Across the world, our eating and drinking habits are changing. As we become an increasingly health-conscious society, more and more people are looking for ways to look after their bodies. One way people are looking to live a healthier lifestyle is by reducing their alcohol consumption. As a result of this trend, it is predicted that by 2024 the low & alcohol-free drinks market will have grown by 31% (IWSR).
Are no and low alcoholic drinks bad for you? No, not when drunk in moderation. When compared to full-alcohol drinks, they can be enjoyed as a healthier alternative which won’t dehydrate and may allow you to sleep better. By consuming less alcohol with these alternatives, you’ll also reduce your risk of liver disease, cancer, and mental health problems, to name a few.
Low alcohol and alcohol-free drinks are no longer just for pregnant women, dedicated drivers, and the teetotal - they are a growing trend that is helping people achieve their health goals, no matter what their motivation is. In fact, as of 2016, it was recorded that 1 in 5 people in the UK (over 10 million people) said they were tee-total. Read on to find out more about the benefits of low-alcohol drinks, where to find them, as well as your questions answered.
So, What Are No & Low Alcoholic Drinks?
As the name suggests, No & Low drinks are those that either have significantly reduced alcohol percentages or no alcohol at all. ‘Low-alcohol’ drinks have an ABV of between 0.05 and 1.2%, whereas ‘reduced alcohol’ drinks have an alcohol content lower than the average strength of that particular type of drink.
There are three categorisations that apply to low and alcohol-free drinks produced in the UK:
No more than 0.05%
No more than 0.5%
No more than 1.2%
In response to the increased demand for No & Low alcohol options, it is now possible to get a No & Low version of pretty much every type of alcoholic drink, including beer, wine, and even spirits like gin! Many popular brands and brewers have started offering Low & No versions of their staple drinks, and new brands dedicated exclusively to No & Low have emerged, such as Nocktail, which we are proud stockists of here at DrinkWell.
For more information on where to find the best Low & No alcohol options from DrinkWell and other retailers, read one of our recent articles - ‘Low Calorie Alcohol and What It Means’.
Are No & Low Alcoholic Drinks Bad for You?
Drinks with low alcohol content are not damaging to your health when enjoyed in moderation. This is particularly true when compared to their alcoholic counterparts; opting for the No or Low version of a drink will always be less damaging to your health than choosing the full-ABV version. You don’t need us to tell you that alcohol in itself can have serious health consequences, so reducing the amount you consume can only be a good thing.
Which Non-Alcoholic Drink Has the Most Calories?
Additionally, low and alcohol-free drinks tend to be lower in calories and sugar, so they are certainly not worse for the waistline than their alcoholic equivalents. That being said, their effect depends largely on the type of drink, the brand, and how it's been made - low alcohol doesn't always mean lower calories! For example, many ‘mocktails’ still contain large amounts of sugar and calories due to the mixers used in their formulation. Low-alcohol gin, on the other hand, is naturally lower in sugar and calories.
You should always be careful when mixing low and alcohol-free drinks with standard alcoholic drinks on a night out, as even though they are lower in alcohol, consuming a large number of low-alcohol drinks alongside standard drinks could easily push you well over the safe alcohol consumption limit.
Is It Okay To Drink Non-Alcoholic Beer Every Day?
Although non-alcoholic beer is a healthier alternative to alcohol, like many other non-alcoholic drinks they should be enjoyed in moderation. If you usually drink a glass of wine or have one beer every day, you could drink one non-alcoholic beer instead and it would be considered healthier.
Similarly, be careful to not fall into the trap of drinking bucket loads of drinks with a low alcohol content simply because you are using them to replace soft drinks rather than to replace alcoholic drinks. Due to the lower alcoholic strength, it can be easy to drink too many No & Low alcoholic drinks at once, leading to the same negative side effects as drinking a couple of standard alcoholic drinks.
Are No & Low Alcohol Drinks Healthier?
There are two stand-out health benefits to choosing No & Low Alcohol drinks - consuming less alcohol and intaking fewer calories. Let's take a look below at what that could mean for you.
Consuming Fewer Units Of Alcohol
Obviously, the biggest and most undeniable health benefit of opting for a Low-Alcohol or No-Alcohol drink is that you will be consuming less units of alcohol. Here at DrinkWell, we appreciate an alcoholic drink as much as anyone. But as we all know, when consumed in excessive amounts, alcohol can have serious health implications, such as liver disease, cancer, mental health problems, and heart disease. To keep health risks from alcohol at a minimum, The Chief Medical Officer’s Low Risk Drinking Guidelines recommend not to drink more than 14 units per week on a regular basis.
Opting for Low & No drinks will be particularly beneficial if you are a heavy drinker who regularly consumes more alcohol than the recommended limit. By swapping your after-work glass (or glasses!) of wine for a Low & No alcohol version, you can dramatically reduce the number of alcohol units you are consuming each week, reducing your risk of long-term harm and health problems.
One question we often get asked is if non-alcoholic drinks are lower in calories when compared to their full-alcohol counterparts. If you’d like to learn more, explore one of our recent articles - ‘Is Non-Alcoholic Beer Lower in Calories?’
Better Mental Health
The hangover that follows a night of heavy drinking often leads to tiredness, low mood, low energy, and anxiety. Low & No drinks can help you reduce or eliminate these symptoms altogether, boosting your mood and energy, and allowing you more time to do things that you enjoy and that further your wellbeing.
It may feel like a good glass of wine helps you fall asleep, but alcohol has a negative impact on your body’s ability to go into deep, restorative sleep. This means you will likely wake up feeling tired if you habitually drink in the evenings.
