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What is Bud Light?

Question: Dear Joe, The other day I was listening to an English dialogue. One term puzzled me, so I am writing to you for help today. What is "Bud light" in the following dialogue:

A: Would you like something to drink?
B: Yes. I'd like one Bud light, please.

Does "Bud light" mean "beer"? Thank you very much! Yours sincerely, John.

Answer: Hi John, Thank you for the specific question. I really appreciate it! You are right about the expression. Bud Light is, indeed beer. It is actually a kind of beer. Bud is short for "Budweiser" which is the most popular American beer. It is now available in many places around China. Of course, you may be wondering what "light" means. You may or may not be aware of the fact that many Americans are very overweight, a situation that has gotten much worse in the past thirty years or so. To try to lose weight, people drink things like Diet Coke (also available in China - it's called jianyi kele) which has no calories. Light beer is another way people try to lose weight. It usually has one third less calories than regular beer.

To learn lots of vocabulary, and understand how to use that vocabulary, you have to be good at guessing the meaning from the situation. Even when your guesses are not exactly right, it is a good way to learn. You might guess "beer" this time, but in the future you might see "Miller Light" or "Michelob Light" in a similar situation, and you'll figure out the precise meaning. It is better, however, to use longer dialogues and stories for learning. For example, in this situation, if you knew they were in a bar and the man was fat and wanted to lose weight, it would be easier to see that he may be ordering beer and that "light" means "less calories".

By the way, besides diet cola and light beer, there are many other kinds of "diet foods" in America. For a while, many foods appeared with the labels "No Fat!" or "Low Fat!". Many people ate such foods to try to lose fat. The problem was, these foods had lots of calories, so when people ate them but didn't exercise enough, they still gained weight! Recently, more and more people are eating "low carbohydrate", or "low carb" foods. I don't really know why this is considered a good thing. It seems to mean people are eating MORE fat and also more protein. I think this is just a "fad", and will only be popular for a short time, but who knows? Diet colas and light beers have now been with us for several decades!

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