Alcohol Nutrition Labels Needed: List More than Calories

Beverage alcohol nutrition labels are needed. They should include not only calories but also other facts. That includes fats, cholesterol, and sodium or salt.

alcohol nutrition labels
A suggested useful alcohol nutrition label.

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 people 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 instance, 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.

FoodCaloriesTotal FatSaturated FatCholesterolSodium
Quarter Pounder43021 g8 g70 mg770 mg
Regular Beer14600018 mg
Shot of Spirits (whiskey,
rum, vodka, etc.)
Glass of Red Wine890005 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.

But a nutrition label that only lists calories is a deceptive and misleading label.

Alcohol Nutrition Labels Needed