Dr. Thomas Dwan - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Thomas Dwan

Is Stella Artois Bad For You?



Short answer

Stella Artois, with a 5% ABV, isn't bad for you if enjoyed in moderation, adhering to the U.S. dietary guideline of up to one drink per day for women and up to two for men. Regularly exceeding this can lead to health risks such as liver disease and cardiovascular issues. The beer's calorie (154 cal) and carbohydrate (13g) content should be factored into one's dietary patterns, particularly for those monitoring caloric intake or with specific health conditions. Individuals with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease should avoid Stella Artois, as it contains gluten.



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Long answer

Alcohol Content of Stella Artois and Standard Drink Comparison

Understanding the alcohol content of any beer is crucial for making informed decisions about consumption and its potential impacts on health. Stella Artois, known for its rich heritage and premium lager status, contains an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 5%. This ABV places Stella Artois within the average range for beers; however, this percentage can still have significant implications for your health when consumed in large amounts or frequently.

When we compare Stella Artois to the concept of a "standard drink," it's helpful to use established guidelines. In the United States, one standard drink contains roughly 14 grams of pure alcohol, which is found in:

  • 12 ounces of regular beer, which is usually about 5% alcohol
  • 5 ounces of wine, typically around 12% alcohol
  • 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits, which is about 40% alcohol

Given these measurements, one 12-ounce bottle of Stella Artois is approximately equivalent to one standard drink. However, it's not uncommon for individuals to consume beers in larger quantities, particularly during social events. This can quickly increase the number of standard drinks consumed, surpassing the moderate drinking recommendations set forth by health organizations.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans defines moderate drinking as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. Regularly exceeding these amounts can lead to various health risks, including but not limited to alcoholic liver diseases, cardiovascular problems, and an increased risk of certain cancers. Additionally, even consuming Stella Artois within these guidelines may not be suitable for everyone, particularly those with a history of addiction, pregnant women, individuals under the legal drinking age, those with certain medical conditions, and those taking medications that interact adversely with alcohol.

It's essential to be cognizant of the serving size, especially since Stella Artois is often served in a chalice, which can hold more than the standard 12 ounces. For instance, a typical Stella Artois chalice holds 16 ounces of beer. If one fills it to the brim, they would be having about 1.3 standard drinks, not just one.

To put Stella's alcohol content in perspective, a comparative analysis with other popular beers might be beneficial:

Beer Brand Alcohol by Volume (ABV)
Bud Light 4.2%
Coors Light 4.2%
Heineken 5.0%
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale 5.6%
IPA (average) 6.0-7.0%

While Stella Artois aligns closely with Heineken in terms of ABV, it's stronger than many light beers such as Bud Light and Coors Light. In contrast, it's milder compared to many IPAs and craft beers, which can range significantly higher in alcohol content.

Expanding beyond the numbers, it's worth noting that the way Stella Artois—or any alcoholic beverage, for that matter—is consumed plays a significant role in its effects on health. Drinking on an empty stomach, binge drinking (defined as four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men in about two hours), or mixing with certain substances can all greatly impact alcohol's effects and risks.

In conclusion, while Stella Artois may not be inherently bad for you when enjoyed responsibly and in moderation, its 5% ABV means that its consumption should be monitored closely to avoid potential health risks. Being mindful of your individual circumstances and the broader context of your overall drinking habits is essential. As with all things, moderation and informed decision-making are key.

Caloric and Carbohydrate Count in Stella Artois

Stella Artois, a popular Belgian lager, has a distinctive taste and is known for its high-quality brewing process. When considering its place in a balanced diet, understanding its caloric and carbohydrate content is crucial. Here's a detailed breakdown:

Calorie Content: A standard serving of Stella Artois, which is typically 12 ounces, contains approximately 154 calories. This is comparable to other beers within the same category, yet it's essential to keep in mind that these calories are primarily from alcohol and carbohydrates, contributing little nutritional value. For those watching their calorie intake, these "empty calories" can add up quickly, particularly during social events where multiple servings are consumed.

Carbohydrate Content: In the same serving size, Stella Artois has about 13 grams of carbohydrates. These originate mainly from the malted barley used in brewing. While carbohydrates are a key energy source, they can also contribute to weight gain if not balanced with physical activity. Low-carb diet followers or individuals with diabetes may need to consider this carbohydrate count in relation to their total daily intake.

