Demand for low-alcohol beer has risen by 219% in the lead-up to Dry January. Still, addiction specialist warns that non-alcohol beverages can be dangerous for those trying to cut back.
With the new year underway, many of us will be participating in Dry January or sticking to alcohol-free drinks to cut back after overindulging at Christmas. One in seven adults (8.8 million) in the UK plans to go alcohol-free for the month.
Martin Preston, founder and chief executive at Private Rehab Clinic Delamere, has shared his insight into why mocktails and non-alcoholic beverages can be dangerous for those trying to cut back or limit alcohol consumption this January.
They make you crave alcohol
If you are serious about cutting back during Dry January, it is often a good idea to steer clear of mocktails and alcohol-free drinks, as they can make you crave alcohol more than when you drink normally.
This is because many brands or pubs managed to perfect the taste of low or non-alcohol drinks to be nearly identical to the real thing.
Drinking a beverage that reminds you of the original drink, without the high of intoxication afterwards, can be frustrating when trying to cut back and could lead to giving up before the month is over.
The term “alcohol-free” can be misleading
Alcohol-free or “mocktail” style drinks can often be misleading when cutting back on the booze. Some wines and beers that claim to be alcohol-free still contain small amounts to give them a similar style taste to the real thing.
While it may seem like an improvement on the usual amounts of alcohol for someone trying to cut back, drinking mocktails or alcohol-free drinks in large amounts might mean you aren’t having a ‘Dry’ January as you might have originally thought.
It can induce bad habits
Despite their low to no-alcohol content, it is important to be safe and sensible when consuming so you don’t develop new bad habits.
Drinks like mocktails can be really easy to consume in large amounts because they are filled with fruity flavours and tastes that replicate alcohol.
Therefore, it is key for those taking part in dry January to consume low or no alcoholic drinks in sensible amounts so that they don’t carry the habit of heavy consumption into their regular drinking habits when the month is over.
They aren’t as healthy as you might think
Despite being much better for your health than regular alcoholic drinks, consuming many at once isn’t a good idea because they are often packed full of sugar and chemicals.
If one of your goals in Dry January is to reduce the number of calories you consume from alcohol, it’s best to avoid these drinks so that you don’t consume unhealthy amounts of sugar during your break.
The taste can make you look for alcohol
Despite some non-alcoholic drinks tasting like their alcoholic counterparts, you often don’t get the rich flavour that comes with normal beer or cocktails.
The problem with this is the experience of non-alcoholic beverages is significantly underwhelming. It might cause some individuals to give up on Dry January or forget why they did it in the first place.
If those cutting back do choose to drink mocktails or low-alcohol drinks as a substitute, it’s key to remember that you might not get the same satisfaction as a regular alcoholic drink.
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