Regular vs. light beer: What's the real difference? (Charts)

That Miller High Life you're about to kick back has four times the carbs than a Miller Lite.(Photo: Flickr/Brian Wilkins)

You've seen the commercials. You've looked at the labels. You've most likely stood in the brightly-lit, chilly aisles of your local grocery or liquor store, agonizing over your decision.

Which brand of beer to buy?

One of the biggest paradoxes in beer buying may be how great the difference is between regular and light beer, especially amongst the most popular American brews.

So, ABC7's Kris Van Cleave put some beers to the test and examined just how big the difference was between the two.

We chose five of the most popular and best-selling American brands to compare - Budweiser, Miller, Coors, Natural and Busch - to examine the differences in calories and carbohydrates between the regular brew and their light brew.

Our data is corroborated between and comes from two sources: and and is based on one 12 oz. can or bottle. To interact with the charts and get the exact calorie and carbohydrate count, hover your mouse pointer over the bars on each graph.

First up - the calorie count.

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The biggest difference in calories came between Natural Ice and Natural Light - a whopping 62 calorie difference in one serving. However, the difference for all five beers was no less than 35 calories.

The differences were much more pronounced when it came to carbohydrates, something each of these brands sell as something you "save on" when you drink their light beers.

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Three of the light beers - Miller Lite, Natural Light and Busch Light - clock in with 3.2 g of carbohydrates in one 12 oz. can or bottle.

However, the most pronounced difference came between Miller High Life and Miller Lite. One serving of High Life has more than four times the carbohydrates (13.1 g) than a can of Miller Lite (3.2 g).

Here's a look at all of our data: