What the study says
Researchers in the UK analysed the MRI brain scans of 36,000 people along with qualitative data about their drinking habits.
The findings were sobering. A 50 year old who consumes two drinks a day has a brain that is ten years older than a person who doesn’t drink alcohol. The results were more severe for those who drank more than two alcoholic drinks a day. Those who limited their alcoholic intake to a single drink a day had brains that were two years older.
What does this mean?
Remi Daviet, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and one of the authors of the study says that the study suggests that the effect of drinking on the brain is exponential.
“It gets worse the more you drink,” he said. “So, one additional drink in a day could have more of an impact than any of the previous drinks that day. That means that cutting back on that final drink of the night might have a big effect in terms of brain ageing.”
Related: Five Facts About Tonic Water
Which is worse, beer, wine or spirits?
One of the interesting things about this study is the way that it has been reported with many headlines suggesting that the study focused on beer. For example, The Project reported ‘A new study has revealed that just two beers a day can age your brain by the equivalent of 10 years.’
In fact, the study looked at overall alcohol consumption rather than the type of alcohol that was consumed. In other words, it doesn’t matter if you are drinking beer, wine or spirits - alcohol is bad news for your brain, even in moderate amounts.
How to cut down
While this study is pretty comforting, the good news is that it’s never been easier to cut down on alcohol. Non-alcoholic drinks are easy to swap with your normal drink, and many customers tell me that when they start noticing the benefits, they drink less and less alcohol. People who switch to alcohol-free drinks sleep better, have more energy and a more positive mood.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You can reduce your alcohol consumption by switching to non-alcoholic drinks a couple of nights a week, mid-week or every other drink. Find a method that works for you.
5 non-alcoholic drinks to try
If you’re new to non-alcoholic drinks then the following five options are a great place to start.
The product: Country winner at the World’s Best Beer Awards, Heaps Normal is a best-seller at Sans Drinks. Featuring tropical and citrus aromas along with a subtle malty sweetness, this beer really hits the spot.
What customers are saying: “I have drunk this both at home and out at a bar and you would not even know the difference between this and an alcoholic beer. I loved it so much I bought a whole 24 pack.”
The product: Australian winemakers 1920 Wines use a combination of traditional winemaking techniques and cutting edge alcohol removal to craft their wine. This Pinot Grigio features classic flavours such as Nashi pear, apple and lemon.
What customers are saying: “At the first sip I could have sworn it was a regular alcoholic Pinot Grigio. It could taste all the beautiful flavours of Nashi Pear, apple and lemon but I also detected a wonderful honey note too. It’s a beautiful wine and would pair perfectly with a fresh summer salad. What a treat!”
The Product: This non-alcoholic sparkling wine has received glowing reviews from critics around the globe, including BBC Food. Featuring crisp apple aromas and a dry Champagne-style flavour profile, this wine is also low in calories at just 14 calories per 100mls.
What customers are saying: “I was so impressed with this one - it tastes so much like the real thing! I enjoyed a few glasses on a Thursday night and was expecting to feel a bit dusty when I woke up the next day, as I'd completely forgotten there was no alcohol in it.”
The product: Pre-mixed with a cuban-style non-alcoholic rum, Ms Sans Mojito features the perfect balance of fresh garden mint, Tahitian lime and authentic rum flavours. Easy to make (just add 125mls to a glass with ice and top with soda water) and low in calories at just 18 calories per 100mls this mocktail is a Sans Drinks best-seller.
What customers are saying: “One of the most accurate tasting n/a cocktails I’ve had since I stopped drinking. Always loved a good mojito, so it was nice to have one again. I really loved that although it’s low sugar, it didn’t have the after taste that a lot of the other low sugar cocktails have.”
The product: A non-alcoholic alternative to the popular 'Spritz’ this pre-mixed drink features bittersweet orange and mediterranean flavours. Best served over ice with a slice of orange and a green olive.
What customers are saying: “So good. Felt like I was drinking alcohol and the authentic flavour was amazing!!! Would not have known if I was handed at a bar!”