Calorie labels on alcohol

November 17th, 2013 at 9:37 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Do you know how many you’re drinking? Drinks – both alcoholic and sugary – have been in the spotlight recently.

has been because Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is looking into whether or not alcoholic beverages should have energy (kilojoules or calories) shown on their labels. Alcoholic drinks contribute about the same energy to an average Kiwi diet as sugar does – about 5 per cent.

Many health experts believe showing the energy (kilojoule or calorie) content on alcoholic drinks would have a moderating effect on how much we drink.

I have no doubt it will. I drink a lot less now, since being more aware of the calorie level of different drinks.

I can see this meeting a lot of resistance from the alcohol companies. They will argue the same old “personal responsibility” line that makers of other unhealthy foods do.

The difference is, of course, that at least with most of our foods we can actually see the nutrition content on the label, so we can make a (more or less) informed choice.

With alcohol, it’s completely up to us.

All for informed choices.

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37 Responses to “Calorie labels on alcohol”

  1. WineOh (630 comments) says:

    When it comes to wine, people often assume that dry wines have fewer calories than sweet wine. Not so… you’re still drinking in the sugars whether they have been fermented into alcohol or not.

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  2. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    What about a warning against adding too much water to your glass of the real stuff. It’s the water that rusts your pipes.

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  3. WineOh (630 comments) says:

    Rust doesn’t happen without oxygen, so should probably have a warning on that dangerous stuff too.

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  4. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    I have no doubt it will. I drink a lot less now, since being more aware of the calorie level of different drinks.

    DPF – You are drinking less because you it was a contributing factor to your previously unhealthy lifestyle and you decided to do something about it.
    A lot if not most people don’t have the commitment to a healty lifestyle that you currently do. Putting a calorie label on booze will have no bearing for them, just like calorie labels at Maccas, and calorie labels on fizzy drinks have no bearing. They know it is “unhealty” but don’t care.

    The only people who will look at them are the people who don’t need to look at them anyway.

    Putting more warning labels that most people ignore will achieve nothing.

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  5. Manolo (13,840 comments) says:

    Putting more warning labels that most people ignore will achieve nothing.

    Hear, hear.

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  6. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Food nazis are the new global warming fanatics. Busy body bastards who cannot stop wanting to get into other peoples lives.

    If you don’t know that drinking alcohol and or eating 14 loaves of bread a day will put on weight you are too stupid to have access to oxygen.

    Life’s fucking dangerous where’s’ the label for that?

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  7. Samuel Smith (276 comments) says:

    Don’t worry – The ‘market’ will sort this out and large corporations will self-regulate.

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  8. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    Samuel Smith – you’re assuming that there is a problem to begin with.

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  9. Viking2 (11,491 comments) says:

    If you manage to go through our much vaunted education system and don’t learn that eating more energy than you need causes the body to store that energy then you have wasted a fucking lot of our taxpayers energy by even bothering to go to school.
    Fucking uneducated retarded waste of taxpayer money people.

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  10. Harriet (4,988 comments) says:

    “……I have no doubt it will. I drink a lot less now, since being more aware of the calorie level of different drinks…..”

    But but but but David…..there is no colorie labellling.

    So you are the evidence that it is NOT an issue!

    All women have known since wine was INVENTED that you will get fat if you drink too much of it.

    Wine marketeers will put the calorie level on bottles soon enough for sales reasons – and those that don’t will have wine that is higher in calories than those who do.

    The government should piss of out of the market place.

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  11. Manolo (13,840 comments) says:

    I have no doubt it will. I drink a lot less now, since being more aware of the calorie level of different drinks.

    With all due respect: that is fucking unbelievable!

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  12. Harriet (4,988 comments) says:

    Edit:

    I an referring to the fact the DPF said ‘…..different drinks….” not ‘different wines’.

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  13. gravedodger (1,566 comments) says:

    Dear Mr Farrer, congratulations on your much improved body mass, life style and alround good health.

    I am an ex Smoker and developing alcoholic.

    Your change in attitude to alcohol is laudible.

    Your increasing support for the wowsers is a little tiresome to put it mildly.

    Viking2 at 11 01 sums it up for me so before you start a facebook page for the ultimate wowser, Prof??? Doug Selman give yourself an uppercut then go to your archives where you claimed such success in annual cork counts at first then added the stelvin tops as a record of your efforts.

    I am now a non smoker and very moderate drinker so please spare me the increasing number of lectures on the demon drink.

    Regards Murray.

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  14. thedavincimode (6,803 comments) says:

    All for informed choices.

    That is the point isn’t it? Just as with food.

    Don’t let the fact that a bunch of rape culture advocacy types are suggesting it obscure our entitlement to know what we’re tossing down our throats, or the fact that it won’t make a jot of difference to drunks and deadbeats. You wouldn’t have to read it if you didn’t want to.

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  15. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    How about if you want to know, you can look it up for yourself? Then the state wouldn’t be forcing companies to put things on their packaging if they don’t want to.

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  16. thedavincimode (6,803 comments) says:

    Good idea. In future all I need to do is take everything I’m thinking of buying off to an analytical chemist. I guess we should get rid of the warnings on chemical sprays, household cleaners …

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  17. gump (1,650 comments) says:

    @gazzmaniac

    “How about if you want to know, you can look it up for yourself?”

    ——————-

    You can’t look up the nutritional values for specific alcoholic beverages as they aren’t currently published.

