Tip: Is Corn Syrup in Beer Bad For You?

Bud Lite calls out other beer companies for using a fattening and unhealthy ingredient. Are they right?

Bud Light's recent ad campaign spanks companies like Coors and Miller for using corn syrup to make their beer.

Would it be rude of me to point out that Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Bud Light, uses corn syrup to make a number of its own products, like Bud Ice, Busch, Busch Lite, King Cobra, and Natural Ice, along with their trashy trailer-park drinks Raz-Ber-Rita, Lime-A-Rita, Straw-Ber-Rita, and Mang-O-Rita?

Dilly dilly, they're being awfully silly, not to mention hypocritical. Talk about chutzpah.

Secondly, and I guess more importantly, it doesn't matter if a beer company uses corn syrup, rice syrup (as Bud Light purports to use) or candied turds to make its beer. None of it ends up in the final product.

Making Beer 101

You need yeast to make beer. Yeast needs a substrate on which to feed, usually glucose or fructose, but practically any sugar will work. The yeast feed on it and turn it into ethanol until there's no sugar left.

This process is inherent to all living things. Let's say you had a pork chop for dinner. That doesn't mean pieces of pork chop, covered in mint jelly, are floating around your body. No, your digestive system broke it down into its constituent elements.

We use what we need for energy, to build and repair, and for nutrients, and what we don't use is excreted. In the case of yeast, they need sugar for energy and for reproduction, regardless of what form it comes in, and their waste product is ethanol.

But even if the beer did contain corn syrup... this is what's so ridiculous about it... even if it did contain corn syrup, it wouldn't make much difference. It's not really any better or worse than the refined white sugar it might conceivably replace. Neither have any nutrients in them.

More Beer Devilry?

Part of me thinks that Bud Lite wants the public to associate corn syrup with high-fructose corn syrup, which scares the bejesus out of everybody. White sugar is a combination of 50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose. The type of "high-fructose" corn syrup used in soft drinks is 45 percent glucose and 55 percent fructose. Not a hell of a lot of difference, is there?

Even the guy who did the initial studies that demonized high fructose corn syrup is sorry as hell for starting the whole paranoid delusion. Sure, there's some evidence that high fructose corn syrup is related to all the fat beer drinkers we see waddling around, but the link is tenuous.

I will grant you that corn played a big role in making us one of the fattest countries on earth, but that's largely because we grew/grow so much of it, prompting food manufacturers to get really creative and create thousands and thousands of poor quality, high calorie foods. (Witness the average cereal aisle.)

So no, there's no corn syrup in your beer and even if there were, it wouldn't matter, except for giving you some zero-nutrient, easily accessible calories that you probably don't need.