Apart from its alcoholic content, beer has an extremely high glycemic index, even higher than that of white sugar! It is therefore of the utmost importance to restrict one’s intake of it, especially outside meals. When beer is drunk at mealtimes, its glycemic load may be somewhat balanced by that of the food (depending on the menu, obviously). And as all fermented foods (bread, cheese), it supplies especially easy to store calories. Our forebears got into the habit of eating them during food shortage periods, when it was literally vital that every calorie should be stored. In ancient times beer was indeed often regarded more as a food than a beverage.


  • kitlemmonds, 18 April 2014 @ 20 h 47 min Reply

    I can’t find any studies of beer’s glycemic index. Could you please cite the research? Thanks.

    • Reginald, 27 April 2014 @ 8 h 07 min Reply

      Indeed, beer has a very high glycemic index (GI), higher than that of glucose. This is due to this beverage’s manufacturing process: beer is usually made with barley malt (although other cereals may be used), hops, yeast and water. Barley malt, a.k.a. germinated barley seeds, is high in maltose (also called maltobiose, or malt sugar), as well as in other carbohydrates called maltodextrins (notably maltotriose). Both maltose and maltotriose have a very high GI (see Foster-Powell, K., Holt, SHA, Brand-Miller, JC. International Table of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Values: 2002, Am J Clin Nutr, Jan 2002, vol. 76, No. 1 5-56). And although most of the maltose is converted into alcohol and carbonation during the fermentation process, the high-GI maltodextrins are not. Hence beer’s very high GI.

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