Should You Drink Low Alcohol Beer or Alcohol Free Beverages?

Refreshment or relapse: Can alcoholics drink nonalcoholic beer?

Should You Drink Low Alcohol Beer or Alcohol Free Beverages?

Can alcoholics drink nonalcoholic beer? It’s a fair question, especially in the heat of summer, when a sweaty job of mowing the grass is often followed by the thought, “a cold beer would be nice right now.”

And despite the trappings of alcoholic consumption — namely, to drink as much as possible, as quickly as possible, to get as drunk as possible — there are those in recovery who actually enjoyed the taste of beer.

Perhaps they thought of themselves, before their drinking problem grew control, as beer connoisseurs.

Perhaps one of the biggest impediments to recovery was having to give up something they enjoyed, at least before their drinking habits took a dark turn.

There’s a wealth of information on the internet about the dangers, or lack thereof, of individuals in recovery choosing to indulge in nonalcoholic beverages. But can alcoholics drink nonalcoholic beer? The consensus seems to be this: Some can, and some do, but every person who makes a decision to do so needs to weigh his or her motives, consider his or her recovery and choose wisely.

Can Alcoholics Drink Nonalcoholic Beer? A History

Nonalcoholic beers date back to Prohibition, when the Volstead Act was enacted in 1919, making alcohol effectively illegal in the United States. According to the website Gizmodo, the law made illegal any beverage that was “0.5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV).

If that number sounds familiar, it’s because that percentage has stuck, and ‘non-alcoholic’ beers today still have 0.5 percent ABV as their upper limit. So, some of the large breweries began making ‘near beer,’ stuff that was very pale, didn’t have much flavor, and was right at 0.

5 percent ABV.”

When Prohibition ended in 1933, however, nonalcoholic beer didn’t disappear completely, according to the website Mixer Direct, because consumers actually d it, and “some drinkers still wanted a beer that tasted the non-alcoholic option. In light of this, many American brands created bland, light beer because of this consumer preference.”

But while American breweries developed blander options that would become full-alcohol brands Budweiser and Busch and Miller, there was little demand for true nonalcoholic beers, at least until the craft and home-brewing renaissance of the 1990s.

Then, according to Popular Mechanics, nonalcoholic options began to gain traction again, “fueled by changing consumer habits and brewers’ successful tinkering with the complex processes required to make it.” Between July and September 2020, the magazine continues, “NA beer sales were up approximately 38% in the U.S.

compared with the same period in 2019, according to data analytics group IRI. Craft operations dedicated to NA suds have sprung up across the country, not to mention beer giants Heineken and Anheuser-​Busch — the maker of Busch NA and O’Doul’s, two long-running NA beers that clock in below 0.

5% alcohol by volume (ABV) — which are also investing millions to launch alcohol-free products.”

However, if you’re wondering “can alcoholics drink nonalcoholic beer,” it’s important to keep in mind that many products advertising themselves as “nonalcoholic” actually do contain some alcohol … and for some, more than what they advertise.

According to a 2010 study published in the Canadian Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, a study of 45 NA beers, “Thirteen (29%) of the beverages contained ethanol levels higher than the declared concentration on their label.

Six beverages claiming to contain no alcohol were found to contain greater than 1% ethanol.”

So what does that mean for those in recovery from alcoholism? Can alcoholics drink nonalcoholic beer?

The Cons

It’s important to remember that nonalcoholic beers — most of them, anyway — still contain alcohol.

It may not be much, but it’s in there, as a writer for the website I Am Sober points out: “To be marketed as ‘alcohol-free’ beer, the product needs to contain less than 0.5% alcohol.

This means that it’d take about 10 bottles of non-alcoholic beer to equal 1 normal beer. It’s highly unly for a person to become drunk from drinking non-alcoholic beer, but it does still contains alcohol.”

And while that may seem no big deal, this is where the recovery concept of “playing the tape all the way through” comes into play.

If you’ve never heard of it, it’s a psychological tool in which addicts and alcoholics are urged to consider the ramifications of such a decision — beyond just the initial good time that drinking and drugging always promised.

As Katie MacBride, writing for Healthline, points out, “as someone who was so severely addicted to alcohol that some mornings I drank cough syrup or mouthwash just to get my hands to stop shaking, I don’t mess around with even small amounts of alcohol.”

