Hops and Barley In Your Favorite Beer? Nope, It’s High Fructose Corn Syrup

By Elena Sheppard

Many healthy eaters drink beer on the regular. And while beer isn’t terrible for you when consumed in moderation, a closer look at beer ingredients makes it clear that more often than not when we toss back a cold one we’re ingesting different ingredients than we thought; most notably high fructose corn syrup and GMOs.

Have you ever noticed that beer labels don’t include nutritional information or ingredient lists? Thanks to regulations put in place by the FDA we know pretty much exactly what goes into all of our foods for purchase. But beer and spirits are an entirely different story. We might assume that our beer is made of hops, malt, and yeast but you know what they say about assuming . . .

Many of America’s favorite beers are loaded with unhealthy ingredients like GMO corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, caramel coloring, and MSG. The reason we’re not generally aware of this information is because, as USA Today reported, there are some “fairly complicated legal designations that separate food (headed up by the FDA) from some, but not all, alcohol (which is regulated by the Department of the Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau).” For that reason, beer companies get away with keeping their ingredients hush.  

Independent consumers and health blogs have done their own research and have found which beers exactly are the ones we should be avoiding. A few beers at the top of that list include:

  • Budweiser — which contains genetically modified rice
  • Corona Extra — GMO corn syrup and propylene glycol
  • Miller Lite — GMO corn and corn syrup
  • Michelob Ultra — genetically modified sweetener
  • Coors Lite — GMO corn syrup
  • Pabst Blue Ribbon — GMO corn and GMO corn syrup

While that’s all pretty bad news, the good news is that the laws might soon change and nutrition labels on beer may be just around the corner. According to CBS News, earlier this year “Anheuser-Busch InBev, Molson Coors, Constellation Brands and Heineken, which produce more than 80 percent of the beers sold in the U.S., announced plans to begin providing consumers with more nutritional information about the beers they sell.” The hope is that by 2020 this information will be common on beer packaging.

Pulling back the curtain on what’s in the beer we drink will only be a good thing. And truthful labels, which will show the less than stellar ingredients, are likely the first step in pressuring beer manufacturers to replace unhealthy ingredients with healthier ones. There’s no reason a night cap should involve GMOs or corn syrup, especially when we’re doing all we can to live healthful lives during the day.

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