I had to laugh the other day when a friend told me she preferred to drink wine because she couldn’t see the calorie count on the bottle label like she could with her case of beer. Although I found it funny, it’s because it is true for many people. It’s easier to ignore the fact that wine has calories when it’s not being shoved in your face.
That lovely bliss of chosen ignorance may not last much longer, but for now you’re in the clear. Nutrition labeling on alcoholic beverages is voluntary, according to a labeling act from the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. The technical jargon from a report released on May 28, 2013 is as follows:
>> Truthful, accurate, and specific voluntary statements about nutrient content, including calorie
and carbohydrate content, in the labeling and advertising of wines, distilled spirits, and malt
beverages are authorized under this ruling and TTB Ruling 2004—1. Serving Facts statements in the labeling and advertising of wines, distilled spirits, and malt beverages are authorized. Truthful, verifiable numerical statements of alcohol content may be included in Serving Facts statements as an option. TTB Ruling 2004—1 is modified and amplified.
It’s interesting to see which companies are jumping on the calorie-labeling bandwagon before it’s mandatory. Companies that produce low calorie beers, for example, want to capitalize on people that are trying to lose weight by displaying the alcohol nutrition facts prominently. If shoppers know a particular beer is lower in calories than most beer, they are more likely to buy it. A pretty good marketing move on their part.
A health policy professor at Johns Hopkins states that consumers like the idea of nutrition labels on alcohol so they can make more educated choices in the grocery store.
Many people forget, or intentionally forget, that alcohol has calories too. Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram, which is more than both carbohydrates and protein, which each contain 4 calories per gram. That doesn’t include mixers like juice and soda used in some drinks. A couple (or more) drinks can add up the calories pretty quickly.