Alcohol makers have been urged to introduce calorie labels to their packaging in order to inform more people that their products can contribute to weight gain, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).
The organisation, which represents local councils said its research showed the public was less aware of the “hidden” calories in alcohol than they were about its other harmful effects on health.
They say 80% of people surveyed were unaware that a large glass of wine could contain up to 228 calories, whilst 90% did not know that the average pint of lager contained around 180.
The LGA argues that labelling would “enable choice”, saying that two-thirds of those surveyed supported the idea.
Cllr Izzi Seccombe, the LGA’s community wellbeing spokeswoman, said making the public more informed could save the NHS money.
Breweries and drinks manufacturers should show leadership in tackling the obesity crisis, by voluntarily providing clear signs on bottles and cans of alcohol. Most people are aware that excessive alcohol can lead to serious health problems like liver and heart damage, and an increased risk of cancer.
However, the amount of calories from an average night’s drinking isn’t so well-known. People should be able to make informed choices. Prevention is the only way we are going to tackle the obesity crisis, which is costing the NHS more than £5 billion every year.
– IZZI SECCOMBE, LGA SPOKESWOMAN
The LGA says the calories within alcoholic beverages are “empty” because they hold no nutritional value. Alcohol also reduces the amount of fat burned for energy, they added.
Eileen E. White