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Food Fight: The Best Irish Beer for Your Calorie Budget

pretzels and beer

Photo by iStock.

By Kelly Turner for

St. Patrick's Day falls on a Saturday this, with no worries of heading into work the next morning while little leprechauns jack-hammer in your head, you can really get into the holiday spirit. Nothing says cheers to St. Patty's Day like knocking back a few brews at your favorite Irish pub. But nothing can derail your weight loss efforts faster than alcohol.

Many people have the misconception that the darker or heavier the beer, the higher it is in carbs and calories. Not so. Some of your classic Irish beers contain no more calories or carbohydrates than your mainstream domestics--so drink up, but drink wisely, because no alcohol is a freebie. Let's compare three popular Irish beers:

Guinness Stout - Calories: 170 per pint, 5.7 g carbs

Guinness Stout is very dark, almost black, with more carbonation than Guinness Draught. Guinness is the lowest in carbs, so you don't have to feel bad about that slice of soda bread you snuck off your friend's plate. To burn off one pint, however, plan on hitting the elliptical for an extra 17 minutes*.

Killian’s Irish Red - Calories: 163 per 12 oz., 14.4 g carbs

Killian's has a chocolatey, toffee flavor that makes it almost a treat to drink. Can't get enough Killian's? You better make friends with your stair stepper. To burn off each bottle, you'll have to climb stairs for 25 minutes.

Harp Lager - Calories: 189 calories per pint

Harp Lager is a pale golden yellow with a very mild taste and subtle sweetness. Harp is a relatively light beer, so go ahead and order those bangers and mash, but be prepared to spend 20 minutes running on the treadmill for every pint you down.

If you are looking for a  guilt-free beer to celebrate St. Patty's, go for a low calorie beer like Miller 64, dyed green. With any luck (of the Irish, ha!) you can enjoy your St. Patty's Day without feeling a pinch in your waistband.

 *calories burned are calculated for 150 pound woman

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