Crying in your beer? You will be, if you want a way to know exactly what you're drinking. Neither color nor labels tell the whole tale.

By Sidney Fry, MS, RD
April 27, 2011
Randy Mayor

Guinness Stout looks dark and heavy but has about the same calories as Bud Light. A Bud Light label lists calories but not alcohol content (4.2% compared to regular Bud's 5%—a smaller difference than you might guess). A 12-ounce bottle of specialty ale may pack a walloping 8% alcohol and say so, but not reveal calories. Welcome to beer labeling, courtesy not of the USDA but a division of the Treasury.

Confused? So were we. But be stout of heart and know this: The new Dietary Guidelines recommend the alcohol equivalent of up to one beer a day for women, two for men, defined as 12 ounces of regular beer with 5% Alcohol By Volume (ABV). Second: more alcohol means more calories, as a general rule.