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  • Dr. Nick

The Battle Of The Light Beers: corn vs. rice and what it means for our health

Updated: Feb 11, 2019




The recent dispute between Bud and Miller surrounding corn is anything but chivalrous. The claim that Budlight uses rice instead of corn, nonchalantly and almost cordially (by lugging a large cask of corn syrup to the castle, how gracious of you) insulting MillerCoors, is beside the fact that both companies are producing a drink made almost entirely from one grain, barley. When it comes down to it, the difference between which type of additional grain, rice or corn, is used in the fermentation process is of lesser concern. The physiological changes occurring inside the body from either beers are indistinguishable. Our body processes both beers relatively the same, plus or minus some blood sugar and caloric differences.


First, we must look at the impact grains, or as Dr. William Davis MD (author of Wheat Belly Total Health) refers to as “the seeds of grasses,” can have on our health. Not all grains are created equal, and some wreak more havoc than others, but overall they share similar properties and are part of the same biological family Poaceae, “the grass family,” which includes wheat, rice, corn, barley, and millet.


Why Grains Have The Potential To Harm:


Most of the problems surrounding grains, aside from high carbohydrate count (glycemic index potential), stems from its proteins and phytates. These are designed to protect the plant from predators/pests by causing distaste, upset stomach or anything to make that predator think twice before over-consuming and therefore killing off the plant and its kin. Most animals learn to avoid grass as food, besides cows and other ruminants, but humans are adept at manipulating things to our benefit. We learned that if we only consume a portion of the grass (the inner seed) we experience less side effects, that we’re aware of. But just because we’re not cognizant of what’s occurring doesn’t mean nothing is happening. It just means we don’t point to the true culprit when we do become aware.


We experience negative side effects, clinically and metabolically, when we consume grains, even if we’re not fully aware of it and even if only consuming the seeds. Our digestive track is “insulted” so to speak — meaning there is an increase in inflammation and damage to our cells. Grain proteins cause our small intestine’s microvilli (the single layer that separates digested food particles from our blood stream and is designed to allow certain substances through and keep harmful ones out) to be less effective and no longer “tight” junctions. Over time, we can develop “leaky gut syndrome,” a major health concern. We also see higher levels of blood glucose and insulin-resistance when our diet is high in grains and grain products. To be clear, an overconsumption or diet high in grains is an underlying cause or contributor to many of the health problems we might experience. From irritable bowel syndrome and acid reflux, to diabetes and heart disease, grains play a role in the expression of disease.


Bud Light Or Miller Lite?


So back to our beloved liquid grain dispute and corn versus rice, or the battle of two beer company’s ego. On both company websites, the ingredients and brewing processes are listed. Both beers share these 4 ingredients: malted barley, hops, yeast, and water. The difference is one adds rice for flavoring (#Budlight) and additional sugar food (for those hungry yeast to consume and in turn produce ethanol), the other corn or possibly wheat (#MillerCoors) according to their website.


We’re not given the ratios of barley-to-corn or barley-to-rice but we can be sure that barley is the main ingredient, the bulk of the pot, for both brews. Remember, barley is a member of the same grass family as corn and rice and shares similar properties. To provide a simple analogy of brewing light beer picture this: You’re making two soups. Both soups use 8 quarts of chicken broth and 3 cups of salt as the base. They both add basil. One soup then adds 1 cup black pepper; the other 1 cup cayenne pepper. They both add 5 cups water. These soups simmer for some time before being finished. Now, do we have vastly different soups at the end? Is one soup healthier or not as healthy as the other? No! They’re basically the same soup. This is the ridiculousness of debating between corn and rice in the process of making commercial light beer while ignoring the main ingredient barley.


Rice/Corn is not better or worse when they’re role is secondary to the whole process. We can’t get lost in the minor details and ignore the main point – they’re so similar in finished product that it doesn’t matter what subtle differences they took to get there. Ultimately, we should be less concerned with which beer we choose and more concerned with the frequency and amount we indulge in and how it can affect our health and longevity. This rings true for all grain-related products, not just beer. Maybe next time we‘ll debate which dye-color Cocoa Puffs uses compared to Fruit Loops.


— Dr. Venturini D.C., M.S.

Spinal Solutions Chiropractic and Rehabilitation