Is Beer Paleo?
Today’s post is another requested food/beverage: Beer. Enjoyed at college keggers to fine microbreweries and restaurants, beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in the US, slightly edging out wine at 36% to 35% according to a recent Gallup poll. So (wheat) belly up as we take on this grainy imbibement. As always we welcome your submissions on here and via the Is It Paleo mobile app.
How Beer is Made
Beer is typically made with rice or wheat, barley and hops with the fermentation of the wheat and barley sugars aided by yeast. Hops and yeast aren’t troublesome, however the first two of which are glutinous grains and are typically avoided while adhering to a paleo or primal lifestyle. The reason that we avoid grains are because of the Phytates, Lectins, Gluten which are not fully removed during the brewing and filtering process. The Paleo Plan has two great posts on Phytates and Lectins that we highly recommend. Phytates are anti-nutrients that “bind to magnesium, calcium, zinc and iron in your intestines and take them out of your bodies.” Lectins are thought to contribute to auto-immune disorders and leaky gut. Gluten is basically sandpaper for your intestinal wall leading to some nasty inflammatory conditions. If you are up on your Swedish, here is a list of beers and their gluten content. There is a smattering of low gluten beers on the list (under 20 ppm).That being said, there are still paleo/primal people who can manage to lose weight AND continue to drink beer in moderation.
The Paleo Effect says the following about beer:
Traditional beer contains 3 basic ingredients: wheat, barley and hops. Wheat and barley are grains, and hops are actually the female flower clusters of a vine. As you should know by now, grains are out, and thus, so are traditional beers. (Note that most beers are made with mostly barley or rice unless it is a wheat beer. Thanks to Dean for catching this!)
The PaleoEffect also provides some suggestions on beer alternatives, “Sorghum is an interesting little plant – it is a grain, but is gluten free, just like rice. So, better than regular beer, but still not Paleo. For the best selections in this category, try to stick cider beers, but if you are OK with a gluten free alternative, sorghum will do as well.”
Sorghum Suggestions: Bard’s and Redbridge
Cider Suggestions: Woodchuck, Angry Orchard
We did a write up on the paleo-ness of Hard Cider as well which you may want to read. I happen to find Strongbow much less sugary than Woodchuck and Angry Orchard. Finally Marks Daily Apple has a nice hierarchy of alcohol for paleo and primal people if you have any questions on alcohol as a caveman.
Not Paleo. Count beer as something on your 20% list. Try some cider in moderation, but be careful of the sugar content.
- Gluten Free Beer – that “alcoholic beverage” (beerliciousca.wordpress.com)
- The Paleo Alcohol Guide (crossfitordie.com)