The drinks are on you or are they? Would you be healthier with alcohol-free booze?

The beer and wine you have when you're not drinking booze. The breathalyser-free 'booze'. The G&T without the G.

Today's review is about zero alcohol wines and whether you are wiser to choose these over traditional wines and other alcohol. Alcohol-free booze has come a long way since I first posted a review here in 2018.

There are many more to choose from with more than 100 'wines' in zero alcohol section of bottle shops.

The technology for creating the de-alcoholised and alcohol-removed wines has improved. Techniques such as reverse osmosis mean that the drinks start as genuine alcohol containing wines but only the alcohol is removed. The flavour notes of the original wine remain.

Winemakers were quick to tell me that not all zero alcohol drinks start off as genuine wines and this is reflected in their flavour notes but flavour is not the focus of this review. The ultimate test is your palate. It will be your tastebuds that decide which zero 'wine' suits your palate, just as it is for traditional wine.

Leaving taste aside because that is very personal, is there an advantage to your health and body when you switch to non-alcoholic wine?

Answer yes or no to the following questions to find out what my professional opinion is. It depends on how much you drink, how often you drink, what health concerns or goals you have, and whether you are male or female.

  • Is weight loss and preventing weight gain important to you?*
  • Do you have a fatty liver or other liver disease?*
  • Do you drink more than 10 standard drinks (from any alcohol source) a week? Look at the bottle or can to find how many standard drinks it contains and work out how many you drink.
  • When you drink, do you drink more than 4 standard drinks in 24 hrs?
  • Are you unsteady on your feet without a few drinks under your belt?
  • Are you planning to drive after drinking?
  • Is pregnancy a possibility or are you pregnant or breastfeeding?
  • Do you take medications that interact with alcohol?
  • Do you have high blood pressure or take medications to control your blood pressure?
  • Do you experience reflux?
  • Are you under 18 years of age?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, a switch to an alcohol-free wine is wise.

If you answered no to everything, you are someone who never or rarely drinks alcohol and, when you do drink, you drink very little. Switching to an alcohol-free wine may not be a high priority for your health and body.

If you've given up alcohol because of a history of dependency, be cautious. The flavour of de-alcoholised and alcohol-removed drinks and the situation of drinking them might trigger a relapse back to regular alcohol containing drinks.

*Pure alcohol contains almost as many kilojoules (cals) as pure fat. Excess kilojoules will stall weight loss goals or cause weight gain. Although non-alcoholic wines are not kilojoule free, the majority contain fewer kilojoules and calories than traditional wines, soft drinks, cordial and grape juice. A good choice of alcohol-free wine contains less than 80 kJ per 100 ml. Check out the table to see which are lowest in calories and kilojoules.

*The natural sugar in non-alcoholic wines is likely to be fructose which, in excess, is not good for those with a fatty liver (NASH) and for people who are fructose intolerant (e.g. experience excess bloating, flatulence, or loose bowel motions and diarrhoea). Check the label or with the manufacturer to find out more about the carbohydrate content of the drink you enjoy. My review indicates that non-alcoholic wines contain anywhere between 1.3 and 14 g of carbohydrate. Traditional red or white wine contains about 1 g carbohydrate. Grape juice contains 14 g carbohydrate. The lower the carbohydrate, the better if you have a history of fatty liver.

You might find these linked articles of interest:

Wine Review: Alcohol-free | Zero Alcohol | De-alcoholised | Alcohol Removed Wines

26 Easy Tips to Reduce Social Drinking 

And just so you know ...

I have no connection with companies that would benefit from this article and associated review. I have not received funding or product samples from beverage companies (alcohol, de-alcoholised, zero alcohol, alcohol-free, soft drink, juice or water). This review and interpretation is impartial based on research and data collection by Trudy Williams, dietitian and nutritionist. The information here is of a general nature. As always, I recommend you speak with your own health professionals about which approach is best for you.
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