Here’s a comparative table showing caloric and carbohydrate content in Stella Artois against other popular beer brands (per 12 oz serving):

Beer Brand Calories Carbohydrates (g)
Stella Artois 154 13
Brand A 150 10
Brand B 160 14
Brand C (Light) 110 7

Note that 'light' beers often have fewer calories and carbohydrates, which may be a preferable option for those looking to reduce their calorie and carb intake.

It's also worthwhile to mention that the method of consumption affects the caloric and carbohydrate intake. Draft beer can often have slightly different metrics than bottled or canned options, depending on the serving size.

While enjoying a glass of Stella Artois, it's essential for drinkers to remain aware of these figures as part of their overall dietary pattern. For individuals looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle, moderation in alcohol consumption is key, as is the consideration of the caloric and carbohydrate content of beverages.

The Effect of Moderate Beer Consumption on Health

Understanding the impact of moderate beer consumption on health requires a nuanced look at what exactly 'moderation' means in the context of alcohol intake, and how it can influence various aspects of health. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans define moderate drinking as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. As for beer, one standard drink is generally considered to be 12 ounces, which is about the size of a standard bottle of Stella Artois.

Cardiovascular Health

Several epidemiological studies have noted a J-shaped relationship between alcohol consumption and cardiovascular health. This means that moderate drinkers might have a lower risk of certain cardiovascular diseases compared to both heavy drinkers and abstainers. A meta-analysis published in the British Medical Journal suggested that moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular events. However, it’s important to note that these potential benefits do not provide a green light to non-drinkers to start consuming alcohol for health reasons, as there are many other ways to support cardiovascular health without the risks associated with alcohol.

Glycemic Control and Diabetes Risk

Some research, such as a study from the American Diabetes Association, has indicated that moderate alcohol consumption may be linked to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. This is possibly due to the effect alcohol has on improving insulin sensitivity. It is crucial to approach this information with caution, as individual responses to alcohol can vary greatly, and excessive consumption can lead to serious health issues, including an increased risk of diabetes.

Mental Health and Cognitive Function

While excessive drinking is known to have a detrimental effect on mental health and cognitive function, the role of moderate consumption is more complex. Some studies suggest that light-to-moderate drinking could be linked to a lower risk of cognitive decline and dementia. However, experts caution that these findings should not encourage alcohol use since the risks may outweigh the benefits, and alcohol can be harmful to mental health for many individuals.

Overall Mortality

Data on alcohol consumption and overall mortality also demonstrate a J-shaped curve, with some studies suggesting that moderate drinkers have a lower overall mortality rate compared to heavy drinkers and abstainers. However, the interpretation of this data is contentious, with some researchers arguing that these observations could be influenced by confounding factors. Moderation remains key as increasing the quantity of alcohol consumed correlates with higher risks and nullifies any potential health benefits.

Digestive Health

Moderate beer consumption could have effects on digestive health due to the various components found in beer, like dietary fiber and polyphenols. However, the alcohol content in beer can potentially disrupt gut microbiota and intestinal permeability, leading to negative health outcomes. Balance and moderation are essential, and individuals with certain digestive conditions should be especially mindful of their beer intake.

Bone Density

Beer contains dietary silicon, which is associated with bone formation and health. Some observational studies suggest that moderate beer consumption might be associated with increased bone density. Nevertheless, excessive alcohol intake is well-documented to contribute to bone loss and risk of fractures.

In summary, moderate beer consumption, such as an occasional glass of Stella Artois, might offer some potential health benefits, but these must be weighed against the risks inherent in alcohol consumption. It’s critical to consider an individual’s overall dietary pattern, lifestyle, genetic factors, and existing health conditions when evaluating the effect of beer on health. Consulting with healthcare professionals for personalized advice is always recommended, as the information presented here is not intended as a substitute for medical guidance.

Possible Additives in Stella Artois and Their Implications

When discussing the potential health implications of any beer, including Stella Artois, it's important to consider the additives that may be present. Beer manufacturers often use various additives to enhance flavor, stability, and shelf life. The use of such ingredients can sometimes raise health concerns for sensitive individuals or when consumed in excessive amounts.

1. Preservatives: Stella Artois, like many commercial beers, may contain preservatives to prolong its shelf life. One common preservative is sulfur dioxide, which can trigger asthmatic symptoms in individuals with asthma who are sensitive to this compound. However, the levels present in beer are typically low and within regulatory safety limits.

