Non-alcoholic beer has several potential health benefits when consumed in moderation and it can be a great way to enjoy an occasional treat without the guilt of overindulging. Can you drink non-alcoholic beer while pregnant?
Important: I am not a medical professional and cannot make recommendations for your health. Always discuss questions regarding pregnancy with your doctor. However, not everyone is familiar with beverages labeled “non-alcoholic,” perhaps even your doctor.
This post is meant to help you gain a general understanding of what non-alcoholic beer is, how it’s made, and what ABV means so that you can have an informed conversation with your doctor about your pregnancy.
Alcohol and Pregnancy
It’s probably safe to assume you know that alcohol is not recommended during pregnancy, but I will mention it. Fetal alcohol syndrome and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are real risks when drinking alcohol during pregnancy.
It should be noted that the CDC‘s recommendation is that no amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy. This includes drinking beer, even if it has a lower alcohol content than your favorite cocktail.
But what about trace amounts of alcohol?
ABV in Non-Alcoholic Drinks
What is ABV? ABV is short for alcohol by volume, meaning the percentage of pure alcohol found in the total volume of a beverage.
In many countries, drinks can be designated “non-alcoholic” when they contain less than 0.5% alcohol by volume. Most non-alcoholic beers fall in this category. Many pregnant women still wonder if it’s safe to drink non-alcoholic beer while they are expecting if it has any amount of alcohol in it.
Alcohol is a byproduct of fermentation. The fact is, even higher amounts of alcohol can sometimes be found in fermented foods like kefir and even ripe fruit.
Alcohol Free Beer
There are some non-alcoholic beers that claim 0.0% alcohol by volume. According to the FDA, alcohol must not be detectable in beverages labeled as alcohol free.
Non-alcoholic beverages that fall in the “hop water” category usually have 0% ABV. These are mainly carbonated water with hops added for flavoring. They aren’t considered beer, but are reminiscent of the flavor of beer.
How Non-Alcoholic Beer is Made
Non-alcoholic beers are produced in different ways, and they can be put in two main categories: dealcoholization and arrested fermentation.
Dealcoholized beer has been made into an alcoholic beer, then the alcohol is removed by reverse osmosis or special temperature controlled distillation methods.
With arrested fermentation, a brewery will stop the fermentation process before alcohol is ever produced, either by removing the yeast or cooling the mix to deactivate it.
Check out my other post on how non-alcoholic beer is made if you’re interested in more detail.
Check the Labels Carefully
Now that you know what ABV is, how NA beer can be made, start checking the labels.
Since the regulations state non-alcoholic beers must be under 0.5% ABV, that is usually the only information stated on cans for many non-alcoholic beers. For more specific answers, you’ll have to ask the brewery to elaborate. ABV could possibly fluctuate in different batches, but will always be under the threshold.
Again, if it’s labeled “alcohol free” it shouldn’t have detectable amounts of alcohol in it.
In addition to alcohol, you should check any other ingredients, especially during pregnancy. It’s popular in the world of non-alcoholic beverages to add adaptogens (botanicals), CBD, and other ingredients to add calming effects and other health benefits, but this may not be healthy for pregnancy.
Ultimately, it hard to say definitively whether or not non-alcoholic beer is safe during pregnancy because studies have not been done to determine potential negative effects.
Best Non-Alcoholic Beers
Depending on your taste, there are luckily a ton of options for non-alcoholic beer. If you like craft beer or IPA, one of my favorite non-alcoholic beers is Athletic Brewing Company Run Wild IPA.
If you like beers like Bud Light or Heineken, you might really like Budweiser Zero. It tastes characteristically like a Budweiser beer and has 0% ABV. Heineken 0.0 also has a very low alcohol content.
Some other beers that are completely alcohol free include: Suntory All Free, Hairless Dog Citra Lager, and Bitburger Drive 0.0%. Lagunitas Hop Hoppy Refresher is a hop-flavored carbonated beverage without alcohol, carbs, or calories that’s really refreshing too.
More Non-Alcoholic Beverages
There are loads of non-alcoholic beverages available, and the market continues to expand at a rapid rate. Be sure to check out my updated list of 20 Best Non-Alcoholic Drinks for more recommendations.
Steer clear of the adaptogenic beverages on this list, as it’s not really known whether or not these are safe to consume for pregnancy.
Is Non-Alcoholic Beer Safe During Pregnancy?
Drinking non-alcoholic beer may have some potential health benefits because it has electrolytes, phenolic compounds, plus some vitamins and minerals. However, everything changes with pregnancy, and certain things deemed healthy when you’re not pregnant could pose potential risks for a developing fetus.
Many people think non-alcoholic beer is generally considered safe for consumption by pregnant women in moderation; however, the safest option is avoid alcohol altogether. Luckily there are hop flavored carbonated drinks and beers with zero alcohol.
Remember, it is incredibly important to speak with your healthcare provider before adding any new beverages into your diet during pregnancy.