the Reads: Eats & Drinks

Make mine a beer!

the Antidote to... feeling thirsty

If you’re going to have a beer, here’s how to make it a healthier one…. Dr Sally Norton, NHS weight loss consultant surgeon, offers advice on what to look for when cooling off with a pint or two as the mercury rises.

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* Go for one that’s lower in alcohol content so you don’t overdo your units. The Department of Health says there is no safe alcohol limit – but try not to exceed 14 units a week. And a half pint is one unit only if the alcohol content is around 3.5%: any more and your units will be creeping up.

* Avoid fruit-flavoured beers or cider alternatives as they can add several teaspoons of sugar, increasing your calorie intake.

* Splash out on organic beer. Anything made without the use of lots of pesticides is likely to be better for you and the environment.

* Choose more nutritional varieties. A pint of Guinness or other stout has more fibre than light beer and lots of B vitamins. Plus it fills you up, with no more calories than lighter beer.

* Go gluten-free if you have coeliac disease or are truly gluten-intolerant, though personally I would probably opt for a drink that is naturally gluten-free than one that may require extra processing to remove gluten.

* And remember: there’s a good reason for the name ‘beer-gut’. The central obesity that causes the classic beer-gut is also the type most associated with heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke.

Visit Dr Norton’s site here