Switching your night-cap to a low-alcohol or alcohol-free version of your favourite drink, could help improve the quality of your sleep, which in turn will have a positive effect on your energy levels, concentration, memory, and overall health.
Although it may be counterintuitive, drinking lots of alcohol does not hydrate you. In fact, it does the opposite, its diuretic effect makes you eliminate water and sodium at a higher rate, leaving your body dehydrated. Being dehydrated will make your skin look dull and dry, it is also a trigger for rosacea, a condition that leads to redness and flushing. Switching to drinks with low alcohol content, and being mindful to consume plenty of water along with your drinks on a night out, can help mitigate the dehydrating effects of alcohol.
No & Low Alcoholic Drinks Available at Drinkwell
At DrinkWell, we are so excited to welcome a brand new range of No & Low alcohol drinks to our collection. Our expert taste testers have sampled hundreds of low-alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks to bring you healthier options that are almost too good to be true. DrinkWell aims to support you in making better choices, without sacrificing taste or quality. Below is a small selection of some of the No & Low alcoholic drinks we offer.
Keepr’s G&T flavoured ultra-low alcohol drink allows you to go easier on the alcohol without sacrificing an ounce of flavour. At just 52 calories per 25ml and only 12g of sugar, this easy drink allows for a healthier alternative to a real G&T. This is a premixed drink, so simply refrigerate and enjoy hassle-free whenever you fancy it! Notes of coriander and cardamom add a hint of spice, while natural quinine delivers the distinct flavour of classic gin & tonic. Grab a case from the DrinkWell website for just £33.
An excellent choice if you’re looking for a lower-alcohol spirit for your Friday night G&T. The Salcombe NLL is a gin-inspired spirit with refreshing notes of juniper, cardamom, ginger, habanero capsicum, orange, sage, cascarilla bark and lemongrass. Not only do these taste ingredients taste delicious when paired with a skinny mixer, but they’re also packed with active compounds that benefit your brain. To make this product even better, 25ml contains 0.3 calories - yes, you heard that right! Pick up a bottle on our website for £27.50.
A perfect way to celebrate when you are cutting down on alcohol, this pink fizz is alcohol-free, low calorie, vegan & 100% organic - that in itself gives you reason to celebrate! This wine originates from the San Sadurní d’Anoia region in Spain, using the Garnacha grape. With notes of strawberries and cream, raspberry sorbet, cherry blossom, and tropical fruits, Vilarnau’s sparkling non-alcoholic rose wine is a sophisticated guilt-free sweet treat. And when we say guilt-free, we really mean it - a 125ml glass of this sparkling wine contains just 28 calories! There really is no reason to say no to this wine - why not pick up a bottle from the DrinkWell website for just £7.99!
With Champions, there is no need to sacrifice flavour for a healthier option. Carefully developed with the sweet-toothed cider fan in mind, Champions delivers a full, refreshing flavour that is a welcome reprieve on a hot summer day. Champions was created by former rugby players who love cider but don’t love the high calories and high sugar content found in most ciders. It was this conundrum that led them to develop Champions, a delicious low-alcohol cider with only 50 calories per bottle and no added sugar. In addition, this 0.5% ABV cider is gluten-free & suitable for vegans. You can order a case of 12x500ml bottles for £24 from the Drink Well website.
If you are looking to go completely alcohol-free, the dutch Lowlander Wit is the beer for you. Lowlander Wit is a true alcohol-free beer with a refreshing witbier taste and crisp citrus undertones. We love how the citrus notes have been created in Lowlander Wit. Lowlander collaborated with Peel Pioneers who collect used orange and lemon peels from Dutch bars and restaurants and repurpose them for use in multiple industries, including for use in this tasty beer! What’s more, it has only 92 calories and is vegan friendly. You can purchase a case of 12 bottles from the Drink Well website for £23.99. Why not try the Lowlander Wit 0.00% today, or browse the Drinkwell collection to find the perfect No or Low drink for you?
Looking For More Gluten-Free Related Content?
If you're on a gluten-free diet and are also partial to a drop of wine, we’ve recently written an in-depth article on wine, and we explore whether or not wine is, in fact, gluten-free.
Low & No Alcohol FAQs
Is Non-Alcoholic Beer Fermented?
Regular and non-alcoholic beer essentially go through the same brewing processes to get those delicious malty flavours that we all know and love. The difference is that non-alcoholic beers go through one last step which removes some or most of the alcohol present. The beer is then canned and packed as normal before being delivered to you!
Is 0.5% Non-Alcoholic?
Not quite. A drink with an ABV (alcohol by volume) % of 0.5 is actually classed as de-alcoholised, with any more being classed as low-alcohol. Whilst this won’t quite get you drunk, de-alcoholised and low-alcohol drinks should be consumed in moderation, and not in excess especially if you intend to drive yourself home.
Is Non-Alcoholic Beer Actually Non-Alcoholic?
Non-alcoholic beer (i.e. a beer with an ABV of less than 0.05%) does actually contain a small amount of alcohol. This is due to the naturally occurring alcohol that forms during the fermenting and brewing process.
Is Non-Alcoholic Wine Okay During Pregnancy?
Full alcohol drinks should be avoided during pregnancy as this could cause harm to your unborn baby. Low and alcohol-free drinks, i.e. those 0.5% and under, can be consumed as a suitable alternative during pregnancy. Please note that these should only replace your evening glass of wine and not the soft drinks you’d consume beforehand!
If you’re keen to learn more about alcohol consumption during pregnancy, why not read one of our recent articles - ‘Can You Consume No & Low Alcohol Drinks When Pregnant?’Browse Our No & Low Alcohol Range