Alcohol-free beverages are on the rise, but are they "good for you"?
Booze free booze is filling shelves and liquor cabinets around the country with the introduction of so many alternatives. It’s time to discover why. Along with other low alcohol drinks, non-alcoholic beer is growing rapidly in popularity as the rate of Australians drinking in excess has been in a steady decline since 2010. Low alcohol or alcohol-free alternatives are a great way to help cut down on your alcohol consumption but are now being marketed as a “healthier alternative.” Is that a fact? Let's find out.
Regular consumption of alcohol is linked to numerous types of cancer for example breast, bowel and liver. On top of that it also increases your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and mental health issues. All risks that should be taken seriously.
A couple of the general benefits of alcohol-free alternatives are improved sleep, better hydration, lack of a hangover (which often results in poor sleep and increased calorie intake). Additionally, these beverages are suitable for everyone (pregnant women and drivers).
Firstly, it is important to note that not all are created equal. Whilst some alternatives are alcohol-free they still contain all of the other sugars, additives and preservatives, the main difference is that it has been cooked for longer to evaporate any alcohol whilst still maintaining that hoppy taste.
This is arguably the biggest alcohol-free market right now. The main benefits include fewer calories, decreased risk of cardiovascular health and being pregnancy safe. From a caloric perspective, a standard beer with 4.8% alcohol on average contains 126 calories, whereas a non-alcoholic option contains 88 calories. Not only that but non-alcoholic beer often has fewer calories than regular soft drinks.
Non-alcohol gin is in many cases created by soaking botanicals in water to create that “ginny” flavour then they are distilled and blended. Many brands are sugar and alcohol-free meaning that they are in actual fact a far healthier alternative. It is important to consciously pair your alcohol-free spirit with a healthy mixer as mocktails can unravel an intentional “healthy” decision with all of their sweet, sugary ingredients. A great healthy mixer is soda water with a generous squeeze of lemon and a sprig of rosemary. It is a delicious, thirst quenching drink.
The non-alcoholic wine industry is booming, growing at a rate of 7% each year. The main difference between alcoholic and alcohol-free wines is that alcohol-free wines contain half the number of calories. Red wine is known for its antioxidant and heart boosting properties, but if you remove alcohol do you remove the benefits? According to Clinical Nutrition, it’s the grapes that have the health benefits so you still get the health benefits without the alcohol.
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