The 10 Best Low-Carb Beers You Can Actually Drink on the Keto Diet
These brews will quench your thirst without blowing your carb budget.
If you're following the keto diet or just eating fewer carbohydrates for health reasons, beer (aka liquid carbs) might be one of the first things you cut from your daily intake. But there are days when you just have to have a cold one, and in those instances, low-carb beer is the way to go.
"There are more low-calorie and low-carb beer options on the shelves right now than there has ever been," says Steven Tsaparikos, RDN, a dietitian and certified health coach at Hancock Wellness Center in Greenfield, Indiana. While individual preferences differ, there's a beer to suit nearly everyone's tastes, whether that's a light wheat beer or a more bitter IPA. "Long gone are the days of every low-carb beer being extremely bland," he tells Health.
When it comes to low-carb beers, you might want to focus on "light" beers. Their carb counts are always lower and they usually contain less alcohol (as measured by the percent of "alcohol by volume," or ABV) than their regular counterparts. That said, some have more carbs than others. And they vary in calories too. “To be labeled as ‘light,’ the product needs to have one-third fewer calories compared to the full-calorie version,” Taylor C. Wallace, PhD, principal and CEO of the Think Healthy Group and adjunct professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at George Mason University, tells Health.
For clients who enjoy drinking beer, Tsaparikos encourages moderation and making informed choices. Look for nutritional information on packaging or online. Five grams of carbohydrate is a reasonable benchmark for people who watching their carb intake, he says, as long as they're drinking responsibly.
We've rounded up 10 low-carb beers that clock in at fewer than 100 calories per 12 ounce bottle or glass, including some fresh new options. Enjoy!
95 calories, 5 g carbs, 3.5% ABV
At 5 grams carbohydrate per serving, Amstel Light is about middle of the road for this category. It's also light on the palate and quite refreshing.
Blue Moon LightSky
95 calories, 3.6 g carbs, 4% ABV
Craving a wheat brew? This one's light and refreshing with a solid tangerine undertone, "which will be very familiar to anyone who has had Blue Moon in the past," notes Tsaparikos.
Budweiser Select 55
55 calories, 1.9 g carbs, 2.4% ABV
With an aroma of toasted malt and subtle hops, this beer is the lowest when it comes to calories and carbs. It's even lighter than Bud Light, which comes in over our 100-calorie cap, and Budweiser Select, Anheuser-Busch's 99-calorie version.
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90 calories, 2.6 g carbs, 4.0% ABV
This 2018 offering from Grupo Modelo in Mexican actually clocks in at fewer calories and carbs than Corona Light (which has 99 calories and has 5 grams of carbohydrates).
Devil's Backbone Bright Tangerine Sparkling Ale
85 calories, 2 g carbs, 4% ABV
"Sparkling ales, ciders, and seltzers are very popular right now," notes Tsaparikos. Both Devil's Backbone Bright Tangerine Sparkling Ale and the brand's Bright Pineapple Sparking Ale have solid ratings on beer ratings website untappd.com.
Dogfish Head Slightly Mighty
95 calories, 3.6 g carbs, 4% ABV
This low-cal brew is one that Tsaparikos has enjoyed himself. "This is a great option for the IPA fans out there that are wanting to work towards their goals and still enjoy a nice hoppy bear at the end of a long day," he says.
98 calories, 3 g carbs, 4% ABV
With the re-release of DayTime in 2019, Lagunitas Brewing Company delivered a lighter IPA with lower alcohol content. With this brew, "you still get the characteristics of a traditional IPA but with much lower calories and carb content," says Tsaparikos.
Michelob Ultra Pure Gold
85 calories, 2.5 g carbs, 3.8% ABV
Introduced in 2018, Ultra comes in with a slightly better nutrition profile than traditional Michelob Ultra (95 calories, 2.6 grams of carb, and 4.2% ABV) and what appears to be a similar flavor profile, observes Tsaparikos. If you want to cut back, pick up Michelob Ultra's 7-ounce bottle: It’s 55 calories and 1.5 grams of carbs.
96 calories, 3.2 g carbs, 4.2% ABV
First brewed in 1975, this pilsner is the “original light beer." Want even fewer calories and carbs? Try Miller64, which has just 64 calories per serving and 2.4 grams of carbs.
95 calories, 2.6 g carbs, 4.2% ABV
This "next generation" light beer pairs well with salad, seafood, and poultry, according to the Pennsylvania brewery's website. Among light lagers on beer ratings website Beeradvocate, Flight ranks among the best, beating Yuengling's Premium Light Beer.
Don't see a low-carb beer you like?
Unfortunately, there's no good indicator—such as bitterness from hops—that can help you ID other low-carb beers. “Obviously if the product tastes sweet, it likely has more sugar and carbs," says Wallace. "But in general, quantities can vary between even similar products."
But it will get easier soon: “Beer industry leaders Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, HeinekenUSA, Constellation Brands Beer Division, North American Breweries and Craft Brew Alliance—which produce more than 81% of the beer sold in the US—have agreed to implement labeling of total calories, carbohydrates, protein, fat, and ABV by the end of 2020 to help consumers choose healthier options,” says Wallace. Cheers to that.
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