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Calorie Count on Alcohol


Monday, December 1st, 2008 Calorie Count on Alcohol

In a bid to reduce the binge drink culture, alcohol could soon see labels with calorific values on them with reference to a recent report by James Slack of the Mail (26 11 08).

It is argued that drinkers are inclined to ignore current information about how much should be consumed, but from a vanity perspective it is hoped particularly women will heed the warnings.

The proposals, from the Government’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, was last night condemned by the drinks industry.

There are arguments for both sides from the point of view that the drinks industry suggest all labelling will achieve is that drinkers will be more likely to skip a meal. More worrying is that alcohol needs to be drank on a full stomach not an empty one.

This is also supported by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association who say ‘It’s good in principle for consumers to have the information to make an informed choice but you wouldn’t want people choosing alcohol by calories or thinking they could have a drink and skip a meal.

However, The advisory council argue all alcohol bottles should carry labels warning of the ‘harm caused’, similar to those on cigarette packets. They state ‘Labelling could include calorie content and possibly specific warnings e.g increased risk of accidents.’ For example ‘A pint of lager = 2.3 units = 170 calories = a sausage roll’.

Another aspect to be considered is the increase of taxation in relation to how strong the drink is, the stronger the drink the more it will cost. There will also be a crackdown on happy hours and similar promotions once approved by the Prime Minister.

Supermarkets have also come under scrutiny from the advisory councils in that it is believed they sell alcohol as loss leader in the pursuit of attracting customers. It is argued that cheap availability encourages bulk purchase and consumption. Of specific concern is that the pricing puts alcohol more within the budgets of young people.

Perhaps a drink diary would be useful. Keeping a record of what you drink helps you to work out how much you’re drinking on average and whether you need to cut down.

Indeed drinkware have created an online diary whereby an individual can keep track of those units consumed. It also gives choice from the point of view that a person can choose the number, type and size of drinks you’ve had to give you a running total of the number of units and calories you are consuming.

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