Most people think a beer is just a beer. But there is a lot that goes into a beer and there are many differences in how beer is made. We all have to remember that beer is made to sit on a shelf and be sold, so there are a lot of preservatives added in order to extend shelf life. There are lots of crazy articles out there on beer, making it hard to really know what is what.
Having lived in the North of France and Belgium, I have personally seen how well beers can be made and how good they taste when they are fresh. Most of us have to buy beer from a supermarket.
Unfortunately, just like many processed foods, beer can have some harmful ingredients. Here’s some that are commonly found in beer:
- High Fructose Corn Syrup (gives beer a milder and lighter-bodied flavor)
- Fish Bladder (a form of collagen used mainly for the clarification or refining of beer)
- Propylene Glycol (propylene glycol is commonly used as a food-safe refrigerant)
- Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) (which is used to stabilize a beer’s head of foam)
- GMO Sugars (sugar is required for yeast, but doesn’t have to be GMO)
- Caramel Coloring (many caramel colorings are made from ammonia, which is classified as a carcinogen)
- Insect-Based Dyes (carmine derived from cochineal insects to color the beer)
- Carrageenan (clarifier to remove haze-causing proteins)
- BPA (Bis Phenol-A) (BPA exists in the liner that buffers the walls of canned beer)
When it comes to finding healthy beer, I recommend you find a microbrewery that you can trust – one that relies upon healthy, organic, naturally-sourced ingredients. The ones who reveal their ingredients proudly are your best bet. German and Belgian beers have strict manufacturing laws, and don’t contain a lot of preservatives. And at the end of the day, drink in moderation and all will be fine.