2. Stabilizers: Beer producers sometimes use stabilizers to maintain the consistency and clarity of the beer. Substances like propylene glycol alginate (E405) can be found in beer, but it is generally recognized as safe by the FDA in the small amounts used. However, some individuals may report digestive discomfort if they have a sensitivity to such additives.

3. Artificial Coloring: Although Stella Artois is known for its natural golden color derived from the malting process, some beers may have artificial coloring added. Consuming artificial colors has been a topic of debate, with some research suggesting a link between these additives and hyperactivity in children. However, there's no indication that Stella Artois uses artificial coloring in its recipe.

4. Foam Enhancers: To achieve a stable and attractive head of foam, beers might include substances like propylene glycol. While these enhancers are approved for use in foods and beverages, excessive intake should be avoided. Individuals with specific sensitivities or health concerns should be aware of these ingredients.

5. Flavour Enhancers: Many beverages utilize flavor enhancers like MSG or other similar compounds. These additives are approved by food safety authorities but can cause "Chinese restaurant syndrome" in some people, including headaches and flushing.

It's essential to review the ingredient list of any product, because regulations and formulations can change. Individuals with sensitivities or allergies to any additives should take special care when choosing their beverages. The best course of action if you're concerned about additives in your beer is to consult with the manufacturer directly or to opt for beers that advertise a "purer" brewing process, often labeled as craft or artisan beers.

Beer, like any alcoholic beverage, should always be consumed in moderation. According to dietary guidelines, moderate alcohol consumption is defined as up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. Excess alcohol intake is linked to various health issues, regardless of the presence or absence of additives.

Beer as a Source of Gluten: Considerations for Sensitivities and Allergies

For many individuals, enjoying a cold pint of beer is synonymous with relaxation and social engagement. However, for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease, this seemingly benign pleasure may come with significant health concerns. Stella Artois, like many beers, is traditionally brewed from barley, a grain that naturally contains gluten.

Understanding Gluten in Beer:

Gluten is a group of proteins found in certain grains, such as wheat, barley, and rye. In the brewing process, these grains are subjected to fermentation, which breaks down sugars but does not remove gluten. Despite some brewing claims, traditional beer is not gluten-free unless specifically labeled as such.

The gluten content in beer can trigger reactions in individuals with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). Symptoms of a reaction can range from bloating, abdominal discomfort, and headaches to more serious health implications like intestinal damage and malabsorption in the case of celiac disease.

The Perspective of Health Authorities:

Leading health organizations, such as the Celiac Disease Foundation and the Gluten Intolerance Group, advise that those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities should avoid beers like Stella Artois unless they are labeled gluten-free. The presence of gluten in these beverages can lead to an immune reaction and potential long-term health consequences.

The Rise of Gluten-Free Options:

Recognizing the growing demand for gluten-free choices, numerous breweries have started producing gluten-free or gluten-reduced beers. These are crafted using alternative grains such as sorghum, rice, or millet, or by using enzymes that help to break down gluten to levels that meet the regulated threshold for gluten-free labeling (less than 20 parts per million, as set by the FDA).

Considerations for Beer Consumers with Gluten Concerns:

  • Always check labels for gluten content—look for "gluten-free" or "gluten-reduced" claims.
  • Be aware that "gluten-reduced" beers may still contain traces of gluten and may not be suitable for those with celiac disease.
  • If diagnosed with celiac disease or NCGS, opt for certified gluten-free beers to minimize the risk of reaction.
  • Consult with a healthcare provider or dietitian to understand personal tolerance levels and get recommendations for safe consumption.

Research on Gluten-Free Beers:

Peer-reviewed studies have examined gluten content in beers and their safety for individuals with gluten-related disorders. For instance, research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry has evaluated the effectiveness of enzymes to reduce gluten content in beer to below measurable levels, providing options for those with sensitivities.

While Stella Artois is a revered brand with a rich history, its traditional recipes are not suitable for those with gluten intolerances or celiac disease. Individuals with these concerns must take into account the presence of gluten in such beers and should consult with health authorities and research to make informed choices about their beer consumption.