While MacBride goes on to point out that “Brands Heineken and Budweiser have started producing alcohol-free beer … not ‘a little alcoholic’ beer, but genuinely 100 percent alcohol-free beer,” it’s not so simple as substituting a beverage with no alcohol whatsoever for one that used to contain it … not when the ritual around drinking was almost as addictive for some of us in recovery as the drinking itself.

One writer for the website NA Beer, a clearinghouse of information about nonalcoholic beverages, puts it this way: “The thrill of drinking even an alcohol free beer could become a slippery slope that leads back into drinking alcoholic beverages. This because the taste is really similar to that of traditional beers and other beverages. The smell and taste may be enough to trigger a relapse in some individuals as it could bring the person back to a period before recovery.”

How, you may ask? The nonprofit recovery organization the Stout Street Foundation puts it this way: “Tasting beer can trigger euphoric recall, which is the memories of the good times of drinking. For an addict or alcoholic, part of the disease is having difficulty remembering or acknowledging all of the negative consequences of active addiction.”

And anyone who’s made it through early recovery has a more than passing familiarity with cravings.

As the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism puts it, “The words ‘urge’ and ‘craving’ refer to a broad range of thoughts, physical sensations, or emotions that tempt you to drink, even though you have at least some desire not to. You may feel an uncomfortable pull in two directions or sense a loss of control.”

So … Can Alcoholics Drink Nonalcoholic Beer?

If you ask Google “can alcoholics drink nonalcoholic beer,” you’ll get a multitude of responses, including some from individuals who maintain sobriety blogs. These individuals stress the importance of responsible decision-making, but they also detail how they arrived at their own decision.

Blogger Jean McCarthy, who maintains the blog UnPickled, admits that she never gave drinking a nonalcoholic beer much thought until a sober friend questioned her decision.

She even posed the question online and found that “many (Alcoholics Anonymous) discussion board participants are adamant that drinking NA beer is considered a relapse, and many recovery organizations say avoiding it entirely is a best practice.”

However, she continued, her opinion was her own sobriety and experience, and she advises readers to “know your triggers and stay away from them.”

“I eat some food that is cooked with wine (i.e. pasta, soups and stews) but I don’t eat deserts such as tiramisu or rum cake,” she writes.

“I feel safe drinking NA beer and the occasional NA cider, but I don’t drink de-alcoholized wine.

To me, the benefits of having a NA beer delivered to my table outweigh the risks of ordering a mocktail and possibly getting the wrong drink. I stay aware and keep myself safe, but what works for me might not work for someone else.”

Blogger Kelly Fitzgerald Junco, a.k.a. “the Sober Senorita,” acknowledges similar warnings by those in recovery about nonalcoholic beers: “From what I’ve heard and read online, most 12-step programs advise against consuming non-alcoholic brews. They say it’s a slippery slope.

Just the smell of something similar to alcohol could be enough to trigger a craving and lead to a relapse. Some people suggest that pretending you are drinking alcohol is  ‘romanticizing the drink’ and can be dangerous.

” However, she continues, while she understands that point of view, her own experience is contrary to it: “Personally, it doesn’t do that for me.

“I believe the decision to indulge in ‘fake drinks’ is a personal one,” she continues. “For myself I think non-alcoholic beer is a blessing. I can indulge when I am at a social gathering, out to dinner, or after work on a long day.

It helps me feel not left out, it gives me the momentary feeling that I am not different, and yes it acts maybe as an alcoholic drink would for normal people — it takes the edge off.

The best part is — it’s not an alcoholic beverage and I don’t have to worry about controlling my drinking, getting myself in trouble, being hungover, and all the other bad behaviors that went right along with my drinking.”

However, both Junco and McCarthy stress the importance of individual choice — and the fact that their experiences are their own and shouldn’t be taken as a wholesale affirmative to the question, “can alcoholics drink nonalcoholic beer?”

Every recovering addict and alcoholic needs, as the NIAAA points out, to be aware of his or her triggers, and to do two things:

  • Avoid high-risk situations: “In many cases, your best strategy will be to avoid taking the chance that you’ll have an urge, then slip and drink. At home, keep little or no alcohol. Socially, avoid activities involving drinking.”
  • Cope with triggers you can’t avoid by reminding yourself why you’re sober; talking through the craving with someone a sponsor; distracting yourself with another activity; or leaving high-risk situations altogether.

In short, if you’re wondering, “can alcoholics drink nonalcoholic beer?,” ask yourself this: Are the rewards of doing so worth the risk to your sobriety? If the answer is no, then don’t do it.



26 of the best alcohol-free and low alcohol drink options

Should You Drink Low Alcohol Beer or Alcohol Free Beverages?

Whether you're looking for non-alcoholic drinks because you're taking part in Sober for October, or because you've stopped drinking for another reason (be it pregnancy, wanting to live a healthier lifestyle or because it can seriously benefit your mental health), take a minute to give yourself a pat on the back.

Others, rather than going completely sober might be looking to drink more mindfully (e.g. reducing their alcohol intake in order to give themselves the space and time to examine their drinking habits) and therefore are also on the lookout for some tasty alcohol-free drink options.

After recently going sober myself for fifteen months, and then slowly reintroducing the odd drink back into my life, I've spent (and still spend) a lot of my time trying and testing huge swathes of non-alcoholic (and super, super low %) beers, ciders, wines, spirits, cocktails and everything in between.

These are my top picks to date:

Eisberg Cabernet Sauvignon Red Wine (0%)

When it comes to non-alcoholic wines, I've found that reds are generally superior to whites or rosés (which are often a little too on the sweet side) – and Eisberg, a widely available, alcohol-free brand, more than know how to create a palatable one. Bonus: a large glass (250ml) of this cabernet sauvignon is only 56 calories. I also highly recommend Eisberg's merlot and sauvignon blanc too.

Opia Alcohol Free Chardonnay (0%)

This one is a great shout for anybody who isn't a big fan of the taste of wine (shocking I know, but I actually do have a few non-sober friends who've just never vibed with a «large house white» – my go-to of yesteryear). Whilst it looks the part, this Opia option from Vintage Roots is more drinking a really fresh and tangy peach juice. It's extra delicious when chilled.

Jukes 2 (0%)

Created by wine writer Matthew Jukes, these minis are made to be mixed with either still, sparkling or tonic water. The blend includes cranberries, sour cherries, blueberries, plus earthy veg and a hint of apple cider vinegar, equating to a very pleasing kick.

The best non-alcoholic gins

Bax Botanics Sea Buckthorn (0%)

There's a reason why this offering won a Great Taste Award – it truly does have a sublime flavour, as well as sleek packaging. Reminiscent of a gin, this fragrant spirit has notes of Mediterranean herbs (to me it smells of freshly picked rosemary) and berries.

Another reason I love Bax Botanics is that it's a small, sustainably run business with a real passion for delivering high quality drinks at no detriment to the planet.

Their other offering, Verbana, is also well worth checking out if something citrussy is more your bag.

CEDER's Pink Rose (0%)

A great alternative to a pink gin, Ceder's Pink Rose (available from Sainsbury's) smells just an actual G&T when mixed with tonic and doesn't taste dissimilar to one either – just a tad weaker and minus the buzz of alcohol.

Pentire Adrift (0%)

A citrussy alcohol-free 'gin', perfect when teamed with tonic and a slice of fruit. Pentire use plants found along the Cornwall coastline for this product, including rock samphire, sage and Cornish sea salt – plus a few 'secret ingredients'.

The best alcohol-free Prosecco

Freixenet (0.0%)

The packaging is discrete, so you won't have to worry about sticking out a sore thumb at a party (not that you should care anyway… but I know I personally want my sobriety to blend into the background). Tastes fresh and bubbly – and the rosé variety is decent too. Goes down far too easily.

Nosecco (0.5%)

I always put a bottle of this in my basket should I spy it in the aisles in Tesco or ASDA (but honestly I get through it so quickly I might as well start ordering the crates of six from Amazon). For me, this is the closest to a legit boozy Prosecco.

Lyre's Italian Spritz (0%)

The holy grail. Bet you never thought you'd see the day, right? Mix a splash of this with some non-alcoholic Prosecco and it's a) deliciously moreish and b) just its boozy counterpart (only a tad sweeter and minus The Fear the next morning). Go, go, go!

Lucky Saint (0.5%)

A dead ringer for real deal, this very low alcohol beer is a multi award-winning choice and I can see why. I've never been much of a beer drinker but this has converted me – it's so great that my boyfriend has even picked a Lucky Saint over a regular lager on a few occasions. A solid ten.

Brooklyn Special Effects Low Alcohol (0.4%)

Hoppy, zesty and refreshing. Apparently named Special Effects as it's so akin to a typical amber lager that the drinker will have to double-check the label. Yum.

