Health experts call for calorie labels on alcoholic drinks

03rd November 2014 - Fine Cut

A group of the UK's leading health experts have suggested a new approach needs to be taken to the labelling of alcoholic beverages.

The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) has revealed new research that indicates the majority of consumers were unaware of the calorie content of such drinks. As a result, the RSPH believes this lack of knowledge could be directly linked to the country's high levels of obesity.

According to the study, 80 per cent of the 2,000 respondents failed to identify how many calories are in a large glass of wine,  while 60 per cent did not know how many were in a pint of lager.

In response to this, the RSPH has put forward a proposal that alcoholic drinks display their calorie content on their labels. Currently, this information is only required of food products, although 67 per cent of those involved in the survey said they would support a similar move for the drinks industry.

A decision on whether or not this advice will be followed could come as soon as December, with the European Commission pledging to reveal details on potential new legislation as soon as possible.

Perhaps understandably, reaction from the alcoholic beverage sector has been against such a move. The BBC reports that in a small pub experiment conducted by the RSPH, patrons who were aware of the calorie content of what they were drinking consumed 400 fewer calories - and therefore fewer drinks - than those who did not have access to the information.

As well as beer and wine, drinkers who use high-sugar mixers with their spirits are exposing themselves to an even great calorie intake, which could suggest that further education is needed to tackle those who consume different combinations of drinks.

"We would argue that in addition to this information, calorie content should be included with some urgency," the RSPH's research paper reads.

Posted by Simon Tourle

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