Calorie labels on alcohol mean drinkers consume less
Drinkers consume 400 fewer calories during a night at the pub when drinks have calorie labels on them, experiments have found.
The Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH), which ran the trials, is calling for labels to be introduced in a bid to slim down Britain’s waistlines and tackle risky levels of drinking.
Officials said few people had any idea that a large glass of wine could contain as many calories as a doughnut.
Their survey of 2,000 people found that eight out of ten people had no idea or wrongly estimated the calorie content of alcoholic drink.
Two in three of those polled supported the idea of displaying calories on drinks labels.
The European Commission is considering whether to make unit and calorie labels on alcohol mandatory, with a decision expected by December.
The RSPH said such labels should be introduced in order to tackle and Britain’s obesity epidemic, and reduce levels of harmful drinking.
Its own experiment, involving two groups of pub drinkers, found those who were given calorie information cut back on high calorie drinks, or drank fewer alcoholic drinks in total.
The average adult who drinks alcohol gets about 10 percent of their calorie intake from alcohol, the RSPH said, meaning that a reduction in calories consumed via alcohol could make a major difference to the nation’s waistlines.
The Populus survey of 2,117 people found 67 per cent said they “actively support” the addition of calorie labels on packaging of alcohol drinks.
Eight in ten did not know or incorrectly estimated the calorie content of a large glass of wine, which is between 150 and 200 calories, depending on its strength.
Almost 90 per cent did not know or wrongly estimated the calories in a pint of lager, which on average has around 180 calories.
A Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Doughnut has 190 calories.
British Beer Association say they are not against alcohol calorie labelling The European Commission has said it will make a decision by December on extending nutrition labelling, including calorie labelling, to alcoholic products.
Alcoholic beverages are currently not recognised as food and are therefore exempted, under existing European legislation, from normal food labelling.
Shirley Cramer, chief executive of RSPH said: “Calorie labelling has been successfully introduced for a wide range of food products and there is now a clear public appetite for this information to be extended to alcohol to help individuals make informed choices.”
She said many people found calorie labels had a greater impact on them than knowing how many units of alcohol they were consuming.
“With two in three adults overweight or obese and given that adults who drink get approximately 10 percent of their calories from alcohol, this move could make a major difference to waistlines of the nation,” she said.
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