Beavertown Brewery Lazer Crush (0.3%)

A fruity IPA that tastes almost as good as a «real» beer. Beavertown were one of the few beer brands I drank before switching to the sober life, so I was excited to try this one and it didn't disappoint. Stock up!

Drynks Unlimited Smashed Lager (0%)

Drynks Unlimited's process of creating this alcohol-free lager is pretty cool: they use a technique called cool vacuum distillation (CVD) which removes the alcohol post-fermentation, leaving the drink with all of the original taste and character, but with 0.0% ABV. I also enjoyed their fruity pale ale too.

Guinness 0.0 (0%)

This has been flying off the shelves since it launched and I can totally see why (as could my dad, who isn't sober but is a lifelong Guinness fan and who said he'd very happily drink it again).

It's pretty akin to the 'real deal', only without the alcohol.

If you're a mindful drinker or just looking to drink less, I've heard of people blending the 0% Guinness with the boozy version and enjoying it, too.

Stowford Press (0.5%)

a lot of alcohol-free options, Stowford's offering is a little on the sweet side (despite containing no artificial sweeteners), but it's still a solid alternative for anybody wanting to keep a clear head.

Kopparberg Alcohol Free Pear Cider (0%)

Reminiscent of it's alcoholic sibling, this will beat any fruity cider cravings you may have in an instant. An excellent choice for picnicking and socially distanced park meet-ups, this one gets a big tick from me.

Friel's (0.5%)

Crispy appley goodness! Not as sickly sweet as some of the options I've tried — Friel's non-alcoholic cider is a slightly sharper Appletiser (which as we all know is God tier when it comes to beverages anyhow). Plus four for £3 isn't half bad, eh?

The best alcohol-free cocktails

NIO (0%)

Alongside their equally delicious and high-quality alcoholic options, NIO (whose drinks all come in handy boxed sachets, making them extra easy to transport) have a super strong non-alcoholic offering too. The drinks are great quality – forget about those overly-sugary-hurts-your-teeth mocktails – and really feel a treat.

Punchy (0%)

Every bit as good as their alcoholic versions, Punchy soft offerings are my favourite when it comes to a good old fashioned tinny (I enjoyed many of them during a summer camping trip when everyone else was on the beers). Plus, the packaging is ace.

Highball (0%)

With such a spot-on array of fun flavours, it's hard to choose a favourite… but if I had to, it'd probably be the Ginger Dram, which is reminiscent of a Moscow Mule cocktail. I'll take five, please.

Savyll (0%)

This is a non-alcoholic drinks brand to keep a close eye on — delicious, grown-up-feeling drinks in fancy packaging. Two thumbs up!


This ginger-concentrate drink truly bites back, in the best possible way. For those wanting something snappy on the tastebuds, I highly recommend GIMBER (which is popping up in pubs all over the place, too). Bonus fact: it can also be used for cooking – I mixed a dash of it with soy sauce and freshly squeezed lime to make a delicious stir fry sauce.

Three Spirit Drinks (0%)

The USP of this brand is that their spirits aren't only meant to fill the gap that quitting alcohol leaves, but to bring back some of the more welcome sensations too.

The Livener drink is perfect for the start of the night (it contains energising guayusa, guava leaf and schisandra), whereas Nightcap includes ingredients that are deliberately designed to relax (plus it smells just hot cross buns).

Everleaf (0%)

This bittersweet spirit isn't really comparable to any traditional liquors – to me, it tastes of cloudy lemonade with an 'adult' edge, or boiled sweets mixed with something-punchy-I-can't-quite-work-out. Extremely quaffable.

Feragaia (0%)

This Scottish-made spirit is possibly most akin to a whisky, because it's designed to be drunk on the rocks and feels ultra grown-up, smells a bit medicinal (in a good way) and feels a bit Mad Men-ish. One to pour after a long day of work, or when you're stressed and feel brooding, minus the hangover.

Maria & Craig's (0%)

While Maria & Craig’s distilled botanical spirit doesn't contain any alcohol, it does have CBD in it — and promises an aromatic nose of juniper and fresh sage with hints of orange blossom. Perfect for when you need a little something at the end of a stressful day.

Follow Jennifer on Instagram and

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at


Is a Non-Alcoholic Beer Okay for Alcoholics?

Should You Drink Low Alcohol Beer or Alcohol Free Beverages?

