SPANIARDS are the biggest consumers of non-alcoholic beer, according to a survey.

The country guzzled a total 584,1 million litres of low or alcohol-free beer in 2012, a third more than second place Germany, according to research agency Euromonitor.

Spain even outdrank the Middle East, where alcohol consumption is frowned upon, or illegal.

The researchers cite strict drink driving laws, new health fads, and a culture of drinking to mingle rather than to get drunk as possible reasons for the results.

Despite healthier drink choices, the country continues to have the highest percentage of cigarette smokers aged 15 and over in the developed world.