Beer calorie counts add up, dietician says

Leinenkugel's Honey Weiss is rated as a "best bet" by Men's Health magazine. (Photo: Flickr/Jared)

For many Americans, an ice-cold beer is the drink of choice to unwind at night, while taking in a sporting event or just hanging out with friends.

In fact, as many as one-third of adults have at least one beer a week.

Even if you're going with a light brew, though, a close look at the label can mean a lot for your waistline. Several beers, both domestic and imported, may surprise you with the amount of calories and carbohydrates packed into one can, bottle or pint.

PHOTOS: The Men's Health nine best and worst beers for your waistline.

"I think it's kind of humorous that beer has a nutrition label at all," Rebecca Stritchfield, a Washington-based dietician, says. "It's not health food."

Some beer drinkers don't even care to think about how many calories they're putting down while knocking back a few.

"I'm not worried about calories," Arlington resident Shaun Coon says. "I burn them off at the gym anyway."

For instance, a single bottle of Blue Moon, a popular wheat beer, has 171 calories per serving. Compare that to several light brands - Bud Light has 110, Becks Premier Light has 64 and Bud Select has just 55 - the heavier beer packs a punch.

Even the difference between a Guinness Extra Stout (176 calories) and a standard Guinness Draught (125 calories) is noticeable.

MORE: How do regular and light beers stack up against each other?

Stritchfield warns that drinking too much over the years can definitely make you fat, but that a few beers in moderation is the way to go.

"If you're having a beer with dinner and you're sticking with one or two, go for what you enjoy more," she says.