Everyone knows that drinking alcohol has its downsides. While many adults derive great enjoyment from drinking beer responsibly, the well-documented dangers range from hangovers to long-term health problems, from regrettable or dangerous drunken behavior to the risk of life-destroying addiction. If, for whatever reason, you want to enjoy the taste and the social experience of beer without alcohol, or you just want to cut back on your intake a bit, the health benefits of switching to lower alcohol beers are actually greater than you might imagine.
It doesn’t get you drunk
Let’s start with the obvious point first. For some people, the above statement might be the exact reason why they wouldn’t bother with low-alcohol beer, as it has ‘no effect.’ However, if you only drink beer in order to get sloshed, some might suggest that you aren’t a true beer lover at all.
Today, many low-alcohol beers taste just as great as their higher-alcohol equivalents. Even better, studies have found that, if you’re already a regular beer drinker, your brain will release the pleasure-giving chemical dopamine in the same quantities when you drink a low-alcohol beer as when you drink a strong one, simply by the power of association.
Drunkenness can lead to dangerous and antisocial behavior, with negative consequences on your physical and mental health. Low alcohol beer gives you the same good feelings without the unwanted baggage. East Point from Australia’s Stone & Wood independent brewery is a refreshing alternative to some of the Byron Bay collective’s stronger offerings. It’s an ideal beer for watching new movies without falling asleep or forgetting the plot.
It helps you stay healthy
Alcohol has 56 calories per unit, and heavy drinking is a major contributor towards obesity and heart disease. Not all low-alcohol beers are low in calories or sugar, and you should still be careful about overdoing it, but matching like for like, a 0-0.5% pint will have 145 fewer calories than its 4.5% equivalent.
Actually, if you take away the alcohol, beer has many health benefits anyway. It’s a source of silicon, which is good for your bones, and the phenols in beer have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as reducing the risk of artery-clogging atherosclerosis. Beer contains many healthy vitamins and minerals, including zinc, iron, calcium and potassium, meaning that it’s good for your immune system, blood and oxygen circulation, and nervous system.
It’s virtually a tonic
While alcohol dehydrates the body, any drink with an ABV of less than 2% rehydrates, like water. While alcohol consumption can disrupt your sleep patterns, the hops in beer actually help you sleep. In fact, because low-alcohol beers are mostly made from simple, natural ingredients (water, hops, malt and yeast), they’re usually better for you than processed fizzy soft drinks.
Low-alcohol beer is easier on your liver and means that you wake up the next day without a hangover and guilt-free. You’ll have more energy, be more productive, will feel happier and will generally be a nicer person to be around. All of this can’t help but be good for you. Low-alcohol beer gives you most of the benefits of boozing but with few of the drawbacks: it really is a win-win situation.