Calorie labels on alcoholic drinks considered 'by 2016'

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Calorie labels on alcoholic drinks considered 'by 2016'

Related tags: Alcoholic beverage

Plans for calorie contents to be included on the labels of alcoholic bottles and cans should be tabled by the European Commission (EC) at the latest in 2016, MEPs said today.

The resolution has also called for a new EU Alcohol Strategy focusing on alcohol consumption by minors and EU-wide labelling to discourage drink driving and drinking while pregnant.

The EC has to compile a report on the issue and then decide whether to take action on the labelling proposals.

British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “We are not against making it mandatory but the important thing for us is that there is a consistent approach across all alcoholic drinks.”

The BBPA has suggested that companies should be given an alternative option of placing calorie information online. Currently alcohol labels already are legally obliged to show ABV, chief medical officer guidance and pregnancy warnings.

Simmonds also called for time to implement any such labelling changes to allow businesses time to prepare. 

Related topics: Healthy options

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2 comments

Bad Science Award

Posted by Tony Leonard,

This decision completely ignores the way that bodies metabolise calories in alcohol and drawing attention to how calories in alcohol affect body weight is more likely to encourage irresponsible drinking than discourage it.
The calorific count of alcohol is largely irrelevant. A lump of coal or a block of wood will have a high calorific count (calories being a measure of stored energy) but if you grind them up and eat them they will have no effect on your body weight because you are unable to process them.
Because your body treats alcohol as a toxin, it processes calories in alcohol in a different way to those in protein, fat and carbohydrates. If you drink a small amount of alcohol alongside a meal, more of the calories will be processed in your intestines with the usual consequences. However, if you drink a large amount of alcohol without accompanying food, the calories will be processed by your liver & kidneys. Some energy will be made immediately available in your bloodstream but the majority will be expelled in urine. The faster and heavier you drink, the less your weight will be affected.
From a purely body weight perspective, the way to drink alcohol and not gain weight is to drink lots quickly. The more restrained your drinking habits, the more likely it is to impact on your weight whereas binge drinking heavily will have no effect. So any attempt to promote responsible drinking through reference to calories and weight gain has the potential to have the opposite effect if people start looking closely, as many calorie counters tend to do.

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Why only alcoholic drinks ?

Posted by Alexander,

There is an enormous number of calories in Tonic water and normal Coke and these should be labelled too.

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