Well, that was an interesting Super Bowl battle. Not the actual game, which was pretty unoffensive in that it basically lacked real offense. On the football field, the New England Patriots edged the Los Angeles Rams in a 13 -3 game that was about as compelling as cabbage soup.
Rather, the real battle occurred on the TV screen during the commercial breaks when Bud Light kick-offed with the following decidedly non-corny advertisement:
To be clear, Bud Light is not brewed with corn syrup, and Miller Lite and Coors Light are. pic.twitter.com/x6tWqdSRXN
— Bud Light (@budlight) February 3, 2019
The National Corn Growers Association didn’t simply say “aw-shucks” but instead responded:
We all make mistakes! Sorry for tagging the wrong @MillerLite
— National Corn (NCGA) (@NationalCorn) February 4, 2019
As you can see, their initial response Tweet included the Twitter handle of a guy named Allen Miller rather Miller Lite beer. This apparently was a mistake, assuming, of course, that Allen Miller doesn’t consume a prodigious amount of corn.
Miller Coors then followed up with a Tweet with this comparison:
At MillerCoors, we’re proud of our high-quality, great-tasting beers. We’re also proud that none of our products include any high fructose corn syrup, while a number of Anheuser-Busch products do. And Miller Lite has fewer calories, fewer carbs and more taste than Bud Light. pic.twitter.com/GeUUXqnSpc
— MillerCoors (@MillerCoors) February 4, 2019
Note that MillerCoors mentions high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) rather than just corn syrup. Why the distinction? Both come from breaking down corn starch. But while corn syrup is made up of just glucose, HFCS includes a significant amount of fructose too. Some argue that since HFCS is metabolized differently from just corn syrup, a higher percentage of HFCS may be converted into fat. However, the jury is still out on whether this occurs.
The bottom line is that when used to make food or beverages sweeter both corn syrup and HFCS count as added sugar. So does anhydrous dextrose, brown sugar, confectioner’s powdered sugar, corn syrup solids, dextrose, fructose, honey, invert sugar, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, maple syrup, molasses, nectars (e.g., peach nectar, pear nectar), pancake syrup, raw sugar, sucrose, sugar, and white granulated sugar. And you want to be careful about added sugar as too much of it can contribute to obesity and various chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer. So if you someone wants to add syrup to your beer to make it taste just like cranberry sauce, you may want to be careful.
Ah, but when it comes to corn syrup being used for beer brewing, things aren’t quite as simple. In the fermentation process, yeast converts the glucose that is in a mash of grains (otherwise known as the wort) into the ethyl alcohol that makes you feel fizzy and the carbon dioxide gas that makes the beer fizzy. Beer brewers can add different sources of sugars to the mix such as barley, rice, corn, and, yes, corn syrup. How much sugar actually remains in the beer then depends on how much sugar the fermentation process consumes and leaves in the beer in the end.
Typically, the amount of sugar leftover in beer is not very high. It usually a lot less than the amount of sugar in liqueurs and mixed drinks, especially the ones that have little umbrellas in them such as daiquiris, grasshoppers, margaritas, and pina coladas. The amount of sugar in beer can vary from very little to a bit more, depending on how sweet the beer tastes.
Therefore, if you are worried about the health effects of beer, you may not want to focus on whether corn syrup is used in the fermentation process. Instead, you may want to check out all of the ingredients in the final product as well as the number of calories and amount of alcohol per serving. Oh, and make sure you know what is a serving size. A keg is not a single serving.