“Three Budweisers equal a Quarter Pounder”

“Three Budweisers equal a Quarter Pounder” is the headline of a newspaper story reporting the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) proposal for nutritional labels on alcoholic beverages. 1

The CSPI proposal is a good one but doesn’t go far enough. It only calls for listing the caloric content of an alcoholic drink. But Americans also care about such important things as total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and salt.

By only calling for caloric information, the CSPI proposal leads to such erroneous and dangerous conclusions as “drinking a beer is one-third as bad for health as eating a greasy burger.” But a hamburger is loaded with fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and salt. The alcoholic drinks aren’t. 2

Food Calories Total Fat Saturated Fat Cholesterol Sodium
Quarter Pounder 430 21 g 8 g 70 mg 770 mg
Regular Beer 146 0 0 0 18 mg
Shot of Liquor (whiskey,
rum, vodka, etc.)
97 0 0 0 Trace
Glass of Red Wine 89 0 0 0 5 mg

A nutritional label that only lists calories is a deceptive and misleading label.


  • 1. Holland, J. Three Budweisers equal a Quarter Pounder. Contra Costa Times, 1-1-04.
  • 2. Nutritional data for Quarter Pounder obtained from McDonald Restaurants website (www.mcdonalds.com). Nutritional information for regular beer, 80 proof distilled spirits, and red wine obtained from United States Department of Agriculture: Gebhard, Susan E. and Thomas, Robin G. Nutritional Value of Foods. Washington, DC: USDA, 2002 (Home and Garden Bulletin #72).

Filed Under: Health