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  18. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    DVA

    Don’t drink janola.
    Dont drink 5 bottles of a wine a day ( I used to, evidently its bad for me)
    Dont eat 5 loaves of bread a day
    Dont eat 4 kilos of cheese a day.
    Dont eat 6 kilos of chocolate a day
    Dont drink 27 litres of coke a day.
    Do not drink the Round Up

    Pretty basic stuff really, you dont need the food police around at all. Like has been said here 30 times already , the target audience will not care, read or give a flying fuck anyway. The target audience is also the lowest common denominator and we are pandering way to much to them already

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  19. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    It’s protectionism. Major breweries from small producers, and New Zealand brewers from imported beers (especially imported specialty beers).

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  20. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    How so Graeme?

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  21. gump (1,650 comments) says:

    @Graeme Edgler

    “It’s protectionism. Major breweries from small producers, and New Zealand brewers from imported beers (especially imported specialty beers).”

    ———————

    Imported beers often have locally added labels that list the name and contact address for the importer/distributor.

    There’s no reason why these labels can’t include nutritional information. This already happens with a imported foodstuffs (take a look at products in the international section of your local supermarket).

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  22. thedavincimode (6,803 comments) says:

    eastbay

    No janola? How do you keep your teeth white then?

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  23. MT_Tinman (3,205 comments) says:

    Many health experts believe showing the energy (kilojoule or calorie) content on alcoholic drinks would have a moderating effect on how much we drink.

    I doubt many believe that at all, in fact the term “health expert” is so vomit inducing that I suspect most “health experts” are too stricken with bulemia they have no genuine beliefs at all.

    Personally I wouldn’t know a calorie if it jumped up and bit me on the ass.

    I don’t read calorie information on food items, why the fuck would I read calorie (why isn’t it calory?) information on the booze I drink?

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  24. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    Graeme is right.
    It will larger players from smaller players who might have a better product. The reason being that it costs big money to get your product tested, especially so if you have to test each batch and use an independant lab. A big player who has large batches can easily wear it as the cost per unit is pretty low. A small player cannot, and they will have to add a significant amout to the cost of each unit, which hurts them in the marketplace.

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  25. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    Must be smart-phone apps for this.

    If you want to be rigorous, integrate with a diet app: will tell you how many drinks of X you can have before you start piling on the beef.

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  26. thedavincimode (6,803 comments) says:

    gazzmaniac

    My understanding is that it is reasonably capable of calculation based upon alcohol content, in which case you are right in that I can run around with a calculator if I could be bothered. My point is more directed at knowing what kind of shit is put in grub in the course of processing and giving it a shelf life. That said, anyone worried about it can simply not buy processed food items. For some reason, cooking from scratch seems to provide an excellent opportunity to drink more.

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  27. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    Why do we always have to address perceived problems with half measures?

    Just have the State supply every resident with their own personal nanny and be done with it.

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  28. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    davinci – putting calorific values on bottles of beer will not help you if you want to know what preservatives are used.

    As you say, you can get a pretty good idea from the alcohol content, although that won’t help you if you are concerned about carbs. The point is, most beers/wines/etc will have a calorific value that can be reasonably estimated from an industry average which will be close enough. If you’re saying that a rough estimate will be suitable for putting on bottles of beer, you might as well not bother because people who are interested will know or can easily obtain those values anyway.

    If they are going to do it, it has to be done properly. But the benefits of doing so will be minimal so why bother?

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  29. OneTrack (3,117 comments) says:

    “They will argue the same old “personal responsibility” line that makers of other unhealthy foods ”

    The wowsers really, really, dont like the concept of personal responsibility do they?

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  30. calendar girl (1,244 comments) says:

    Beware the shallowness of this ever-so-rational type of nanny state intereventionism.

    And Tinman pours appropriate scorn (above) on the so-called “health experts” (public servants interviewing their keyboards again?) who are said to be expressing concern at consumers’ ignorance about what they are consuming.

    The message here to our genial host DPF is overwhelmingly:
    – We want to get unnecessary government out of our lives.
    – Please don’t advocate more of it.
    – We admire what you have done with your own personal fitness regime.
    – But you won’t “convert” the masses with an expensive, imposed labelling regime.

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  31. Left Right and Centre (2,986 comments) says:

    Anything with a kj value should have what it is on the label stated as ‘kj / 100g/mls. NEXT !!

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  32. Left Right and Centre (2,986 comments) says:

    Thread deja vu ?

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  33. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    Calories don’t matter a jot. Its the way the energy is packaged that matters….carbs and sugar make you fat.

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  34. Left Right and Centre (2,986 comments) says:

    scone – fuck off noddy

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  35. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    LRC….you are out of date……the truth is coming out about sugar and carbs….get up to speed dinosaur.

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  36. Left Right and Centre (2,986 comments) says:

    Scone – you are a fucking twat. Eat a kilo of fat a day without gaining weight dipshit. I dare ya chicken shit hypocrite.

    You are fucked in the head about food energy values.

    Truth ? According to you fat has zero kj value. You’re such a fuckin muppet – I would love to feed you lard and laugh as the weight piles on you – you dumbarse dipshit.

    Stop typing lies on food threads fuckbrain.

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  37. Left Right and Centre (2,986 comments) says:

    Scone – you are most fucked up piece of shit in the KB comments. Weirdo fucked in the head deluded mental case. Fuck off cunt.

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