Non-alcoholic beer is quickly gaining traction today. But what is it and is it really safer to drink than alcohol? Today, there are a number of different brand-name and craft non-alcoholic beers to choose from, creating more options for anyone who drinks alcohol. Studies, however, have shown that this might not be the best option for some people, alcoholics who are in recovery.

Does Non-Alcoholic Beer Contain Alcohol?

Non-alcoholic beer, also sometimes known as near beer is a misleading term. According to labeling regulations, non-alcoholic beer is not required to be alcohol-free and can contain some alcohol. Standard beer varies considerably in alcohol content.

The average real beer contains around 5% alcohol per beer. Low-alcohol beer can contain between 0.5% and 1.2% alcohol, and non-alcoholic beer can actually contain up to 0.5 percent alcohol. There are very few, if any, non-alcoholic beers that are actually free of alcohol.

In fact, some studies have shown that non-alcoholic beers may actually have more alcohol than what’s listed on the label. Even if it does claim to be .5% alcohol, there may actually be quite a bit more alcohol in the non-alcoholic beer.

Most will contain a small amount, which means they’re not a good option for those who need to abstain from alcohol completely.

Is Non-Alcoholic Beer Safe for Pregnancy?

Studies have shown that alcohol can have serious impacts on the growing baby. The exact amount of alcohol that is dangerous to a fetus is unknown. What is known is that either frequent drinking of alcohol, or a single binge, can damage a growing baby. The truth is that there is no known amount of alcohol that is safe or not. A “safe” threshold has never been determined.

Most women will, therefore, abstain from alcohol completely when they find out they’re pregnant. However, with non-alcoholic beer, a lot of women may wonder if this is a safer option that enables them to enjoy a beer occasionally while they’re pregnant without the worry that a typical beer might cause.

Since non-alcoholic beers can contain some alcohol, and sometimes more than is stated on the label, it’s best for anyone who is pregnant to avoid drinking non-alcoholic beer as well as regular beer. There is no known safe amount of alcohol, so those who want to stick with the rules will want to make sure they don’t drink anything that could contain alcohol.

A pregnant woman who is worried about not being able to drink should let their obstetrician know as soon as possible.

Can I drink NA beer after I give birth?

As much as you may really want a beer now that your pregnancy is over, the answer is still “probably not.” After the baby is born, it’s still not a good idea to drink any beer if the woman is breastfeeding.

The amount of alcohol that is found in the bloodstream after drinking is the same amount that will be found in the breast milk.

Long-term effects of this are still unknown, but even non-alcoholic beers can contain some alcohol and thus should be avoided while the mother is breastfeeding.

Are there Risks of Drinking Non-Alcoholic Beer?

There are risks associated with drinking alcohol, but are they lowered with a reduced alcohol intake? In some cases, they can be. Some studies have shown that non-alcoholic beer can help reduce the amount of time it takes for someone to fall asleep or help with anxiety.

Non-alcoholic beer, nevertheless, can still contribute to liver damage. It’s still not a safe option for those who are worried about liver-related medical conditions or who already suffering from medical issues with their liver. It is also dangerous to those suffering from pancreatitis.

Since most alcohol is processed through the liver, even the small amount of alcohol in non-alcoholic beers can cause further damage for those who are already suffering from issues with their liver. This includes cirrhosis of the liver and a condition known as a fatty liver.

Those who already have either of these conditions, other liver conditions, or who are at risk of developing these conditions will want to refrain from all alcohol, which includes non-alcoholic beers.

Is Drinking Non-Alcoholic Beer Safe for Alcoholics?

Once in a rare while, someone will tout non-alcoholic beer as an excellent alternative for recovering alcoholics, but this really is not the case. The claim is that the person can still enjoy a beer now and again, without worrying about actually drinking a lot of alcohol.

They won’t be able to get drunk, will not be at risk of driving drunk, and will significantly reduce the amount of alcohol they drink, which could help prevent medical issues they might be at risk for.

The problem with this claim is that even non-alcoholic beer can trigger cravings, resulting in a relapse for many alcoholics. Triggers can occur because of the smell of the beer, the act of opening a bottle or a can, the taste of the beer, or just the idea that they’re able to have a beer.

These feelings remind them of when they used to drink and, without realizing it, they can easily switch back to drinking a standard beer and relapsing into their alcoholism.

People in recovery

Sobriety is difficult and many people have already lived for years trying to bend as many rules as possible so they can continue to drink or use drugs. If they have a non-alcoholic beer, it’s just one more rule they’ve bent to be able to continue abusing alcohol.

