Norelle Done | HealthGreatness

Alcoholism is affecting millions of people worldwide and in the United States. It’s the oldest and most widely abused drug in the world, and currently affects approximately 15 million people in the U.S. alone with dependency or abuse.

Individuals who are recovering from alcohol addiction or dependence face a lot of struggles – one of the lesser known is diet. Some popular foods and ingredients in our normal diet actually contain alcohol, and may pose risk of relapse or additional difficulty for recovering alcoholics.

Here are some foods and beverages that recovering alcoholics should avoid:

Dijon mustard produced by select brands has trace amounts of alcohol in it.


Cheese or pate that is wine-flavored often includes wine in the production of the cheese or pate, and the alcohol remains behind to flavor the food.

Sugar-free gum often contains alcohol as the sweetener. And mouthwash and breath mints can also have small amounts of alcohol.

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Hot sauces for Mexican food or BBQ may also contain alcohol. Check the label before you douse your taco in hot sauce, or lather your wings with hot barbecue.

Protein bars and some energy drinks can include alcohol in their ingredients. Many energy drinks are alcohol-free, but you should still check the nutrition facts and ingredients to be sure.

Kombucha is approximately 0.5-3 percent alcohol, depending on how long it was fermented. Store-bought brands often contain more alcohol than home-brewed kombucha.

Flavor extracts such as vanilla, peppermint, and almond extract may contain alcohol – both pure and artificial flavor extracts. Baked goods with these extracts will still retain about 40 percent of their alcohol content, even after baking for 15 minutes. Read the label! For these and the more obvious liquor-containing cooking ingredients, there are non-alcoholic substitutes. Click here for details.

Desserts often contain alcohol, even if it’s not as obvious as liqueur-filled chocolate, for instance. Avoid desserts such as cherries jubilee, mousse, flambé, black forest cake, or fruit cake.

Alcohol-free wine or beer, despite being labeled as ‘alcohol-free’ often still has trace amounts of alcohol.

Cooking spray often also includes alcohol, and unless it is cooked at very high temperatures, still retains the alcoholic content in the food. Use olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil for healthier, alcohol-free substitutes.