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06/10/2017

Alcohol and obesity

11th October marks World Obesity Day. Now in its third year, the campaign recommends tackling causes of obesity immediately, in order to avoid worse consequences later.

Remarkably few consumers are well-informed about the calorific content of their alcoholic drinks. Alcohol has a comparatively high energy content, each gram of alcohol contains 7.1 calories – for comparison, a gram of fat contains 9.

With that in mind, the link between alcohol and obesity needs to be better understood. Amongst men reporting consumption of more than 3 alcoholic drinks per day, a significant association of alcohol consumption with abdominal obesity and exceeding energy intake recommendations was found.

Among adult drinkers, roughly one-tenth of their daily calorie intake is estimated to come from alcohol. However, in a survey of over 2,000 adults, 80% of those questioned did not know the calorie content of common drinks, with most entirely unaware that alcohol contributed to their total calorific intake.

The fact that a 250ml glass of wine contains roughly the same amount of calories as a 44g bar of chocolate (228 calories), means that someone drinking a few glasses of wine every week can unwittingly consume thousands of extra calories a month. The majority of women surveyed, were unaware that two large glasses of wine can comprise almost a fifth of their daily recommended energy intake.

Obesity is a serious EU public health problem, with nearly 1 adult in 6 considered obese. To that end, it is of the utmost importance that drinks companies introduce calorie labelling on their alcoholic products. For consumers who want to maintain a healthy diet, monitor their calorie intake, or even become better informed, they must be provided with adequate nutritional information.

Sources:

http://www.obesityday.worldobesity.org/

https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa35.htm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4338356/

http://www.bmj.com/company/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/alcohol-calories.pdf

http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/documents/2995521/7700898/3-20102016-BP-EN.pdf/c26b037b-d5f3-4c05-89c1-00bf0b98d646

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