There is no doubt that alcohol-free beer is healthier than traditional beers, even though it still contains trace amounts of alcohol. When you drink non-alcoholic beer, you avoid the risks commonly associated with alcohol.
But apart from the reduced alcohol consumption, are alcoholic beers actually healthy?
What Are the Health Benefits of Drinking Non-alcoholic Beer?
Non-alcoholic beers contain fewer calories and have a variety of minerals and nutrients.
They also help with hydration, and when consumed responsibly, they can form part of a healthy lifestyle.
It contains fewer calories
Alcohol-free and 0.5% beers contain fewer calories than regular beers. This is because of the calorie content of alcohol.
Regular beers have around 145-175 calories, while light beers have between 95 to 120 calories. Alcohol-free beers have as little as 60 – 120 calories.
Reduces the risk of heart disease
Non-alcoholic beers are good for blood circulation, which in turn reduces the risk of heart disease.
One study found that when you drink alcohol-free beer, you reduce your risk of developing blood clots. Another study found that the phenols in non-alcoholic beers prevent your arteries and veins from becoming clogged, helping with blood circulation.
It boosts dopamine levels
Dopamine is also called the happy hormone, and when you drink alcohol, your brain releases dopamine. Because your brain associates the taste of beer with alcohol, you also release dopamine even when you are drinking non-alcoholic beers.
These results were backed up by another study that found the reward centre of the brain lit up when men consumed both 0% beer and 4.8% beer.
Rehydrates the body
Drinking non-alcoholic beer will help with hydration. Alcohol-free beers are isotonic (meaning they have the same essential salts as the body’s fluids) and are absorbed quickly after drinking.
Helps you sleep better
Hops have many health benefits, one of which is their sedative effects. Consumption of hops results in reduced anxiety and better sleep.
This is backed up by a study that found that when nurses drank non-alcoholic beers, they had a more restful sleep.
Although a night of heavy drinking may make you pass out, alcohol limits melatonin production, impacting how deep you sleep.
Promotes bone growth
Beer contains a lot of silicon. The dietary silicon in beer is used by your body to improve bone density, strengthening bones and making them less brittle.
Drinking any type of beer can help with stronger bones, but not alcoholic beers are preferred because of their additional health benefits.
Helps reduce muscle inflammation after exercise
In one scientific study, a group of male athletes were asked to drink alcohol-free beers for three weeks leading up to a marathon as well as three weeks after the marathon.
The study found that there was less inflammation in the muscles after strenuous exercise. This is because the organic compounds in beers – called phenols – are anti-inflammatories and anti-oxidants.
Reduces the risk of upper respiratory tract illnesses
The very same study mentioned above also found that the group had a reduced risk of respiratory tract infections because of the phenols in the non-alcoholic beers.
Rich source of vitamins and minerals
Alcohol-free beers contain more than just silicon. Beer is full of vitamins and minerals that your body requires, and without the alcohol, non-alcoholic beer is a perfect choice to boost your healthy diet.
Here are some vitamins and minerals found in beer, each with an essential function within the body:
- Vitamin B2
- Vitamin B3
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B7
- Vitamin B9
- Vitamin B12
Are There Any Health Risks Associated with Consuming Non-alcoholic Beer?
Although alcohol-free beers are lower in calories than their alcoholic counterparts, they do contain more carbohydrates and sugar, often due to limited fermentation where the sugars are not broken down into alcohol.
Beers contain “free sugar”, which is added sugar and naturally occurring sugar. The NHS recommends less than 30 grams of free sugar a day, which is often exceeded by non-alcoholic beers.
Here is a list of non-alcoholic beers and their carbs and sugar content.