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A guide to boozy (and booze-free) beverages

A guide to boozy (and booze-free) beverages

A glass of wine or a beer are pleasant accompaniments to sunshine, salt water and backyard barbecues, but some people find it hard to stop at just one. The good news is there’s a growing range of low-alcohol and non-alcoholic tipples to enjoy. Before you pour your next cold one, check out the latest health advice on booze and boozing.

Liquid kilojoules

Alcohol is often termed ‘empty calories’ because, gram for gram, it packs almost double the energy of carbohydrates or protein and has no nutritional value. One standard drink contains 10g of alcohol, which is 290 kilojoules (69 calories). So it’s easy to see how a few drinks can add a lot of unnecessary kilojoules to your day, without providing any other important nutrients. For this reason, the festive season, in particular, can be problematic as people tend to drink more than normal.

Cheers to that!

A wave of low- and no-alcohol wines, beer and cocktails has swept over the shelves of bottle shops and supermarkets. While you don’t have to be teetotal to stay healthy over the festive season, these products can be a sensible choice if you want to rein in your alcohol consumption. Low-carb alcohol options don’t necessarily fall into the better-for-you basket, either, as they can still contain just as much alcohol as regular alcoholic drinks, with almost as many kilojoules. The fact is, you’d be better off choosing a light beer over a low-carb one.

1 standard drink = 10g alcohol

Found in 285ml full-strength beer, 425ml light beer, 100ml wine or 30ml spirits.



The morning after a night of heavy drinking is never fun. The reason you feel worse for wear is because alcohol is dehydrating, interrupts your sleep, irritates your stomach and leads to the production of a toxic by-product called acetaldehyde, which causes headaches and nausea.

Without being the fun police, the only real way to avoid getting hit for six is to not drink too much in the first place. If you do find yourself in the hardships of a hangover, have a sports drink to replace the lost electrolytes and head outside for some gentle movement to give your body a boost of feel-good endorphins.

5 savvy ways to enjoy alcohol

✓ Eat a nutritious meal before you start drinking alcohol to ‘line your stomach’. This slows down the effects of alcohol on your body.
✓ Alternate each alcoholic drink with a glass of water.
✓ Set a limit for yourself beforehand and stick to it. Explain to others you are watching your intake so you can opt out of ‘rounds’ and refuse refills until you are ready for more.
✓ Drink mindfully by enjoying the full flavour of your beverage and putting your glass down between sips.
✓ Choose spritzers to dilute your intake. Pour a glass of full-strength wine halfway, then finish with soda water.

Know your limit

The risks associated with drinking alcohol can be minimised if you sip within safe limits. For adults, the advice is less than 10 standard drinks a week and no more than four in one day. Women are advised to have no more than two drinks a session, and for men it’s three.

For more expert advice on alcoholic drinks, we recommend: How many kilojoules in alcoholic drinks? or Your guide to light alcohol.

Date modified: 12 January 2023
First published: January 2023


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