The Local Government Association, which represents more than 370 councils nationwide and are responsible for public health said that while the long-term health effects of drinking, such as liver and heart damage and increased risk of cancer are relatively well known, the number of hidden calories contained in alcohol is not.
The body claims that labelling will assist consumers in making the right choices around drinks.The LGA also pointed to research that a pint of cider at 4.5% has 216 calories - the equivalent to three quarters of a burger, while a single spirit at 40% is 61 calories - or an eighth of a burger.
It claimed that drinking five pints of beer at 4% is the equivalent of eating more than three burgers. A bottle of wine – about four 175 ml glasses – has the same calorie count as more than two burgers. The advice follows calls from MEPs to label calorie content of alcohol, which received supported from health lobbing groups in the UK.
Council chiefs also referenced research that shows two-thirds of the public actively support calorie labels - and 80% of the public didn't know the calorific content of a large glass of wine - up to 228 calories. 90% didn't know a pint of beer has around 180 calories either. Cllr Izzi Seccombe, LGA Community Wellbeing spokesperson, said: "Breweries and drinks manufacturers should show leadership in tackling the obesity crisis, by voluntarily providing clear signs on bottles and cans of alcohol. "Most people are aware that excessive alcohol can lead to serious health problems like liver and heart damage, and an increased risk of cancer. However, the amount of calories from an average night's drinking isn't so well-known. People should be able to make informed choices. "The onus is on the big breweries to do more to provide clear and prominent labelling. Providing people with the right information allows them to make choices about what they eat and drink. "Prevention is the only way we are going to tackle the obesity crisis, which is costing the NHS more than £5 billion every year. It's all about giving people the right information about the calories they are consuming. This saves money for other parts of the public sector by reducing demand for hospital, health and social care services, and improves the public's health."