Sugar rush: Everything you need to know about sugar and alcohol

Aug 03, 2021

Sugar can wreak havoc with our wellbeing, but the combination of alcohol and sugar is even more risky.
Woman holding a lollipop

We all know that too much sugar is bad for our health. I was lucky to work closely with 'I Quit Sugar' author, Sarah Wilson over the 10 years that I ran the toxin-free store Nourished Life which I founded in 2012. Since reading Sarah's first IQS, book I have always been very conscious about the sugar levels in anything I consume. But in all of those years I never actually considered how much sugar I was consuming when I reached for an alcoholic drink.

What does sugar do to your body?

There are lots of reasons why too much sugar bad news. For a start, sugar is high in calories. This means that excessive consumption can cause unwanted weight gain, which in turn can make you more susceptible to long-term health issues. Consuming excess sugar can also increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

A spoon of sugar

Sugar and alcohol

According to research from the UK, alcoholic drinks account for 10 percent of the daily sugar intake for 29 to 64-year-olds. Despite this, a lot of people forget about alcohol when they’re calculating their daily sugar intake. 

In particular, fortified wine, liqueurs and cider are considered to be high in sugar. And of course, if you are mixing a spirit with a sugar laden soft drink that will increase your sugar intake as well.

Sugar cubes stacked on top of each other

How to cut down

The good news is that it’s easy to reduce your sugar intake by cutting down on alcohol. Here are a few tips:

  • Alternate alcoholic drinks with water

  • Never drink alcohol on an empty stomach

  • Try to create some mindful drinking habits 

  • Try switching to alcohol-free wine, beer or spirits low in sugar

What are the best low-sugar alc-free drinks?

Non-alcoholic drinks can be lower in sugar than their alcoholic counterparts. But there are some alc-free drinks in our selection that are virtually sugar free.

Here are my top picks:

Wild Life Botanicals Sparkling Nude

Sugar: 2g per 100lm 

The taste: With delicate, champagne-like bubbles, this deliciously fruity wine boasts the freshness and zing of lime and mango. With aromas of gooseberry, greengage and young banana the finish is both dry and refreshing.

What customers are saying: "Beautiful crisp flavour, easy to drink. Makes it easy to forget it’s not the “real thing."  

Giesen 0% Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

Sugar: 1.8g per 100ml 

The taste: Everything you would expect from a classic Sauvignon Blanc, with flavours of fresh lime, juicy redcurrant and blackcurrant, smooth passionfruit and zesty lemon shortbread with a long dry finish. 

What customers are saying: "This sav blanc had the nose, colour and body of the alcohol version." 

ZERO+ Pale Ale

Sugar: Less than 1g per 100ml

Taste: A refreshing and easy-drinking Pale Ale brewed with Australian Hops, it has notes of caramel and a crisp and refreshing finish

What customers are saying: "This is the best zero alcohol pale ale I have tried."  

Monday Exotic Spice Non-Alcoholic G&T

Sugar: Zero

The taste: An exotically spicy take on a classic G&T.

What customers are saying:  "It has an intense spice that tingles the lips and is very moreish.:"

Margarita Moctail Bundle

Sugar: Zero 

Taste: This margarita mocktail has all the complexity and depth of a classic margarita.  

What customers are saying: "This non alcoholic Margarita is full of tangy flavours, loved it for everyday or would be great on a hot summer's day." 

SOURCES: Drinkaware – Alcohol and sugar

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