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Lessons From Lockdown – No, Low And Slow Is Still The Way To Go

The NZ Alcohol Beverages Council (NZABC) says research shows Kiwis used lockdown as an opportunity to embrace the ‘no, low and slow’ approach to drinking. As a result, it’s hoped these behaviours will continue after lockdown.

“The majority of Kiwis have continued to be moderate and responsible drinkers even under the pressures of lockdown. A recent government report 1 shows that around one-third (36%) of New Zealanders said they had not had a drink over a four week period. Of those who did have a drink, around fifty per cent are drinking the same amount as they usually do, and one-third are drinking less,” says Bridget MacDonald, NZABC’s Executive Director.

“Kiwis are making good decisions around alcohol based on their personal circumstances, situation and their lifestyle. ‘No, low and slow’ is still the way to go. It’s always okay to say no to alcohol, choose a drink that is low alcohol or to simply savour your drink slowly,” says Bridget.

The research also showed that people took time over lockdown to think about their health and wellbeing, with 35% saying they were using the time to reduce how much they drink. This follows global trends of people choosing more no- and low-alcohol drinks and better-for-me options. Over lockdown, the most significant shift in sales has been in a surge in low-carb beer, up around 60%.

“As we move down the Alert Levels and life returns to a new normal, we expect the importance of no-and low-alcohol beverages will bounce to a higher level than before lockdown as people have a renewed focus around lifestyle choices and their health and wellbeing. As an industry we’ll continue supporting this through producing more better-for-me options and supporting alcohol education initiatives,” says Bridget.

Kiwis are still limited socially under Alert Level 3, so may have a little spare time on their hands to learn a thing or two about alcohol – like, that our bodies can only process one standard drink an hour, and just how much alcohol is in a standard drink.

“All drinks aren’t the same, so knowing what a standard drink looks like can help us track how much we’re drinking, so we make better drinking decisions. Check out the ‘Know your standards’ page on cheers.org.nz to find out what a standard drink looks like,” says Bridget.

Education is key to helping people understand how alcohol can affect them and to make better drinking decisions. You can get handy tips and information to help you make better choices about your drinking at cheers.org.nz, or try the interactive website alcoholandme.org.nz to test if you can pour a standard drink.

“We all have a part to play in getting through the challenges of Covid-19 – we can make sensible drinking decisions for ourselves when we’re at home and support others to drink responsibly and safely – ‘no, low and slow’ is good common sense guide to take us from lockdown and beyond,” says Bridget.

Tips to go ‘no, low or slow’ over lockdown and beyond!

  • Go ‘no, low or slow’. It’s okay to choose no- or low-alcohol drinks. If you choose to drink, pace yourself and enjoy your drink slowly.
  • Know what a standard drink is and keep an eye on how many you are drinking.
  • Drink plenty of water, especially in between drinks to stay hydrated.
  • Eat when you are drinking.
  • Support others to stay safe and social. Check-in with family and friends to help them stay connected.
  • Check out cheers.org.nz and alcoholandme.org.nz for more information on what a standard drink is and how to make better drinking decisions.
  • Refer to the Ministry of Health’s Low-risk alcohol drinking advice. Reduce your long-term health risks by drinking no more than:
  1. two standard drinks a day for women and no more than 10 standard drinks a week,
  2. three standard drinks a day for men and no more than 15 standard drinks a week,
  3. AND have at least two alcohol-free days every week.

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