Posted on November 25, 2020 by Kate Halsall
Tis the season to be jolly and due to an initial lockdown splurge, a number of people are telling me that they are opting for more of the alcohol-free variety of drinks this year. But are alcohol-free drinks really healthier for you – other than the fact that you don’t get drunk, don’t have a hangover and then don’t get the drinking/drunk/hungover munchies (don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about!)?
Over the years we have written many blogs with regards to how alcohol effects your weight , how to detox from alcohol, and even how to get a six pack by cutting out alcohol – so this particular topic is a new approach for sure! And whilst we want to say the answer surely must be “yes”, there’s got to be a “no” in there somewhere – right?!
It’s fair to say that alcohol-free beverages have less calories (and less carbs) than their counterparts. If we take Brewdog’s Punk IPA as an example. Their 300ml alcoholic beer contains 158 calories, where as their Punk AF is only 50. If it’s white wine you prefer, Hardy’s Alcohol Free Chardonnay is only 26 calories per 125ml glass, whilst their alcoholic varieties contain between 90-95 calories. And then we get to spirits. Must of you will already know that spirits tend to contain less calories, so it’s the mixer that is often what tips the balance. Seedlip’s alcohol-free distilled spirit has around 2.5 calories per serving (25ml); compared to 54 calories in a single serving of gin.
I honestly thought when I started looking into this, that I would find all kinds of chemicals and added ingredients in the alcohol free drinks. Here was where the big fat NO was going to come in. I even googled “the hidden ingredients in non-alcoholic drinks”. The truth is, there is some additional sugar in things like wine; but the most interesting find is that lactose (milk) is generally added to beers. This is really only important if you have a milk allergy or are vegan. I have not been able to find anything else surprising!
I’m not about to say start drinking beer to hit your protein targets; but alcoholic beer DOES contain protein. Perhaps scarily, as with so many other products there are now, “high protein” beers are on the market – maybe that’s a different blog topic entirely. In truth however, your average craft beer contains around 2g of protein, so it’s not going to get any immediate gains! Your alcohol free beer on the other hand contains a lot less (if any).
And so there you have it. Is alcohol-free healthier – of course it is! But look, to some, the alcohol-free drinks will never taste the same as the ones containing alcohol and let’s face it, some people just want a drink from time to time! The great thing about alcohol-free is that it’s a great way to cut down on how much alcohol you drink and as we’ve shown will help to reduce your calorie, sugar and carb intake. It also generally costs the same so there’s no excuse there! Just remember to check the ingredients before consuming incase your previously vegan tipple is no longer vegan! And no matter what, enjoy responsibly!