Boozy calorie counting

By Judy Buttriss

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Alcoholic beverage

Judy Buttriss, director general, British Nutrition Foundation
Judy Buttriss, director general, British Nutrition Foundation
The Royal Society of Public Health’s call for calorie labelling of alcoholic drinks is a timely reminder that drinks contribute to energy intake.

Not only does alcohol itself provide seven calories per gram – almost as much as fat – alcoholic drinks invariably contribute to non-milk extrinsic sugars intake, which equates to 14% for men and 6% for women.

Just as the labelling of the units in a bottle of wine or beer will have been a shock to many, the calorie content may be another nudge for those who need to moderate their alcohol intake or indeed lose weight.

Unintended consequences

But, how will consumers respond and will highlighting the relatively low calorie content of spirits compared with beer or wine have unintended consequences? Will champagne consumption go up (it’s typically lower in calories)?

Given concerns about the drinking habits of some young people, especially women, it's important to consider the risk of calorie-conscious young women switching to stronger, lower calorie, forms of alcohol or interpreting the lower calorie content of spirits as a licence to drink more?

Visit www.nutrition.org.uk​ for facts and figures on alcohol and calories, and a sensible drinking guide.

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