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Alcohol

Government guidelines on alcohol have recently been updated. Changes have been made in response to new evidence about the links between alcohol and risks to our health.

How much alcohol?

No one can say that drinking alcohol is absolutely safe, however the new government guidelines advise that you can lower your risk of harm to your health if you stick to the guidelines recommended.

Men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week.

14 units is equivalent to:

  • 6 pints of gluten-free beer
  • 6 glasses of wine
  • 14 single small shots of spirits.

If you do choose to drink as much as 14 units per week, then you should try to spread this out evenly over three days or more. Try to have several days a week where you don’t drink any alcohol and avoid binge drinking.

You should not drink any alcohol if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy.

What alcohol can be included on a gluten-free diet?

Cider, wine, sherry, spirits, port and liqueurs are gluten-free.

Even when a cereal that contains gluten is used as an ingredient, all spirits are distilled during the manufacturing process and this process removes any trace of gluten.  Therefore, all spirit drinks (including malt whisky which is made from barley) are safe for people with coeliac disease.

What alcohol do I need to avoid?

Beer, lagers, stouts and ales contain varying amounts of gluten and are not suitable for a gluten-free diet.

Specially manufactured gluten-free beers, lagers and ales are available and are listed in your Food and Drink Directory in the ‘Drinks’ section, or if you are a Member you can search our electronic Food and Drink Directory.

Alcohol can have side effects whether or not you have coeliac disease. More information on sensible drinking.

Labelling

Drinks with an alcoholic strength by volume (abv) of more than 1.2% do not have to list all ingredients. If they contain an allergen (including gluten-containing cereals) they must declare this on the packaging, for example ‘contains wheat’.

An exception to this is that if the name of the drink contains the name of the allergen they do not have to do this, for example ‘wheat beer’ would not have to state it contains wheat. It should however be clear on the packaging which allergens are present.

For drinks with an alcoholic strength by volume (abv) of 1.2% or less, all ingredients must be listed and allergens emphasised, for example in bold. More information on reading labels.

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