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Kristen Bell allows her daughters to drink nonalcoholic beer. Experts say it's a bad idea

The actor shares Lincoln, 10, and Delta, 8, with her husband, Dax Shepard.
/ Source: TODAY

Kristen Bell’s daughters Lincoln, 10, and Delta, 8, have a taste for nonalcoholic beer — and will even order the drink at a restaurant.

During a recent appearance on “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” Bell explained that her husband, Dax Shepard, is a “recovering addict, but likes nonalcoholic beer.”

She then recalled how Shepard would grab a bottle to enjoy on family strolls when Delta was a baby.

“So, he’d pop one open, he’d have her on his chest and we’d walk and like look at the sunset,” the actor, 43, said. “So… she was like pawing at it and sometimes she would like suck on the rim of it.”

Bell suspects that Delta likes nonalcoholic beer not because of the flavor, but because “it feels to her like something special, something daddy.”

“You can judge me if you want,” Bell added. “That’s your problem.”

In 2020, Bell shared a story about Lincoln and Delta sipping O’Doul’s during their Zoom school sessions.  O'Doul's contains less than 0.5% of alcohol by volume.

“I’m like, ‘What must these other parents and teacher think of me?’” Bell said on the “Say Yes! with Carla Hall” podcast. “And then I remind myself, ‘You don’t care, Kristen. They can pretend like you’re doing something wrong.”

She went on to describe nonalcoholic beer as “essentially a bubbly juice.”

“There’s nothing wrong with it,” Bell reasoned. “We also talk to them very much about (Dax’s) sobriety and the importance of it, and why Daddy can’t drink.”

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) does not recommend that children consume nonalcoholic liquor, according to Laura Kwako, who is chief of its Treatment, Health Services and Recovery branch.

“One of the potential risks is that kids who drink these beverages may become accustomed to the bitterness of hops, or the flavors associated with wine, and they then may be more likely to try alcoholic beverages at an earlier age,” Kwako tells

Kwako also notes that the average weight of an 8 year old is 57 pounds, while the average weight of an adult female is 166 and 200 pounds for an adult male.

"Nonalcoholic beer can contain up to 0.5% alcohol legally and some probably contain more," Kwako says. "So for an 8 year old, a nonalcoholic beer would be equal to about one-third of a standard beer for adults. Enough to potentially produce a small rewarding buzz that establishes positive expectancies."

A positive expectancy refers to what someone's beliefs are about the outcomes of drinking alcohol, according to Kwako. For example, if someone has a positive expectancy about alcohol, they might think, "If I drink, I'll feel more relaxed."

Dr. Deepa Camenga, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Substance Use and Prevention, offers a similar take.

“We don’t have many studies which examine the risks of nonalcoholic drinks in U.S. children, however at least one research study (shows) drinking nonalcoholic beer as a teen may increase the likelihood of risky alcohol use as as a teen,” Camenga tells “In other words, children who try nonalcoholic beer may be more likely to drink alcoholic beverages outside of the home and without the supervision of a parent.”

Camenga notes that there are also “low levels of alcohol in nonalcoholic beer, which can still effect a child or teenager’s developing brain.”

“As a pediatrician, I advise parents to not offer nonalcoholic beverages to their children,” Camenga says.