sugar and the purest distilled version of alcohol.

So, as usual, it’s all about doing what works for you, taking all the information you can get, and making decisions based on the context of a given situation.

And when it comes to health, just be sure you’re taking care of yourself in the most important ways – eating well, exercising, spending time with loved ones, and getting plenty of sleep.

When you do enjoy an alcoholic beverage, choose one you love.

Cheers!

Whether you’re brewing seltzers, beer, and/or wine, if you’re interested in finding out how you can use our technology to control fermentation and monitor your yeast, save work hours and improve the cost-efficiency of your business, drop us a line at [email protected] or check out our product pages:

Also, you can now get access to a fully functional demo account to test our Web App. Completely free of charge and with no commitment to purchase.

Sources:

  1. https://www.news-medical.net/news/20220617/Male-gut-health-may-benefit-from-beer.aspx
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