A low-carb beer has been branded an "insidious health risk" by an addiction expert, who has added that it does little to prevent a beer gut.
Beers like Foster's Pure Blonde and Bluetongue's Bondi Blonde have become famous among dieters because of the drinks' low-carbohydrate credentials, says expert Dr Peter Miller.
But such beers should not be seen as a "healthy alternative" to full strength beer, he said.
"The recent rapid increase in popularity of low-carbohydrate beers in Australia ... may represent an insidious health risk," Dr Miller said. "The message should be made explicit - low-carb beers are not a healthy choice."
According to the expert, the problem is that while the beers have lower carbohydrate levels they deliver almost the same energy load to the body as full strength beer, reports News.com.au.
Low-carb beers contain around 1.5 grams of carbohydrate per 100ml - about half that found in full strength beer.
But when it comes to overall kilojoules of energy delivered to the body, low carb is not far short of full strength beer.
"There is little, if any, difference in either the amount of alcohol or the total energy content of traditional and low carb beers," Dr Miller said.
Drinkers were "better off consuming low-strength beers in terms of both alcohol content and energy intake", he said.
The finding has been published in the Medical Journal of Australia.