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Doctors warn that alcoholic drinks need calorie labels

October 31st 2014 / Elizabeth Bennett

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Report reveals we are clueless to the calories in alcohol - and it’s only contributing to the obesity problem...

A glass of wine after a long day at work is familiar ritual for many of us but would you so easily reach for the bottle if you knew a glass of wine had the same amount of calories as a sugar-filled donut?

A new report from the Royal Society for Public Health highlights how blissfully unaware we are of the calories consumed when we drink alcohol. The RSPH's chief executive, Shirley Cramer, explains, "80% of adults have no idea what the calorie count is in anything they're drinking and if they do think they have an idea, they totally underestimate it anyway.”

In a pub experiment conducted by the RSPH, people demonstrated a change in the amount they drank when they knew how many calories were in their drinks. Those who were told, chose to consume 400 fewer calories in a session.

Whilst drinks companies are obliged by law to label alcoholic beverages with units of alcohol, drinks are exempt from EU calorie labeling laws that are applied to food. The RSPH is now calling on the drinks industry and newly appointed EU Health Commissioner to introduce calorie labels for alcohol, too.

The report estimates that 10% of an average adult's calorie intake now comes from alcohol, and it’s fuelling the obesity problem. With a quarter of UK adults now obese, Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum comments, "You walk into any shop and the calorie, fat content, sugar and more are on the back of food packets and we don't see why alcohol should be any different."

The European Commission says it will make a decision on labelling by December - so you might be calorie checking your wine quicker than you think...

MORE GLOSS: 10 bad things you never knew sugar was doing to your body

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