Question about when to use el/la before a noun.

I’m having a hard time determining when to use el/la before a noun, especially if you wouldn’t in English. I’m using Duolingo to learn.

For example:

Newspapers are sometimes boring. Los periodicos a veces son aburridos.

I like chocolate cake. Me gusta el pastel de chocolate.

I drink beer. Bebo cerveza.

I am eating a sandwich without cheese. Estoy comiendo un sandwich sin queso.

It’s slightly hard to explain, but why would you need the el/la in the first two, but not before cerveza or queso in the second two examples?

Gracias!

submitted by /u/gaming37
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