We all know that drinking beer is a guilty pleasure. However much we might like it, beer just isn’t good for us. And, of course, the biggest problem with drinking beer is consuming alcohol.
As the Lancet explains:
No level of alcohol consumption is safe when it comes to human health.The Lancet Rheumatology
Several areas of the body are damaged by alcohol, including the brain, heart, liver and pancreas.
When it comes to the liver, alcohol kills cells and can prevent the liver from repairing itself.
Each time your liver filters alcohol, some of the liver cells die.
The liver can develop new cells, but prolonged alcohol misuse (drinking too much) over many years can reduce its ability to regenerate. This can result in serious and permanent damage to your liver.NHS Inform
So, is non-alcoholic beer the answer?
If you want to enjoy beer, but you’re worried about the harmful effects of alcohol on your liver, choosing non-alcoholic beer could be the solution you’re looking for.
Does Non-Alcoholic Beer Harm Your Liver?
Even though it may contain a small amount of alcohol, non-alcoholic beer is not bad for your liver.
A 2020 study, published in the World Journal of Hepatology, found that:
Non-alcoholic beer, diet and exercise seems to be safe and well tolerated in patients with cirrhosis, and shows improvement in nutritional status, endothelial function, and quality of life. These results need to be further confirmed.World Journal of Hepatology
If you have a reasonably healthy liver then non-alcoholic beer certainly won’t do your liver any harm.
If you drink non-alcoholic beer in ‘normal’ amounts – even one or two non-alcoholic beers every day – your liver will easily be able to filter the small amount of alcohol without damage.
The current scientific evidence suggests that non-alcoholic beer could only possibly harm your liver if you already suffer from a very unhealthy liver and you drink 0.5% ABV beer in extreme quantities. This is just one of several reasons why non-alcoholic beer is not recommended for alcoholics.
Not convinced? Here’s a surprising fact that might change your mind!
If you think drinking lots of non-alcoholic beer without causing any liver damage sounds too good to be true then consider this…
You wouldn’t think that orange juice or apple juice are bad for your liver, would you?
Well, did you know that fruit juices can actually contain up to 0.7% alcohol?
That’s more than non-alcoholic beer, which must contain less than 0.5% alcohol.
So, drinking non-alcoholic beer is usually no worse for your liver than drinking a glass of orange juice!
The Bottom Line
For healthy people, the low levels of alcohol in non-alcoholic beer will not cause liver damage.
However, if you have an existing liver condition then you should be more cautious.
While recent studies like this one have found that non-alcoholic beer is “well tolerated in patients with cirrhosis”, further research is needed and your own circumstances may vary.
If in doubt, always consult a doctor to get a professional opinion on whether drinking non-alcoholic beer is safe for you.
In the vast majority of cases though, non-alcoholic beer is not bad for your liver. It contains about the same amount of alcohol as a glass of orange juice. Sometimes even less. This tiny percentage alcohol is not enough to cause liver damage.