The thought of non-alcoholic beer leads to a few different questions. Some ask why it even exists. Others wonder if non-alcoholic (NA) beer has secret health benefits, or if it ever gives the effect of alcoholic beer.
For those with alcohol addiction — which includes many millions in the United States alone — the question may be: Can drinking NA beer give me a replacement for the alcoholic beverages that have caused me many health and personal issues for years on end?
Can NA beer help you reach recovery from your alcohol use disorder? First, let’s delve deeper into what NA beer is.
What is Non-Alcoholic Beer?
Non-alcoholic beer, as defined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, is a beer that contains less than 0.5% alcohol by volume (ABV). This rule dates back to the days of Prohibition in the United States.
For a company to earn the ability to label their product non-alcoholic, they must submit their product’s recipe and formula for review before sending the product off to a lab for testing. If they pass, they can then begin selling their non-alcoholic product to consumers.
The process of creating non-alcoholic beverages can vary, and the method can determine how much alcohol remains in the product.
The most common method is heating the beer that was made. Heating removes alcohol but also alters taste greatly, so other things are then added. Usually, it’s sugar that is added.
Another method of removing alcohol from NA beer is straining. You can strain alcohol out of the beer and then replace the liquid that comes out along with the alcohol. Carbon dioxide is also added to this process.
How Non-Alcoholic Beer Compares Beer With Regular Beer
Non-alcoholic beer, as stated above, is a beer with 0.5% or less alcohol by volume (ABV). Anything more than that is considered alcoholic.
For most general beers made in the United States, one bottle or can of beer will contain anywhere from 4% to 8% ABV. Simple math finds it would take 8-16 non-alcoholic beers to reach the amount of alcohol consumed by drinking one normal alcoholic beer.
If I Can’t Buy Alcohol, Can I Buy NA Beer in Idaho?
A big question about non-alcoholic beer comes from those under the age of 21. In most states, because federal law says anything under 0.5% ABV is technically non-alcoholic, you are allowed to buy non-alcoholic beverages if you’re under the age of 21.
However, in a few states, including Idaho, purchasing non-alcoholic beer isn’t legal for someone under 21. Idaho has a law that doesn’t define beer by the alcohol content.
This is important to note for those under 21 with alcohol use disorder (AUD) or those who know someone under the age of 21 with an AUD. For many who are underage and have an AUD, the hassle of getting alcohol is so great that non-alcoholic beer becomes an option in their minds.
Again, it is possible to get drunk from NA beer. It just takes a lot more drinks to do so.
Alcohol Use Disorder in Idaho
Those under 21 are far from the only residents with alcohol use disorder in The Gem State. According to the Idaho Office of Drug Policy, 75,000 Idahoans 18 and older battled alcohol use disorder in 2019.
Only 3,000 of them got treatment for their disorder.
Alcohol misuse causes 437 deaths on average each year in Idaho.
Does The Taste Curb The Craving?
If you’re asking this question, it’s likely you’re hoping to get a taste of beer without giving up on recovery. It’s completely understandable that you crave having another beer.
Recovery from alcohol use disorder is not a perfect road. There are moments when all we can think about is going back to drinking again to take away stress, pain, or anything else that may be pushing us there.
If you’re looking for an answer with non-alcoholic beer, however, you may be disappointed. The taste and even the smell of NA beer resemble beer so closely that treatment experts recommend avoiding it.
The two main reasons those in recovery are advised to not drink non-alcoholic beer are:
- Non-alcoholic beer still contains trace amounts of alcohol. As stated before, it can legally contain up to 0.5% alcohol by volume. Even beers that advertise “0.0%” alcohol have trace amounts. In recovery, even this tiny amount of alcohol can derail your journey.
- The taste of non-alcoholic beer, or even the smell, can trigger euphoric recall. Euphoric recall is when a person in recovery has memories of the “good times” a substance provided but doesn’t consider their full journey that includes the negative aspects of the substance use.
In the end, your mind and body are not craving the beer, they’re craving the alcohol that’s in the beer. When you lapse and find yourself drinking a non-alcoholic beer, you’re simply opening the gate to give in to the craving for alcohol.
Alcohol Use Recovery Is Tough But Possible
Recovery is a journey, and there are going to be missteps along the way. It’s important to understand that, and it’s important to have a team behind you to keep you on track when you do misstep.
In recovery, you must work every day — especially if you’re early in recovery — to avoid lapsing and relapsing. To do that, you must avoid the places, people, and things you may associate with your alcohol use.
In successful treatment, you will learn how to manage these things while also learning exactly what the triggers are or could be. Consuming non-alcoholic beer could very well be one of the triggers you’re taught to avoid.
Grabbing a non-alcoholic beverage can be a slippery slope that leads to a full-blown relapse.
The Time Has Come For Alcohol Addiction Treatment
If you’re here today, chances are you’re in the midst of a journey to recover from alcohol use disorder, or you love someone who is.
The desire to grab a non-alcoholic beer shows that while you have the urge to quit, the urge to still have alcohol as part of your daily routine is strong as well. It’s important at this time to get a strong, professional team behind you.
The time has come for you to fully address your alcohol use disorder head-on and find the reasons for your use while also healing yourself.
Ashwood Recovery Wants To Be Your Teammate
Beginning with detox, if necessary, your journey with Ashwood Recovery in Idaho will be tailored to you.
Detox is often the first and at times the most important, step in recovery. This is the short period when you address your body’s withdrawal from the dependence it has on alcohol.
After detox at Ashwood, you will take part in one of three levels of treatment.
In partial hospitalization, the most intensive level of treatment, you will devote 30 hours per week to treatment in our facility.
Traditional outpatient treatment is the least time-consuming treatment. It’s built for those with moderate use disorders and those with work and family duties to upkeep.
Intensive outpatient treatment requires a 9- to 15-hour commitment per week.
In these treatment programs, our patients will take part in evidence-based therapies that are proven to help reach long-term recovery.
These services include
- Behavioral Therapy
- Family Therapy
- Group Therapy
- Educational Workshops
- Integrated Care
- Medical Intervention
- Relapse Prevention
And for the days after treatment has ended and you feel like a lapse or relapse coming, we have a well-structured aftercare program that will give you an open line of communication to us at any time.
We want to help you, however, you need us.
Call Today for Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment
If you’re on the verge of picking up a non-alcoholic beer in an attempt to help your cravings, think twice. Instead, give us a call at Ashwood Recovery to seek treatment in our great state.
We live in a beautiful state with plenty to offer. Let us help you get back on track and into enjoying what Idaho has to offer you.
Call us today at 208-906-0782 to talk with us about your options.
Can you drink non-alcoholic beer if you’re under 21?
This is a legal question that varies from state to state. In most states, the federal definition of a beverage containing less than 0.5% alcohol means that it can be purchased and consumed by those under 21. In Idaho, however, the definition of beer differs, and it’s illegal for those under 21 to buy non-alcoholic beer in the state.
Be sure to check out local laws before buying or drinking non-alcoholic beer.
Will NA beer show up on a urine test?
Yes. While NA beer is considered non-alcoholic in the United States if it has less than 0.5% alcohol per serving, there are trace amounts of alcohol in the beverages.
There are instances of it going both undetected and detected in urine tests.
Does NA beer dehydrate you?
It depends on the amount of alcohol in the drink. Many believe that non-alcoholic beers can actually rehydrate you after physical activity, including some Olympic athletes.
Alcoholic beers do dehydrate you because of their diuretic effect (increased urination).