I was a little shocked to see calories in non-alcoholic beer, thankfully for a change, it was a good level of shock – the level is so low and that is good news for everyone!
As a general rule, I found non alcoholic beer has an average of 22.6 calories per 100ml and 1.94 grams of sugar per 100ml. This is up to 80% less calories than a regular soft drink and 83% less calories than traditional craft beer making it a great option for cutting down calories while enjoying a drink.
Calories in non alcoholic beer are significantly lower than in alcoholic beers and in some cases 77% lower. The Big Drop Paradiso has only 16.2 calories per 100ml while, according to the US National Library of Medicine, craft beer has between 47.8 – 98.59 calories per 100ml.
This means that a pint of alcoholic craft beer will contain between 210 – 430 calories while the same amount of the Big Drop Paradiso will contain only 76.6 calories. Pretty amazing right.
Big Drop Paradiso 0%
Alcoholic Craft Beer
Calories / 100 ml
47 – 98 cals
Calories / Pint
210 – 430 cals
When you start to see how alcohol plays into the calories in each glass you can quickly see how the calories from 3 pints at the pub quickly add up.
Whether you are using alcohol free beer to:
- substitute one or two drinks in a session at the pub; or
- replace alcoholic beer one or two nights a week
you can see how quickly reducing just 4 drinks per week will reduce your calories from alcohol by over 1600 calories (if we continue the example from above).
1. It helps you sleep better
Non alcoholic beer helps eradicate the interruption and poor sleep quality that comes from drinking alcohol. A recent Finnish study found more than 1 drink per day for women and more than 2 drinks per day for men saw sleep quality decline by almost 40%.
The Sleep Foundation sum up the 2018 Finnish study of 4098 people referenced above. The study assessed the effects of alcohol intake on the nervous system during sleep and found:
- Low amounts of alcohol (< 2 two servings per day for men or < 1 serving per day for women) decreased sleep quality by 9.3%.
- Moderate amounts of alcohol (two servings per day for men or one serving per day for women) decreased sleep quality by 24%.
- High amounts of alcohol (more than two servings per day for men or one serving per day for women) decreased sleep quality by 39.2%.
Looking at the study above, it is easy to see how even a small reduction or moderation in alcohol consumption can improve sleep, recovery and bring with it a whole new take on life.
2. It reduces your ‘junk’ or ’empty calorie’ intake.
Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram which place it up alongside fat from a caloric perspective. However calories from alcohol are what is coined as ‘junk calories’ or ’empty calories’, this means that the calories consumed from alcohol do not contribute any nutritional value.
Working with dietitians during my days racing bikes I was taught pretty early on about junk calories, the motto was you’re better off eating chocolate than drinking beer (a message I heard loud and clear).
As a whole, junk calories are calories that you consume through food or drink, that contribute very little to no nutritional benefit and in essence, reduce the available calorie intake you have to consume before you meet your Daily Energy Target (based upon your Basel Metabolic Rate.)
3. It Hydrates You
As a whole, non-alcoholic beer keeps you hydrated as a 2015 study in the Journal of International Society of Sports Medicine. The reason for this, among others, is due to the isotonic compound that most beers are made up of. For something to be isotonic it contains roughly the same proportion of salt and sugar that is contained in the human body and therefore supports its hydration.
Beyond the compound, many brewers are adding additional nutrients to their beers which support and aid recovery and hydration. For example beer like the Athletic Brewing Co, UpFlow Ultra Pale Lager, Sobah Range and Zero+ Sports Beer all have some level of vitamins and minerals that support hydration.
- Calcium; and
These minerals support hydration and help you, in what I think is the most delicious way, work towards getting your recommended daily intake of water.
4. It Reduces Inflammation in athletes
As a general rule, non alcoholic beer has been found to reduce inflammation in marathon runners who, as part of a 2012 study:
- consumed between one and one and a half litres of non alcoholic beer for 3 weeks before their marathon; and
- again consumed the same amount for 2 weeks after completing their marathon.
The study concluded that postrace inflammation was significantly reduced in the participants who drank Non-Alcoholic Beer compared to those who drank the placebo.
5. It Reduces Upper Respiratory Tract Infections
The same study mentioned above also identified that the same group of marathon runners who drank non-alcoholic beer for three weeks pre- and two weeks post-marathon were found to have fewer viral infections of the nose.
As someone who relied so heavily on their nose during competition (weird thing to say I know) I wish I knew this. I was plagued with URTIs and would have tried anything in the early years to get it under control
Non Alcoholic beer is totally worth your time as it (compared to alcoholic beer):
- helps you reduce your calorie intake
- helps you get better sleep and recovery; and,
- improves your liver function.
Mary Bernard, who I caught up with on the Podcast, went sober during the pandemic and was able to share a first-hand experience how her swapping across to non alcoholic helped her:
- find more time in her day;
- get up earlier and reclaim mornings;
- find a new love and passion for Yoga.
You can find out more about the benefits of moderating or reducing alcohol intake in the post I wrote here or listen first-hand to the podcast chat I had with Mary Bernard who decided to give up alcohol here.
Now we’ve seen some great non-alcoholic beers as an example, it’s time to compare sugar and calories in non-alcoholic beer to juice and soda.
