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Study reveals the truth about the kJ count in non-alcoholic alcohol drinks

24/12/2019

Switching from alcoholic drinks to non-alcoholic alcohol products may be a great way to lower your alcohol intake, but a LiveLighter study has found that many of these alcohol alternatives are high in kilojoules, despite their confusing ‘health’ claims and attractive packaging.

LiveLighter analysed products from 26 bottle shops and supermarkets in the Perth metro area, including non-alcoholic versions of beer, wine, cider and spirits, and compared their number of kilojoules against their alcoholic equivalents.

As a reference point, it is worth noting that, an average:

  • 330mL bottle alcoholic beer has around 510kJ,
  • 150mL glass of regular wine contains around 460kJ
  • 300mL bottle of cola contains around 540kJ.

LiveLighter found the non-alcoholic beers available in the stores had an average of 313kJ per bottle, which is less than half the kilojoules of a full-strength beer.

But the total kilojoules varied between products, with the lowest kilojoule non-alcoholic beer containing just 92kJ a bottle while the highest kilojoule option contained 389kJ.

The non-alcoholic wines contained an average of 183kJ per glass, which is less than half the kilojoules in regular wine.

LiveLighter Accredited Practising Dietitian Gael Myers said: “Switching to non-alcoholic alcohol drinks is a great way to reduce your intake of alcohol and reduce your risk of developing eight types of cancer.

“Given the range in kilojoules per product, when choosing a non-alcoholic beer or wine make sure you take a look at the nutrition label to see how many kilojoules are hiding there.

“If you want to drink these, we’d suggest choosing non-alcoholic beers with less than 70kJ per 100mL, and non-alcoholic wines with less than 90kJ per 100mL.”

“If you drink non-alcoholic alcohol drinks, it’s important to be mindful of the number you have to avoid drinking too many kilojoules.

“Don’t think that because you’re not drinking the alcoholic version, it’s safe to drink as many as you please. The kilojoules add up.”

Only one non-alcoholic cider and one brand of non-alcoholic spirits were found in the study.

The non-alcoholic cider had the most kilojoules within the sample at 739kJ, which is more than a soft drink, while the non-alcoholic spirits were kilojoule free, but Ms Myers warned they were often served with sugary mixers which are full of kilojoules.

Ms Myers added that water remained the best choice and offered some suggestions to jazzing up your glass of H2O.

“Still and sparkling water jazzed up with some fruit slices, such as strawberries, oranges or lemons, and herbs, such as mint, can be an interesting and refreshing alternative to alcoholic drinks and is kilojoule free,” she said.

Lowest kilojoule options

 

 

Kilojoules per 100mL

Kilojoules per serve

Non-alcoholic beer

Brew dog alcohol-free hoppy ale (355mL)

26

92

Holsten alcohol-free beer (330mL)

50

165

Weihenstephaner alcohol-free original Helles (500mL)

58

290

Non-alcoholic wine

 

Miranda non-alcoholic Sauvignon Blanc

48

72

Miranda non-alcoholic Shiraz

66

99

Vintense non-alcoholic Merlot

72

108

Edenvale non-alcoholic Rosé

75

113

Vintense non-alcoholic chardonnary

76

114

Other

Seedlip non-alcoholic spirit

0

0

Highest kilojoule options

 

 

Kilojoules per 100mL

Kilojoules per serve

Non-alcoholic beer

Carlton Zero (330mL)

118

389

Krombacher non-alcoholic pils (330mL)

111

366

Clausthaler low alcohol lager (330mL)

108

356

Non-alcoholic wine

 

Maggie Beer non-alcoholic sparkling chardonnay

265

398

Fronti non-alcoholic sparkling white

245

368

Lindeman’s Maiden Press lightly sparkling Shiraz

227

341

Fronti non-alcoholic sparkling red

225

338

Other

The Hills cider company virgin apple cider (330mL)

224

739

About LiveLighter:

LiveLighter is a public health education campaign encouraging Australians to lead healthier lives by changing what they eat and drink and being more active.

In Western Australia, the LiveLighter campaign is delivered by Cancer Council WA and is funded by the State Government of Western Australia. For more information visit www.livelighter.com.au.