Beverage alcohol nutrition labels are needed. They should include not only calories but also other facts. That includes fats, cholesterol, and sodium or salt.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) proposes nutrition labels on alcoholic beverages. Its proposal is a good one but doesn’t go far enough. It only calls for labeling the calories 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 erroneous conclusions For example, in reporting the CSPI proposal, one newspaper gave the story a misleading headline. It was “Three Budweisers equal a Quarter Pounder.” By only calling for caloric information, the CSPI proposal leads to such a false conclusion.
The erroneous conclusion is that drinking a regular beer is one-third as bad for health as eating a big hamburger. Of course, lite beers have fewer calories than a regular beer. For example, a Bud Select 55 has only 55 calories. But even comparing a regular beer is misleading. That’s because a hamburger is loaded with fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and salt.
And how many eat a hamburger without fries and a soft drink?
This table gives nutritional information.
|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 Spirits (whiskey,|
rum, vodka, etc.)
|Glass of Red Wine||89||0||0||0||5 mg|
Label facts on calories, fats, cholesterol, sodium, and other facts is very useful to consumers. Millions of people use nutrition labels to help them make wise diet and health decisions. And consumers have a right to know the contents of what they eat and drink.
However, a nutrition label that only lists calories is a deceptive and misleading label.
Resources: Alcohol Nutrition Labels Needed
Calder, P. Nutrition. London:n CRC, 2018.
Insel, P. et al. Discovering Nutrition. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett, 2019.
Whitney, E. et al. Understanding Nutrition. S. Melbourne, Vic: Cenage, 2019.
Alcoholic Beverage Nutrition Labels are Needed to Help Consumers
Alcohol Labeling Public Support. Strongly Favors Nutritional Labels
CSPI on Drinking and Smoking: Center for Science in the Public Interest
Nutritional data for Quarter Pounder from McDonald Restaurants. Nutritional information for regular beer, spirits, and red wine obtained from USDA. Gebhard, S. and Thomas, R. Nutritional Value of Foods. Wash, DC: USDA Bull #72.