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Does consuming non-alcoholic beer increase blood alcohol concentration?

Tuesday, January 16, 2024, 11:06 GMT+7
Does consuming non-alcoholic beer increase blood alcohol concentration?
A traffic police officer uses a breathalyzer to test a man’s blood alcohol concentration on a street in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

With numerous non-alcoholic beer options available in Vietnam, many people have questioned if it can induce intoxication. Is there a rise in blood alcohol concentration (BAC) if a person undergoes a breathalyzer test after consuming non-alcoholic beer?

Recently, there has been a shift to non-alcoholic beer due to its perceived safety for driving.

Many people believe that BAC will not escalate after consuming alcohol-free beer.

Providing a clearer insight, Dr. Nguyen Minh Duc from Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine and Ho Chi Minh City Oncology Hospital explained that non-alcoholic beer undergoes an additional step during production -- the removal of alcohol by distillation at low temperatures to allow alcohol evaporation. 

Analyzing the mechanism, Dr. Duc asserted that if barley-based beer is distilled and separated from alcohol, it not only poses no harm to the liver but can also benefit digestion, making it less harmful compared to alcoholic beer.

Addressing the concern about BAC when a person consumes non-alcoholic beer, he clarified that in principle, if the beer is truly alcohol-free, blowing into a breathalyzer will not result in an increased BAC level.

Similarly, Dr. Tran Ngoc Luu Phuong, a gastroenterology and hepatology specialist at Nguyen Tri Phuong Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, said that non-alcoholic beer has all alcohol removed during production. 

Even in large quantities, it does not lead to intoxication, as there is no alcohol present in the bloodstream, preventing an increase in BAC during breathalyzer tests.

Dr. Phuong emphasized that the detrimental health effects of alcohol stem from the presence of alcohol itself, making non-alcoholic beer a relatively safe option. 

However, he acknowledged that some drinkers may find non-alcoholic beer unsatisfying, lacking the intoxicating effect that accompanies the taste of conventional beer.

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Bao Anh - Xuan Mai / Tuoi Tre News

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