Responsible Drinking and Lifestyle Balance

When discussing the impact of a beer like Stella Artois on health, it is critical to emphasize the significance of responsible drinking and lifestyle balance. Enjoying an alcoholic beverage means different things to different people, but it should always be about moderation and understanding the effects on one's health.

Moderation is Key
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans define moderate drinking as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. Following these guidelines can help mitigate the negative health effects associated with excessive alcohol consumption, such as liver disease, heart disease, and addiction. Stella Artois, like any beer, can fit into a healthy diet when consumed in moderation.

Alcohol's Effect on the Body
Alcohol is metabolized by the liver, and overconsumption can lead to a variety of health issues. It's crucial to understand that even high-quality beers like Stella Artois can contribute to caloric intake and, subsequently, weight gain if not accounted for within a balanced diet. Furthermore, alcohol can interfere with nutrient absorption and impair judgment, which may affect other health-related decisions.

Balance with Physical Activity
Incorporating physical activity into your routine can help balance out the caloric intake from the occasional beer. However, the timing of alcohol consumption in relation to exercise is important; it's generally advisable to avoid alcohol immediately after workouts when the body is in recovery mode.

Understanding Personal Limits
Individual tolerance to alcohol varies widely and is influenced by factors such as genetics, body size, and alcohol experience. Listen to your body and be aware of how alcohol affects you personally, and adjust your intake accordingly.

Social and Psychological Considerations
It's also necessary to recognize the social and psychological factors related to drinking alcohol. Consider why you're reaching for that bottle of Stella Artois – is it to relax, to socialize, or perhaps to cope with stress? Ensuring that alcohol consumption doesn't become a detrimental coping mechanism is an important aspect of maintaining a balanced lifestyle.

Expert Opinion
Health professionals assert that responsible drinking should not be purely about counting drinks but rather factoring in the broader context of one's overall lifestyle and health. The occasional Stella Artois is not inherently bad for you, but its role in your diet should contribute to, rather than detract from, your overall well-being.

Frequently asked questions

With 13 grams of carbohydrates per 12-ounce serving, Stella Artois may not fit into stricter low-carb diets like keto, where the daily carb limit can be as low as 20-50 grams. Nonetheless, for less restrictive low-carb diet plans, it's possible to enjoy Stella Artois in moderation, factoring in the carbs as part of the day's total intake.

Stella Artois has about 154 calories per 12-ounce serving. Non-alcoholic beers generally have fewer calories due to the absence of alcohol, which is calorically dense. For example, a non-alcoholic beer might contain between 50 to 100 calories per 12-ounce serving, making it a lower-calorie option for those counting calories.

Stella Artois is not gluten-free as it's brewed from barley, which contains gluten. Therefore, it is not suitable for people with celiac disease or those with severe gluten sensitivities. Individuals with these conditions should look for beers specifically labeled as gluten-free.

Moderate alcohol consumption, considered low-risk, is defined by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. For beer, a standard drink is typically a 12-ounce serving at 5% alcohol by volume, which is about the size of a standard bottle of Stella Artois.

Ask a question about Stella Artois and our team will publish the answer as soon as possible.

Possible short-term side effects

  • increased intoxication with high consumption
  • potential for headache, dehydration, or hangover
  • may exacerbate asthma in sensitive individuals due to preservatives
  • digestive discomfort from stabilizers in sensitive individuals

Possible long-term side effects

  • risk of alcoholic liver diseases
  • increased risk of certain cancers
  • cardiovascular problems
  • weight gain
  • impaired nutrient absorption
  • potential cognitive decline and dementia
  • bone loss with excessive consumption
  • may trigger immune reaction in individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities

Ingredients to be aware of

  • sulfur dioxide
  • propylene glycol alginate (e405)
  • propylene glycol
  • flavor enhancers like msg
  • gluten (for people with sensitivities or celiac disease)


  • potential reduced risk of cardiovascular events
  • may reduce risk of type 2 diabetes
  • possible improved insulin sensitivity
  • may lower risk of cognitive decline and dementia with light drinking
  • might be associated with increased bone density due to dietary silicon

Healthier alternatives

  • light beers with fewer calories and carbs
  • certified gluten-free beers
  • non-alcoholic beverages
  • water

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

BRAVUS Non-Alcoholic Brews

  • Low-Calorie options
  • Gluten-reduced
  • Vegan-friendly
  • Craft beer experience
  • Diverse flavor variety
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 02-23-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 02-23-2024

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