Researchers believe that caloric intake of alcohol should be displayed
A study suggests that the average Canadian drinker consumes more than one-tenth of the daily recommended calories per drink – but it is not the label on the bottle that will signal it.
D es Victoria University researchers examined data from Statistics Canada on the sale and consumption of alcohol between 2015 and 2016 to calculate the number of calories that Canadians consume through alcohol.
The study, first published in February in the Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research, estimates that an average Canadian drinker consumes 250 calories per day through alcohol – the equivalent of a bag of potato chips. In the case of “excessive consumption” of alcohol – four to five glasses – this number can reach 550 calories, or about 25 percent of the recommended daily calorie intake, says the lead author of the study, Adam Sherk.
The postdoctoral fellow at the Canadian Institute for Addiction Research at the University of Victoria argues that previous studies have already suggested that people tend not to consider alcohol as part of their total daily caloric intake. According to Sherk, all these results underscore the importance of having nutrition information on alcohol labels, as is the case with almost all other packaged foods and beverages.
A Health Canada spokesperson explained that alcohol was exempt from this labeling, because people might infer that there is a nutritional benefit to alcoholic beverages if they have a label strongly associated with food.
“The short- and long-term effects of alcohol on physical and mental health, as well as its addictive properties and potential adverse consequences are all important factors unrelated to the nutritional quality of these products”, explained Geoffroy Legault-Thivierge in an email.
However, Dr. Sherk believes that labels could also be used to communicate information about other alcohol-related health risks, including cancer, stroke, and heart disease. “What we are highlighting here is that as a consumer and drinker, we have the right to know what we put in our bodies.” At the end of the day, it will be up to consumers to decide what to do with this information. , says the researcher.