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Calories in Alcohol

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ReReNotMe
ReReNotMe Posts: 63 Member
I'm from the UK and I know food packaging is required to have calories and nutrition information labelled clearly, a lot also using the traffic light kinda system to clearly show nutritional values in each serving.

Alcohol however doesn't need to adhere to this packaging. I'm a student and don't drink more than once every other month or so on a night out but when I do I can easily down 10+ shots/drinks in a night. Hell, as a med student I know most people in my lectures drink a lot more than I do (we're all binge drinkers)

It's not until recently when I've gone out of my way to look at how many calories and sugar are in these drinks I've realised how bad they are. 7 calories a gram! We all know the effects of Alcoholism and binge drinking on liver health but not many people know how many calories are packed into alcohol and how much in contributes to obesity.

I know we have minimum pricing per unit on alcohol in the UK but I honestly think having nutritional information on alcohol would be a better deterrent for alcohol consumption.

What are people's thoughts on this just out of curiosity?

Replies

  • sollyn23l2
    sollyn23l2 Posts: 1,673 Member
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    Yep. Most people are blissfully unaware of how many calories they're actually drinking when they knock back their evening 6-pack. Because yes, at least in the US, alcohol doesn't have to list nutritional information.
  • PeachHibiscus
    PeachHibiscus Posts: 163 Member
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    I don't drink so I wasn't aware that alcohol doesn't list the nutritional information. I don't know if adding this information would deter people from drinking or not. I actually think many people are aware that too much beer and/or other alcohol can cause weight gain but many don't care or don't want to admit it to themselves. The whole point of "Tastes great, less filling" and other commercials for Lite beers is to advertise they have less calories than regular beer. I also remember commercials for lower carb beers back when that was all the craze. The terms "beer belly" and "beer gut" are not flattering so people can definitely associate beer and alcohol with obesity.

    I guess it would depend on a person's relationship with alcohol. For someone who drinks occasionally, and is truly unaware of the caloric content, it would be useful to show the proper portions. For others, who have different relationships with alcohol, that's where it gets more complicated.

    I had an alcoholic uncle who later became a type 2 diabetic. He did not give up beer after his diabetes diagnosis. What he did give up were both legs under the knee and most of his eyesight. He drank until the day he died. For someone like that, a nutritional label is meaningless.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,867 Member
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    I don't think having nutritional information on alcohol is going to deter the vast majority of people who drink from drinking. Most people in general aren't particularly calorie aware, even with food...alcohol is a drug, and all that matters for many is getting their high.
  • sollyn23l2
    sollyn23l2 Posts: 1,673 Member
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    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    I don't think having nutritional information on alcohol is going to deter the vast majority of people who drink from drinking. Most people in general aren't particularly calorie aware, even with food...alcohol is a drug, and all that matters for many is getting their high.

    Totally agreed. Heck, having nutrition labels on ice cream doesn't stop people from eating it.
  • lynn_glenmont
    lynn_glenmont Posts: 10,020 Member
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    sollyn23l2 wrote: »
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    I don't think having nutritional information on alcohol is going to deter the vast majority of people who drink from drinking. Most people in general aren't particularly calorie aware, even with food...alcohol is a drug, and all that matters for many is getting their high.

    Totally agreed. Heck, having nutrition labels on ice cream doesn't stop people from eating it.

    But it sure is helpful for those of us who want to manage our calorie intake. I can eat ice cream, but the nutritional label helps me budget for it.
  • sollyn23l2
    sollyn23l2 Posts: 1,673 Member
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    sollyn23l2 wrote: »
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    I don't think having nutritional information on alcohol is going to deter the vast majority of people who drink from drinking. Most people in general aren't particularly calorie aware, even with food...alcohol is a drug, and all that matters for many is getting their high.

    Totally agreed. Heck, having nutrition labels on ice cream doesn't stop people from eating it.

    But it sure is helpful for those of us who want to manage our calorie intake. I can eat ice cream, but the nutritional label helps me budget for it.

    Absolutely. I use nutrition labels all the time. It's the only way you really know what's in what you're eating/drinking. It's completely stupid that alcohol doesn't do it
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 27,996 Member
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    I do think the calories should be on alcohol, but I'm not sure how much of a deterrent it would be.

    In the US, all big chain restaurants are required to post calories. I find this helpful, and make decisions accordingly, but I'm sure I am in the minority of customers. (And even if 100% of the people reading this also use restaurant calories, we are not a scientific sample :wink: )

    But meanwhile, many alcoholic beverages are listed in https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html and thus in the MFP database.
  • middlehaitch
    middlehaitch Posts: 8,487 Member
    edited July 2023
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    Interesting observation.
    I drink a tinned mixed gin drink made locally. It has the ingredients, nutrition, and calories on the box and each tin.
    Partner is dropping a bit of weight at the moment so he rolled up with some Bud Zero to alternate with his regular IPA. It too has ingredients, nutrition, and calories on the box and tin.

    Fair enough the Bud Zero has a listing of 0% alcohol so is probably treated the same as any other non alcahol drink, but I find it interesting that a pre mixed drink with 5% alcahol does give so much info. (It’s the only pre mix I’ve had so don’t know if that is the norm )

    As far as needing the info for cals etc on the product, I didn’t find I needed it when losing or maintaining. That could be because I’m a pretty pedestrian drinker, beer, wine, gin, so I soon learnt the average cals in a serving of each and could easily add them to my cal goal as I drank.

    High cal cocktails, love them, drink them on holiday, have no idea how the calories could be accounted for, but fortunately I’m active enough not to worry.

    It would be interesting if cocktail lounges (do they still have those?) had to put cals etc next to each drink.

    These are west coast Canada observations, USA could differ.

    Cheers, h.
    Should add I’m a social drinker, don’t have a problem with alcohol, and didn’t exclude it while losing weight.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,824 Member
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    I'm USA. The straight spirits are easy, wine isn't super tough (though the sugar content variability matters, and that can vary a little bit, unpredictably).

    But craft beer? Boy, golly. It's easy to estimate the alcohol calories from the ABV, but so many of these have residual sugars, more/less carbohydrates, sometimes fruit infusions or other strange things. It would be nice to have a product specific label, just as a convenience. It's not a deal-breaker at my level of craft beer consumption, but I'd appreciate better data.
  • ddsb1111
    ddsb1111 Posts: 844 Member
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    I was just googling the calories in a Modelo Especial in the grocery store yesterday because it was on sale. 147 if you’re wondering. I went for the Corona Light instead because it has 99 calories even though it was a little more expensive. Maybe it’s just me 🤷🏼‍♀️
  • SafariGalNYC
    SafariGalNYC Posts: 1,013 Member
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    I’d love to see caloric info on alcoholic beverages.. however.. I don’t think it will make a great impact on intake.

    There is nutritional info on high cal foods and it hasn’t stopped obesity.
  • ddsb1111
    ddsb1111 Posts: 844 Member
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    xbowhunter wrote: »
    I was drinking roughly 500 calories of various booze daily and gained 15lbs in one year.

    I decided to quit drinking on Aug 01 2023. Best decision I ever made.

    With me it's all or nothing. So, from that day forward alcohol will not enter my system again.... :)

    My energy level and sleep have not been this good in a very long time. I hope my liver will forgive me some-day! :)

    Anything helpful you recommend? A book or app? I’m not an alcoholic but cutting back or stopping for energy and sleep sounds pretty nice.
  • middlehaitch
    middlehaitch Posts: 8,487 Member
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    @ddsb1111 you may find the intro to this thread, or the thread itself, useful for finding ways to cut back.
    There are a number of resources in the intro and a decent booklist towards the end.
    I’ve always heard the Alan Carr (sp?) book is very helpful.

    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10912614/less-alcohol-april-2024-one-day-at-a-time/p1

    Cheers, h.
  • xbowhunter
    xbowhunter Posts: 1,006 Member
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    ddsb1111 wrote: »
    xbowhunter wrote: »
    I was drinking roughly 500 calories of various booze daily and gained 15lbs in one year.

    I decided to quit drinking on Aug 01 2023. Best decision I ever made.

    With me it's all or nothing. So, from that day forward alcohol will not enter my system again.... :)

    My energy level and sleep have not been this good in a very long time. I hope my liver will forgive me some-day! :)

    Anything helpful you recommend? A book or app? I’m not an alcoholic but cutting back or stopping for energy and sleep sounds pretty nice.

    I watched some good YouTube videos on cutting back. Once you realize how damaging alcohol is to humans you may find it's just not appealing anymore. I still have the occasional drink, but I don't overdo it and to be honest it's lost its appeal for me. I'd rather have a n ice cold glass of lemon water now and call it a day... lol
  • LiveOnceBeHappy
    LiveOnceBeHappy Posts: 433 Member
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    ReReNotMe wrote: »
    I'm from the UK and I know food packaging is required to have calories and nutrition information labelled clearly, a lot also using the traffic light kinda system to clearly show nutritional values in each serving.

    Alcohol however doesn't need to adhere to this packaging. I'm a student and don't drink more than once every other month or so on a night out but when I do I can easily down 10+ shots/drinks in a night. Hell, as a med student I know most people in my lectures drink a lot more than I do (we're all binge drinkers)

    It's not until recently when I've gone out of my way to look at how many calories and sugar are in these drinks I've realised how bad they are. 7 calories a gram! We all know the effects of Alcoholism and binge drinking on liver health but not many people know how many calories are packed into alcohol and how much in contributes to obesity.

    I know we have minimum pricing per unit on alcohol in the UK but I honestly think having nutritional information on alcohol would be a better deterrent for alcohol consumption.

    What are people's thoughts on this just out of curiosity?

    I got nothing for you, except stop drinking or drink minimally! I can't lose weight when I drink and I gained a lot of my weight with bottles of red wine! Interestingly, I was having a very hard time quitting drinking until I made the solid decision to get back into my summer shorts. That's when I just quit. Okay, it's only been a week, but this is a huge change from a bottle a day!
  • drmwc
    drmwc Posts: 998 Member
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    I gave up drinking 5 years ago, as I wanted to lose weight and it struck me as a useful tool in the diet. For me, it wasn't only the calories in the alcohol which was an issue, but also those stemming from bad decisions. (A late night donner kebab followed by a fried breakfast was typical.)

    I'm also from the UK so followed your pattern of not drinking much most days but having the odd massive binge on nights out.