Ahhhh…booze. What a lovely thing to consume. Isn’t it? We all know it seriously frigs with our health, but “meh, what you gonna do?”
Over recent months and years there has been an increasingly loud call for alcohol cans and bottles to carry nutritional information. Personally, I can’t see it making a butt load of difference, but I guess it’s kind of a good idea.
I know for a fact it won’t change the amount I drink because I am a bit of a booze hound, but some people have no idea how many calories there are in beer and wine, perhaps it would shock them out of drinking?
One thing’s for sure, there’s no harm in trying.
Obesity is reaching epidemic proportions. In good old easy-livin’ America more than 1 in 3 people are obese. When I see those sorts of stats I think, well, the term “obesity” is used pretty readily nowadays, I mean, how fat do you have to be to be obese? Well, here’s the chart:
See what I mean? You have to be pretty heavy to count as obese. One in THREE of Americans is sat in the orange or red. Sure, you make your own choices in life, but if you aren’t given all of the details, how can you make your own choices?
The UK is further behind the US, but it’s catching up. In 2011, 24% of men and 26% of women were classed as obese. That’s a lot of people. A quarter of the UK. Oops. Globally, since the 80’s, obesity has doubled.
Amazingly, 65% of the world’s population live in countries where being overweight or obese kills more people than being malnourished or underweight. That’s pretty fucked isn’t it? We’re more likely to eat ourselves to death in most countries whilst people are busy starving to death elsewhere. Is that evidence that humanity is evil and that there is no god? I think so.
Being a fatty is one thing, and although a lot of people say “yeah but I’m a happy chubbster, it’s who I am,” it does mean that they are likely to be ill. About half of obese people have high blood pressure, and diabetes is just around the corner.
No one gives a shit in America, it’s every man for themselves, if you get ill – you pay. Over here in pissy England, though, we fund the NHS and consequently, we foot the bill for people growing sideways. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a massive fan of the NHS, but it is a little annoying that part of my monthly salary goes into helping people who had way too many cakes, even after the doctor told them to stop having so many cakes. But, any way.
Calories In Booze
I must admit, when you tot up the calories in a drinking session’s worth of beers, it is pretty terrifying, especially when you add a kebab on top.
A large glass of wine is 230 calories, a pint of beer is about 245, a doughnut is about 200, a Mars bar is 260. So, one drink is around 10% of the calories you should consume all day long.
But, if we were to tell people on the label of a beer bottle how many calories were lying within, would anyone give a shit? People with a weight problem know that crisps and cakes are bad, but they still lay into them pretty hard. So even if they knew that one glass of wine was like drinking a doughnut, would that actually help?
Who knows, but I guess it’s worth a pop. It’s kind of weird that it isn’t a legal obligation already, really. Apparently, legally, it is optional for alcoholic drink producers to advertise their calorific content. And guess what, most of them don’t take that option.
Why, when all other foods have to be honest, does alcohol get off Scot free? Sure, we all know alcohol is an addictive poison, but not so many people know exactly the calorie count in those friggers.
An article in the British Medical Journal last year found that for people who drink alcohol, 10% of their daily calorie intake comes from booze and 80% of drinkers weren’t aware of the rough number of calories in each drink. I guess the companies who produce booze should tell us really.
Fiona Sim, chairwoman of the Royal Society for Public Health, says:
“There is no reason why calories in alcohol should be treated any differently from those in food.”
And that’s kind of fair enough really. If they start telling us booze makes us into fatty-boom-batties, and we still drink it to the same degree, then that’s fine, but I reckon people should be told what’s going on in their favourite tipple (yes, I’ll have a cider thanks).
Alcohol companies, of course, are dead against calorie counts on their products. They fear a drop in sales, as you would. That’s no reason not to enforce it though. People should always be allowed to make decisions about their own health – smoking fags, weed, booze, skiing – you can’t be a total nanny state. What you can do though, is tell people what’s going on, let them make their own minds up.
Would Booze Labelling Even Help?
Do I think calorie labelling will help? Nah. Well… a tiny touch maybe. I think that people who are already health conscious might pay attention and drink less, but they’re not really the demographic we’re worried about.
People who are at the dangerous end of the weight scale clearly aren’t reading (or understanding) the nutritional labels on anything else, so why would they suddenly heed the alcohol wrapper’s numbers? Should booze companies get away without being transparent? No, I reckon they should fess up like everyone else.
I guess, for the people who need the most slimming help, the answer is education. Cheers.