By Carolyn Brown, MS, RD
5’o clock somewhere, right? How about 5 o’clock, 200 calories and 19g of carbohydrates somewhere? Might sound a little less relaxing, but the latest booze-news is that nutrition labels may be coming soon to a bottle near you.
Is this good news or bad news? I’m always into providing consumers with more info, but just like the nutrition labels themselves, the liquor labeling isn’t that straightforward.
Consumer groups want alcoholic drinks to have the same “transparency as packaged foods”. I think “transparent” is one of the last terms I’d use to describe packaged foods, but I suppose that’s for a different post. And guess who else is pro-labeling? Those “Low calorie” beers, wines and liquors who will inevitably use it to their advantage.
My biggest frustration is that the serving sizes make things beyond confusing. For example, a drink may say that 12 oz. has 140 calories, but it has 1.5 servings – let’s be serious, multiplication and happy hour aren’t great mixers.
As I talked about in my last alcohol post (talk about giving myself a label), people tend to drink way more than they think. We’ve all heard “you booze, you lose” but if you’re watching your weight, it’s quite the opposite. If you’re at all calorie conscious, seeing the numbers may very well horrify you and make you put down that last drink if it’s the equivalent of a cupcake.
I spend a lot of time working with clients trying to get them to shift what they look at on nutrition labels towards quality and ingredients and away from the numbers. And you can apply the same approach to alcohol –, better quality alcohol, the fewer toxins in your body, less hangover. But if a nutrition label helps people be more mindful of consumption, why not?
What about you – do you think a nutrition label would really change the amount you drink?