You may have given alcohol up when you decided to try to get pregnant or found out you already were. However, is switching to non-alcoholic wines and beers a better alternative? Are they safe for you and your baby?
Labels such as “non-alcoholic” are still ambiguous, so staying away from these kinds of beverages is the best option for pregnant women. According to the CDC, it’s safest to avoid alcohol consumption altogether during pregnancy.
Exposure to alcohol before birth can lead to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder or FASD in your baby, which affects 1%-5% of the population. Symptoms include low birth weight, impaired cognitive function, intellectual and behavioral disabilities, and more (source: CDC).
As there is no safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy, it is better to avoid it overall.
Non-alcoholic labels on wines, beers, and other beverages do not always contain 0% alcohol. Alcohol by Volume (ABV) is used to measure how much alcohol is in these drinks.
Low-alcohol/ Reduced Alcohol
Alcohol-free is used for malt beverages containing no alcohol
|Australia||Zero alcohol drinks|
Brewed soft drink
Should not contain any alcohol
|New Zealand||Low alcohol/ non-alcoholic||<1.15% ABV|
Covered in this Article:
Is Non-Alcoholic Beer Safe When Pregnant?
As you have seen in the table above. Some “non-alcoholic” beers still have alcohol in them. It is better to abstain from drinking these types of beverages during pregnancy to avoid the risk of ingesting any alcohol (source: CFP).
However, if abstinence is not an option, reading the label and making sure that the beverage contain 0% alcohol would be the alternative.
As not all non-alcoholic beers are alcohol-free, it is better to abstain from drinking these beverages while pregnant.
It has been shown that alcohol travels through breast milk, with its concentration peaking at 0.5 -1 hour after consumption. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding, it would be better to hold off feeding your baby for at least 2 hours after consumption of beverages containing alcohol, no matter how low the amount.
It was also found that consuming alcoholic beverages while breastfeeding decreases oxytocin and breast milk production, leading to shortened exclusive breastfeeding (source: World Nutrition Journal).
Another study on animals showed that the livers of the animals born from drinkers of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beers were enlarged (source: ScienceDirect).
There are multiple ways to make non-alcoholic beer. One method is to start off with materials to produce lower alcohol content, and the second is to take the alcohol out of regular beers. The second method is most common (source: Separation and Purification Technology).
This means that it still contains the same ingredients and nutrition facts as normal beer, which includes high sugar, carbohydrates, and calories.
High sugar and calorie intake during pregnancy can lead to excess weight gain, which can have negative effects on your baby’s body health and increase their risk of metabolic syndrome (source: American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology).
In addition, excess intake of carbohydrates can lead to increased fat mass in your baby and may affect their insulin sensitivity.
I have made a table below of a list of the most popular non-alcoholic beers in the market and their ABV content, as well as their nutrition facts.
|Brooklyn Brewery Special Effects Hoppy Amber||12 oz||<0.5%||22 g||10 g||102|
|Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Alkoholfrei||500 mL||<0.5%||14.5 g||0 g||80|
|Athletic Brewing Company Run Wild Non-Alcoholic IPA||12 oz||<0.5%||14 g||0 g||65|
|Heineken Non-Alcoholic 0.0||330 mL||<0.03%||15.8 g||4.3g||71|
|Suntory ALL-FREE||350 mL||0.0%||0g||0g||0|
|San Miguel 0.0||330 mL||0.0%||18.5 g||0g||79|
|Guinness 0.0%||1 pint||0.0%||16.5 g||3.31||91|
|Ilkley Brewery Virgin Mary||330 mL||0.5%||10 g||9.9 g||52.8|
|St Peter’s Without||500 mL||0.0%||31 g||6 g||130|
Is Non-Alcoholic Wine Safe in Pregnancy?
Just like with beer, the “non-alcoholic” label on a wine bottle does not guarantee the absence of alcohol in the product. Reading the label and the nutrition facts is still important.
Some non-alcoholic wines still contain alcohol, despite their label of 0% alcohol. Because of this, it is better to avoid these products during pregnancy.
The making of non-alcoholic wine does not differ much from normal wine. It undergoes the same fermentation and aging process of regular wine, but the alcohol is removed during the last stages of the process.
The alcohol content of these “non-alcoholic” wines is still up for debate. In a study done in Canada, 13 of the 45 beverages in the study contained more alcohol than they have declared on their labels, even though they were labeled 0% alcohol (source: The Canadian Journal of Clinical Pharmacology).
Some brands that are marketed as “0.0%” alcohol are:
Vignette Wine Country Sodas
They also have some great health benefits, including vitamins that boost immune functions and antioxidants, which can help fight certain cancers and decrease risks of increased blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases.
However, these alternatives may be high in sugar, so moderate consumption is still advised.
Other Non-Alcoholic Beverages and Pregnancy
There has been an increase in the popularity of non-alcoholic spirits in the past years. Drinks such as Seedlip and Three Spirit are a few to note. Between these two, Seedlip actually still has <0.5% ABV, while Three spirit endorses their product as 0.0% ABV.
Some other examples of non-alcoholic beverages that are labeled 0.0% ABV are Sea Arch Drinks, Spirits of Virtue, and Spiritless Kentucky 74. These beverages, especially the Three spirit brand, have high sugar content, with 6 g of added sugar per 1.7 fl oz.
This is very high, especially if you are going to drink it for an extended period of time. Just one cup contains five times as much sugar as a normal serving, which means you would consume 30 g of sugar in one sitting.
Most of these non-alcoholic spirits rely on other components to produce the same mouthfeel as that of their alcoholic counterparts. Some use a different distillation system, while others add more sugar than usual.
As always, checking the labels and nutrition facts is your safest bet.
I hope this article has helped you decide whether or not to consume non-alcoholic beverages and provided a few ideas for delicious and safe alternatives.
|This article has been reviewed and approved for publication in line with our editorial policy.|