As you can see there is a clear difference in sugar and calories with non-alcoholic beer having up to 80% less sugar than soft drinks and orange juice.
Looking at Juice and Cola options:
- Orange Juice, according to the USDA Orange Juice contains an average of 4grams of sugar; and 45 calories per 100ml; and
- Coca-Cola®, according to Coca-Cola®, contains an average of 6 grams of sugar and 43 calories per 100ml.
Looking at the numbers, it’s clear that a non-alcoholic beer is lower in sugar, lower in calories and generally a better option if you are conscious of sugar intake and monitoring how many calories you consume every day.
Looking at just a few healthy non-alcoholic beer options here are some of the ones I recommend you start with:
- XPA: Heaps Normal Quiet XPA (1.6 grams of sugar per 100ml & 22 calories per 100ml) – read my review;
- IPA: Big Drop Paradiso IPA (2 grams of sugar per 100ml and 15 calories per 100ml) – read my review;
- Stout: Big Drop Galactic Milk Stout (3.2 grams sugar per 100ml and 32 calories per 100ml) – read my review; and
- IPA: Vandestreek Playground IPA (3.2 grams of sugar per 100ml and 32 calories per 100ml) – read my review.
Trying to decipher and find the most healthy non-alcoholic beer can be frustrating, as there are so many on the market and so many new ones popping up every day!
Like I have referenced throughout this article, in researching it, I reviewed the sugar and calorie content of 39 beers and have set them all out for you below to see exactly where your favourite non-alcoholic beer lands on the spectrum.
As a summary, the table below shows something amazing. On average the 39 different beers that I reviewed had ONLY 1.94 grams of sugar per 100ml. This is a crazy 80% less than the same amount of popular soft drinks and 83% less than alcoholic craft beer.
So look through and get yourself some non-alcoholic goodness, after all, it is hydrating!
|Beer||Sugar / 100ml||Cals / 100ml|
|Bit Burger Drive 0.0||0.1 g / 100ml||22 cals / 100ml|
|Big Drop Uptown Craft Lager||0.1 g / 100ml||11.8 cals / 100ml|
|Brew Dog Nanny State||0.4 g / 100ml||6 cals / 100ml|
|Great Northern Zero||0.5 g / 100ml||18 cals / 100ml|
|James Squire Zero||0.6 g / 100ml||20 cals / 100ml|
|Carlton Zero||0.6 g / 100ml||28 cals / 100ml|
|ZERO+ Pale Ale||1 g / 100ml||14 cals / 100ml|
ephan Non Alcoholic Wheat Beer
|1 g / 100ml||15 cals / 100ml|
|Prohibition Pale Ale||1 g / 100ml||28 cals / 100ml|
|Mornington Free Pale Ale||1 g / 100ml||26 cals / 100ml|
|Nort XPA||1 g / 100ml||15 cals / 100ml|
|Nort Refreshing Ale||1 g / 100ml||15 cals / 100ml|
|Parc Pilsner||1 g / 100ml||15 cals / 100ml|
|Heineken 0.0 Lager||1.3 g / 100ml||21 cals / 100ml|
|Maisel’s Alkohol Frei Wheat Beer||1.3 g / 100ml||23 cals / 100ml|
|Upflow New World IPA||1.4 g / 100ml||4.5 cals / 100ml|
|UpFlow Classic Pale Ale||1.4 g / 100ml||21 cals / 100ml|
|UpFlow Stout||1.4 g / 100ml||21 cals / 100ml|
|Upflow Ultra Pale Lager||1.4 g / 100ml||21 cals / 100ml|
|Heaps Normal Quiet XPA||1.6 g / 100ml||22 cals / 100ml|
|2 g / 100ml||18.5 cals / 100ml|
|Big Drop Pine Trail Pale Ale||2.1 g / 100ml||18.5 cals / 100ml|
|Sobah Pepperberry IPA||2.7 g / 100ml||22.7 cals / 100ml|
|Schloss Eggenberg||2.7 g / 100ml||22 cals / 100ml|
|Clausthaler Unfiltered||2.8 g / 100ml||26 cals / 100ml|
|Brooklyn Special Effects||2.9 g / 100ml||29 cals / 100ml|
|Sobah Finger Lime Cerveza||3 g / 100ml||28.8 cals / 100ml|
|Peroni Libera 0.0%||3 g / 100ml||22 cals / 100ml|
|Baltika 0%||3 g / 100ml||35 cals / 100ml|
|Devil’s Peak Hero 0%||3 g / 100ml||36 cals / 100ml|
|UWE Stereo Pils||3 g / 100ml||28 cals / 100ml|
|Big Drop Galactic Milk Stout||3.1 g / 100ml||27.5 cals / 100ml|
|Budvar Budejovicky||3.1 g / 100ml||15.5 cals / 100ml|
|Vandesetreek Fun House NEIPA||3.2 g / 100ml||32 cals / 100ml|
|3.2. g / 100ml||32 cals / 100ml|
|Corona Cero||3.4 g / 100ml||29 cals / 100ml|
|UWE IPA||3.4 g / 100ml||32 cals / 100ml|
|Baltika Wheat Beer||3.5 g / 100ml||30 cals / 100ml|
|Erdinger||3.6 g / 100ml||25 cals / 100ml|