Though they might not be at risk for driving under the influence, they’re not going to get drunk from the non-alcoholic beer, and they are significantly decreasing the amount of alcohol they’re drinking, the fact is, they’re still drinking alcohol. This can absolutely trigger a relapse into alcoholism or drug addiction.

Another issue is that the amount of alcohol in the non-alcoholic beer might actually be more than they expect. This means they might end up drinking more than they thought they would. Even one or two drinks at night, while it won’t cause them to be drunk, can be trigger cravings and a subsequent relapse.

Those who want to make sure they recover from their addiction will want to make sure they avoid any alcohol at all. This means they’ll want to stay away from non-alcoholic beers. Though non-alcoholic beers are quickly becoming more popular, they’re not the best option for everyone.

In fact, those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, dealing with liver ailments, or who are recovering from a substance abuse addiction should avoid non-alcoholic beers just they avoid standard beers.

These beers, though they’re called non-alcoholic, do contain some alcohol, which means they’re not an option for anyone who wants or needs to completely stop drinking alcoholic beverages. Contact us to learn more! References:


Everything You Need to Know About Nonalcoholic Beer

Should You Drink Low Alcohol Beer or Alcohol Free Beverages?

You might have noticed more people taking a pass on alcohol lately. In February 2021, a report by the beverage analysis firm IWSR predicted that the market for no- and low-alcohol drinks would increase 31 percent globally by 2024.

“The last few years have seen the rise of the ‘sober curious’ movement,” says Kerry Benson, RD, a coauthor of the book Mocktail Party: 75 Plant-Based Non-Alcoholic Recipes for Every Occasion. Increasingly, people are discovering the physical and mental benefits of an alcohol-free lifestyle.

With this trend has come a new generation of nonalcoholic beers. Modeled after flavorful craft beers, these new brews have little in common with nonalcoholic beers of yesteryear, which often had an off, cooked flavor.

Not only do they taste better, many of the newer buzz-free brews are made with health and wellness in mind.

Some companies, such as WellBeing Brewing Company and Athletic Brewing Company, evoke a healthy lifestyle with their brand names.

“Nonalcoholic beers are a great way for individuals to reduce their intake of alcohol while still being able to enjoy the taste and experience of a beer.

By removing the alcohol, you’re taking out a compound that is toxic and that increases the risk of chronic disease,” says Benson.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), alcohol is “a toxic and psychoactive substance” that “contributes to 3 million deaths each year globally and is responsible for more than 5 percent of the global burden of disease.

Whether you’re just cutting back, pregnant, or in recovery from addiction, there are many reasons to consider these new options. But before you pick up a six-pack, here’s what you should know about nonalcoholic beers and your health.

RELATED: 15 Celebrities Who Don’t Drink Alcohol

What Is Nonalcoholic Beer?

Nonalcoholic beers are simply beers that have either had the alcohol removed or have been brewed to contain less alcohol than the legal limit. By law, beverages can claim to be nonalcoholic as long as they don’t exceed the limit of 0.5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Before you freak out, be aware there are trace amounts of alcohol in many everyday foods and beverages. It’s a natural product of fermentation.

A study published in August of 2016 in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology found measurable alcohol in bananas, apple juice, and bread. A nonalcoholic beer (or even several of them) is not going to get you buzzed.

But it can take the place of boozy beers, giving you an option for when you want beer without the hangover.

How Is Nonalcoholic Beer Made?

Beer is made by fermenting grains, which means that microorganisms, usually yeast, break down the sugar in grains to alcohol and other by-products.

Some old-fashioned brands make nonalcoholic beer by preventing fermentation, which also happens to prevent flavor development. Others brands cook the beer post-fermentation to burn off the alcohol. Unfortunately, neither of these legacy methods produces great-tasting beers.

To compensate, manufacturers sometimes add sugar or high fructose corn syrup, which leads to a cloyingly sweet beer.

Brewers on the leading edge of nonalcoholic craft beer use high-tech, top-secret methods to produce beer that tastes more traditional craft beer without adding sweeteners. The flavor is fresher, bolder, and often indistinguishable from the alcohol-containing craft beers that inspired them.

“I love nonalcoholic beers, especially Rightside Brewing Atlanta. They have a citrus wheat and American IPA and both are very good,” says Benson. She also recommends nonalcoholic beers from Athletic Brewing Company, Ceria Brewing, Partake, and Dogfish Head. They're delicious, and they also have fewer calories than regular beer.

