What Is Alcohol Bloating And How to Avoid It

Mar 28, 2022

Alcohol has been linked with a lot of negative health outcomes from sleep disturbance to liver failure. However, when it comes to drinking, there are a lot of side effects that fly under the radar. While bloating is one of the lesser explored side effects, it’s actually one of the most common effects drinking alcohol can have on the body.

I wanted to find out more about alcohol bloating, so I sat down for a chat with naturopath Rachel Aldridge

Rachel Aldridge holding a jar with herbs

What is alcohol bloating?

Put simply, alcohol bloating is when your tummy feels sore, uncomfortable and bloated after drinking. And the bad news is that it can hang around for days.

Why does alcohol cause bloating? Rachel tells me that it comes down to the impact that alcohol has on your digestive system.

“Alcohol increases inflammation in your gut, reduces the production of digestive enzymes, which means that your ability to break down food is imparied, and encourages bacterial overgrowth, which is like having more bad guys versus good guys in your gut,” Rachel explains.

While alcohol bloating can be temporary, over time, alcohol can increase intestinal permeability (also known as leaky gut) and is even one of the causes of Small Intestinal Bowel Overgrowth (SIBO).

Rachel also notes that the sugar in alcoholic drinks can exacerbate that sore, bloated feeling. “A glass of white wine can have as much as a teaspoon of sugar in it (4.12g),” she says.

And on top of this, food intolerances can exacerbate things further. Rachel notes that gluten can be a big issue here.

How to avoid alcohol bloating

The first step, according to Rachel, is to check that you’re not having too much alcohol, too often. “Overdoing it will have a huge impact on how well your digestive system and liver is functioning on an ongoing basis. If it’s unhappy it will bloat quickly,” she says.

Mindful drinking is a great way to reduce your alcohol consumption and alcohol bloating. “Slow down and enjoy your drinks instead of drinking them too fast, you can often forget how much you have actually had to drink,” says Rachel.

Related: What is mindful drinking?

“Be aware that your body will prioritise metabolising alcohol as it sees it as a toxin over food, so if you’re drinking and having a big meal the food will take second priority,” she adds.

Five alternative drinks to avoid bloating

When it comes to reducing alcohol bloating the key is to reduce or remove alcohol. But the following drinks are also low in sugar.

Hop Valley H2O

The product: Made with hops alone, Hop Valley H2O is a refreshing hop infused seltzer. Featuring the floral, fruity and citrus notes.

Worth noting: Gluten free and sugar free.

What customers are saying: “Loved this! A crisp, hoppy, beer-like taste - very drinkable over summer, without the sugar, gluten or alcohol. It became a favourite after my first bottle.”

Naked Life Wimbledon Spritz

The product: This award winning RTD perfectly captures the classic Pimms and lemonade. Featuring notes of lime, ginger, cucumber along with bitter gin-style flavours, this award winning drink is complex and layered.

Worth noting: Sugar free, no artificial sweetener

What customers are saying: “Really liked these, nice flavour, not too sweet and did not bloat me like most spritz. Love that they contain zero sugar and are low in calories. Will def buy again once back in stock.”

Next Destination Barossa Valley Shiraz


The product: Crafted by seasoned winemakers from the Barossa Valley, the Next Destination Barossa Valley Shiraz is a 5-star rated, one of a kind alcohol-free red wine.

Worth noting: Low in sugar at 2.5g per 100mls 

What customers are saying: "I haven't had much luck with 

This is the one you’ve been looking for. Beautiful aroma. Dry and full of that big Barossa mouthfeel. I’m glad I believed the hype - this is lovely, and yes, very, very reminiscent of 389. Far superior to the Wolf Blass Zero. Just astonishing.

Giesen 0% Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

The product: Dry, crisp and refreshing, Giesen’s 0% Sauvignon Blanc is high in quality and excellent value. Featuring aromas of fresh lime, redcurrant and lemon shortbread along with notes of passionfruit, this non-alcoholic wine is light and invigorating on the palate.

Worth noting: Low in sugar at 1.3g per 100mls

What customers are saying: “This is the best non-alcoholic wine I have tried to date, it's fresh, crisp and pleasingly low ín calories, sugar and carb. I didn't miss the alcohol with this one.”

Big Drop Pine Trail Pale Ale

The product: Amber coloured with delicate, rosy aromas this dry-hopped pale ale features a light and limey bite on the palate and a well-balanced, bitter finish.

Worth noting: Low in gluten and low in sugar at 2/1g per 100mls

What customers are saying: “I have been looking for a gluten free beer for a while, this one hit the nail on the head!”

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