Beer vs Cola: Which is Better for Health?

Which is better for health, beer or cola? In the beer vs cola competition, each has its defenders and distractors.

beer vs colaMany people think that beer causes beer bellies. Some even consider beer a four letter word.  On the other hand, a large activist group opposes cola. It actually avoids the word ‘cola.’ It favors calling colas ‘sugar drinks’ and ‘liquid candy.’1

Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has analyzed the contents of both. It provides the following information.2

Beverage Calories Fat (g.) Carb (g.) Sugars (g.)
12 oz regular beer 153 0.00 12.64 0.00
12 oz regular cola 155 0.92 38.33 36.78

beer vs cola


The USDA database shows that cola contains most, but not all, of the minerals found in beer. But it contains no vitamins at all. Beer provides thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, follate, and vitamin B-12.

Beer has a strong advantage over cola nutritionally. It has no fat and no sugar. It also has fewer calories and less carbohydrate. Beer provides more minerals. And it provides vitamins. Coke has none at all.

Drinking coke would lead to a “beer belly” faster than drinking beer!

Beer has yet another advantage over cola. It contains alcohol. And drinking alcohol in moderation leads to better health and longevity than abstaining.

When it comes to beer vs cola, there’s really no contest. Beer is dramatically better for health and longevity.

Resources on Beer vs Cola for Health

Bamford, C. Beer: Health and Nutrition.  Oxford: Blackwell Science, 2004.

Binns, C., et al. Thiamin in Beer: a Health Promotion Perspective. Bentley, W. Aust: Curtin U, Nat Cent Res Prev Drug Abuse, 1988.

Borgian, A. Pop-colas and Dental Corrosion. Montreal : McGill U Libraries, 2011. M.S. thesis, 2011. eScholarship id: 104481.

Films for the Humanities & Sciences. Coke on the rocks? NY: Films Media, 2006.

Films Media. Jamie’s Sugar Rush. NY: Films Media, 2015.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Is Beer a Four Letter Word? Rockville: NIAAA, 1998.


1 ‘Sugar Drinks’ and ‘Liquid Candy Report.’ Center for Science in the Public Interest. The Center’s website URL is

2 USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. Release 28.