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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Alcohol May Soon Be Adding Nutrition Labels

More and more people today are becoming health-conscious, watching their weight, eating healthier and counting calories. Nutrition labels have been a big help in letting people know the ingredients in food by posting information on calories, nutrients, fat content, etc. But one area that has not been included is alcohol. That could be changing very soon.

Alcohol can add a lot of calories to your daily diet, but most people are either unaware or don't think that calories matter when it comes to alcohol consumption. It matters. One bottle of beer can add as much as 330 calories, and a glass of red wine 125 calories. The idea to add nutrition labels to alcohol was introduced five years ago but has not yet been made mandatory.

Many beer manufacturers are adding calorie content information to their light beer labels voluntarily because they know more consumers want to know. This is good for purchasing beer for home consumption but it only covers a small percentage of alcohol consumed.  Not everyone drinks light beer or beer at all, leaving other alcoholic beverages like wine and mixed drinks with little information for consumers.

While it is difficult to anticipate how nutrition information will be identified on other alcohol, particularly on restaurant menus, you can be sure that this will continue to be a matter of much discussion with consumer advocate groups. After all, it wasn't that long ago that fast food restaurants sold burgers, fries and shakes with no nutrition facts at all. In fact, just two years ago, as part of Obama's Affordable Care Act, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began requiring restaurants with 20 or more locations to post nutrition information at the point of sale. It will be interesting to see how this kind of information on alcohol will be communicated to the public.

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