If you watched Super Bowl LIII, you probably left the game with two key takeaways: Adam Levine hasn’t aged a day and Bud Light isn’t brewed with corn syrup. Their Super Bowl ads really drove that point home. No corn syrup!
Both Miller Lite and Coors Light use corn syrup to brew their beer — a choice Bud Light called out quite publicly to flaunt that they do not.
Understandably, Coors and Miller were both pretty mad — as were American corn farmers.
Bud Light has been pushing ingredient transparency lately. They plan to start listing the beer's ingredients on the packaging and now they’re the first to talk so openly about corn syrup. In a nation overloaded with sugar, that certainly sounds like an appealing aspect to look for in light beer. But is corn syrup used in brewing actually bad for you?
According to registered dietitian Suzanne Dixon (and science), no. Corn syrup used in brewing does not affect the health of your beer in the slightest.
“There is nothing inherently bad about brewing with corn syrup,” Dixon told The Daily Meal. “There is no corn syrup or any of the other simple sugars left in the beer by the time it reaches the consumer!”
The process of fermentation gets rid of all the corn syrup. Yeast, used to add both alcohol and bubbles to beer, uses up the sugars in corn syrup during fermentation.
“In brewer terms, yeast need a ‘substrate’ they can convert into ethanol,” Dixon said. “The substrate is a simple sugar, often in the form of glucose or fructose. It doesn't matter if that substrate (simple sugar) comes from corn syrup (100 percent glucose), cane sugar (about half glucose and half fructose) or high-fructose corn syrup (ranging from about 40 to 55 percent fructose and the remainder glucose). Yeast can ferment glucose or fructose; regardless of the substrate or sugar used to create alcohol, none of that substrate is left in the finished product.”
In fact, even if there is some sugar left behind by the yeast used to ferment beer, all of it is filtered out before the beer is bottled. So there is no actual corn syrup left in a can of Coors Light. Or Miller Lite. Or any other beer that uses corn syrup during fermentation.
"We fully support corn growers and will continue to invest in the corn industry," an Anheuser-Busch spokesperson told The Daily Meal in an email. "Bud Light’s Super Bowl commercials are only meant to point out a key difference in Bud Light from some other light beers. We don’t have anything against corn syrup, we just don’t use it in Bud Light. Consumers want transparency and we’re providing it. It’s up to them to decide what beer is right for them."
The Daily Meal has also reached out to MillerCoors for comment.
Though it's not necessarily bad for you, brewing with corn syrup — or with rice syrup, which Budweiser uses instead — is not exactly a traditional method, and it tends to be employed by mass-market brewers like Budweiser and MillerCoors. Many other beers, in fact, do not use corn syrup (including some big European beers like Heineken and Guinness, which is actually a more nutritious choice than light beer regardless).
And let’s be honest — when you’re drinking beer, is consuming a little corn syrup really your biggest health concern? Though beer does have its benefits! Here are 15 totally legit health reasons to drink a beer every day.