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 no and low alcoholic drinks market will have grown by 31% (IWSR). In September 2023, the Government also announced in a press release that they are encouraging more people to purchase alcohol-free drinks to support those looking to live healthier lives.
But just how healthy are these no and low alcoholic drinks? In this blog we take a look at what is legally considered as low alcohol and no alcohol, the nutritional values in these drinks and how they can either benefit or damage your health. You will also be able to find out about our own selection of no and low drinks.
As the name suggests, no & low alcohol 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.
According to Government guidance, 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!
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’.
There are two stand-out health benefits to choosing no & low Alcohol drinks – consuming less alcohol and improved mental health. Let’s take a look below at what that could mean for you.
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 no and low alcohol 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?’
We all love a night out but dread the hangover that awaits us the next day. Hangovers leave us feeling sick and tired, but worse of all, they can severely increase anxiety. There truly is nothing worse than waking up the next morning and not remembering who you spoke to or what you said. With less alcohol, the chance of blacking out and waking up with anxiety when you drink no and low beverages is far less. No and low drinks can help you reduce or eliminate the hangover symptoms altogether, boosting your mood and energy, and allowing you more time to do things that you enjoy and that further your wellbeing.
No and low alcoholic drinks are certainly not bad for you. However, if you are thinking of switching to these drinks solely for health or weight-loss purposes, you might want to think again. Just because some drinks are low in alcohol doesn’t always mean they are healthier in terms of nutritional values. A lot of drinks with no or less alcohol are packed with nasty additives to help make them taste better. When you think you are drinking ‘healthier’ drinks, it’s much easier to sink two or three bottles, making it easier to reach the recommended 30g daily sugar limit too.
With so many nasty additives in these drinks, naturally, the sugar content is higher. Let’s look at alcohol brand McGuigan, for example. McGuigan recently launched a trio of mid-strength wine (7% ABV) to “support consumers who are embracing a healthier lifestyle”, yet a bottle still has almost 16g of sugar. For comparison, our own brand of wine Traces has 11% ABV and 0g of sugar.
Just like full-strength beer, non-alcoholic beer should still be enjoyed in moderation. But if your main goal is fat-loss, then you probably won’t want to drink non-alcoholic beer every day. When it comes to weight gain, sugar is the main culprit. We found that the sugar content in many low and non-alcoholic beers is much higher than their alcoholic counterparts. For example, Heineken’s low/non-alcoholic bottles have 1.3g of sugar, while their full-strength bottle has 0. Similarly, Brew Dog’s low/non-alcoholic Punk IPA has almost 2g of sugar, compared to their full-strength Punk IPA which only has 0.1g.
We have a very limited selection of no and low alcoholic drinks available at DrinkWell. We believe that alcohol can still be enjoyed guilt-free without your health being compromised. Most of the alcohol we stock on our website is full-strength ABV but low in sugar and calories, however we do have one type of alcohol-free beer, Lowlander Wit, and one type of alcohol-free gin inspired spirit, Salcombe New London Light. We have recently created our Lower in Alcohol collection which includes wines below 11% ABV and beers below 3.4% ABV; a lower ABV in comparison to other drinks we stock.
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.
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?
With 9% ABV, Sunny With a Chance of Flowers has a higher ABV than what is legally considered low alcohol but does have a lower ABV than some of our other Sauvignon Blancs like Tierra de Estrellas with 13% ABV. This Californian dry white wine is light and refreshing and oozes rich fruity flavours such as ripe guava and crushed pineapple. We are proud to be the UK’s exclusive dispatcher for this brand’s range of delicious wine. Sunny With a Chance of Flowers also make an 9% ABV Pinot Nior and Chardonnay. All of the bottles are available on DrinkWell at £14.99 a bottle.
You might recognise this one from the TV show ‘Dragons Den’! Gen!us Craft Lager is brewed in Scotland with the finest pilsner malt and 5 hop varieties. With 3% ABV, 1 can of Gen!us is exactly 1 unit of alcohol. Each can has only 89 calories and 7.3g of carbohydrates too. The great thing about drinking cans is that you have better control of your intake. You can order cans of Gen!us in packs of 12 or 24 from DrinkWell.
The perfect picnic addition, Skinny Tinny is a 250ml can of bubbly white wine with just 8.5% ABV and is equal to 2 glasses of wine per can. The Skinny Tinny is made in South Africa on a family owned winery in the Wester Cape and is made with 100% Colombard, a French white grape variety and the offspring of Chenin Blanc and Gouais Blanc. The Colombard grape is what gives Skinny Tinny its fresh citrus notes. The canned wine is also available in Rosé which also has 8.5% ABV. Both the white and rosé have only 61 calories per can and are suitable for anyone who follows a vegan or gluten-free diet.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?’