RELATED: Mocktail Recipes So Good, You Won’t Believe They’re Booze-Free

How Does Nonalcoholic Beer Compare to Regular Beer?

Taking the alcohol beer does make it healthier, but that doesn’t mean you should drink it to excess. Most nonalcoholic beers offer very little nutritional value, and are mostly carbohydrates (usually on par with regular beer).

Their lack of alcohol does mean they tend to be lower in calories, though: Athletic Brewing’s popular Upside Dawn beer, for example, has only 50 calories and 12 grams of carbs per 12-ounce can. A can of Budweiser, by comparison, has 145 calories and 10.6 grams of carbs.

(Bud Light: 110 calories and 6.6 grams carbs.)

“What is great about nonalcoholic beers relative to alcoholic beer is that you'll often find a Nutrition Facts panel and an ingredient list, which you can review to decide whether that particular drink aligns with your personal goals,” says Benson. “For example, a handful of nonalcoholic beers do contain added sugar, which should be consumed mindfully. Alcoholic drinks don’t typically list this information, so we’re somewhat in the dark about what we are drinking.”

Is Nonalcoholic Beer Healthy?

Beyond looking at the number of calories, grams of carbohydrates, and whether there’s added sugar, you should find a nonalcoholic beer you actually , says Benson.

“That will help decrease your alcohol use long term.” And cutting alcohol use is definitely good for your health.

A study published in the journal The Lancet in August 2018 concluded, “Our results show that the safest level of drinking is none.”

Over the years, other studies have suggested that moderate alcohol consumption may be beneficial for health, Benson points out.

“However, a growing body of evidence suggests that even light to moderate drinking may have negative health effects, particularly in the context of cancer.

Organizations including the American Cancer Society and the American Institute for Cancer Research state that for cancer prevention, it is best to not drink alcohol,” she says.

In addition to avoiding alcohol, there may be other benefits associated with nonalcoholic beer. Some Olympic athletes have embraced it as a sports drink, according to NPR.

A randomized controlled trial published in the journal Nutrients in June 2016 found that nonalcoholic beer may be an effective recovery beverage after exercise. Some small studies indicate that nonalcoholic beer may reduce inflammation and even common colds.

Those studies are encouraging, according to Benson, “but I don't think that enough evidence exists to draw conclusions at this time.”

RELATED: Alcohol-Free Ways to Unwind at the End of a Long Day

Does Nonalcoholic Beer Have Any Health Risks?

It’s important to remember that nonalcoholic beers do contain some alcohol. And that 0.0 percent to 0.5 percent ABV number you see on the label is no iron-clad guarantee.

There have been issues in the past with nonalcoholic beers found to exceed the legal limit of 0.5 percent ABV.

One study found that 30 percent of the nonalcoholic beers tested had more alcohol by volume than was indicated on their label, and six of the beers tested contained up to 1.8 percent alcohol by volume.

“There are some people who should be mindful that these products do contain small amounts of alcohol. There’s some debate over whether people who are pregnant should include these beverages,” says Benson.

Others who may want to proceed with caution include anyone navigating a substance use disorder. The look, aroma, and flavor of nonalcoholic beers can trigger cravings for alcohol for some people in addiction recovery.

“Whether or not to enjoy nonalcoholic beers really depends on the individual’s comfort level,” says Benson. “Everybody is different. For some people, these beverages can help support their recovery journey.

Others find it triggering. For many, it changes over time and what may be triggering early on in sobriety is helpful later.” Knowing yourself is key to knowing whether nonalcoholic beers are a good choice for you.

RELATED: Drinking Less Improves Well-Being Even in Moderate Drinkers, Study Finds

The Bottom Line on Nonalcoholic Beer

Whenever nonalcoholic beers replace regular beers, it’s a win for your health. It’s important to remember, however, that though these alternative beverages are typically lower in calories, they’re still not calorie- or carb-free. And, as with anything you eat or drink, it’s a good idea to scan the labels, avoid options with added sugar, and enjoy them in moderation.

Benson thinks that nonalcoholic beers are an especially good swap in fitness settings, where alcohol has become omnipresent in recent years. “If you think you are rehydrating with a regular beer after a 5K race, think again,” she says. “You’d be much better off with a nonalcoholic beer.”


Добавить комментарий

;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :arrow: :???: :?: :!: