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Alcohol and Obesity

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.