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Would calorie labeling on alcohol help you?

Would calorie labeling on alcohol help you?

By Katherine Webb

Public health experts are calling for drinks companies to put nutritional labeling on all alcoholic beverages in an attempt to curb drinking levels and tackle obesity. 

Do people need to wake up to the fact that booze – not just food - could be a large part of their obesity problem? Would it make any difference having the calorie content on a bottle of wine? 

We really don’t want to think about calories when enjoying a few drinks on a Friday night. But around 10% of the average adult’s calorie intake comes from alcohol. Would you drink less if you knew the calorie content of everything you drank?

A new Royal Society for Public Health study shows that 80% of people haven’t a clue how many calories their drinks contain. People frequently check food labels for nutritional information to base their salad or sandwich choices on. But when it comes to alcohol we don’t seem to care so much.     

Add to this the fact that nearly 2/3 of British people are obese and you could argue that urgent action needs to be taken.

It’s not just the calories either. Alcohol also messes with your ‘hunger hormones’ making it difficult to lose weight. A drink or two triggers intense cravings for carb-rich foods. With your willpower weakened by the alcohol you’re much more likely to indulge! Alcohol also cannot be stored by the body so it’s released into the bloodstream, limiting the amount of fat the body can burn.

Do you know how much is in your favourite tipple? It might take more exercise than you think to burn it off:

  • One pint of 5% lager- 180 calories

Burn it off - 15 minutes jogging 

  • Large glass of wine (250ml) – 220 calories

Burn it off - 30 minutes cycling

  • Alcopop  - 228 calories

Burn it off - 20 minutes circuit training

  • Pint of cider - 216 calories

Burn it off - 25 minutes hard weight lifting

Would calorie labelling on alcohol help you? Do you burn it all off anyway? Let us know what you think.