Excessive Liquor Consumption May Be Reduced By Increasing Non-Alcoholic Drinks Options: Study

Alcohol consumption may be curbed by increasing availability of non-alcoholic drinks.

Many people have turned to alcohol during lockdown to get over anxiety, restlessness and depression, basically to take the edge off. We witnessed people’s obsession with alcohol in India when the liquor shops opened after 45 days of lockdown. Excessive liquor consumption is harmful for health, and it’s all the more risky these days, as alcohol may also bring down the immunity level. So how to make people stop over drinking alcohol? Simple, just veer their attention towards non-alcoholic drinks. If the findings of a recent study are to be believed, wider availability of non-alcoholic drinks may reduce liquor consumption.

The researchers at NIHR Bristol Biomedical Research Centre and the Universities of Bristol and Cambridge, UK, carried out the research and concluded that people are more likely to opt for non-alcoholic drinks if they find more of them in the market as compared to alcoholic drinks. The results of the study were published in the journal BMC Public Health.

Dr Anna Blackwell, the corresponding author, said, “Alcohol consumption is among the top five risk factors for disease globally. Previous research has shown that increasing the availability of healthier food options can increase their selection and consumption relative to less healthy food. To our knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate that increasing the availability of non-alcoholic drinks, relative to alcoholic drinks in an online scenario, can increase their selection.”

The team gave an online task to the participants for the study. They offered eight drink options of a selection of alcoholic beer, non-alcoholic beer and soft drinks to the participants and 48 per cent of them choose a non-alcoholic drink when the proportion of non-alcoholic drink options increased from four (50 per cent) to six (75 per cent). When the proportion of non-alcoholic drink options was reduced from four to two (25 per cent), participants were 46 per cent less likely to choose a non-alcoholic drink. 

“Many licensed venues already offer several non-alcoholic options but these are often stored out of direct sight, for example in low-level fridges behind the bar. Our results indicate that making these non-alcoholic products more visible to customers may influence them to make healthier choices,” Blackwell added.

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