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Maybe beer doesn’t have any calories?

Why don’t alcoholic drinks have nutritional information listed on the sides of their containers? Even bottled water labels have to say their contents contain 0 calories and 0 carbohydrates and 0 sodium. Which makes me wonder if bottled water companies are actually selling me anything at all since by all nutritional measuring standards there appears to be nothing in the bottle at all. Perhaps they’ve bottled a mirage and are just selling me the illusion of water?

I don’t drink often, lately out of fear of empty calories, but if I do decide to imbibe I have to go online to figure out how a can of Coors Light factors into my energy consumption for the day. I don’t really track calories, but I do like to be aware of approximately how many calories are in what I’m eating for the same reason that I like to check the price tag of an item before I bring it to the cash register. I like to know what it’s going to cost me.

But the only information I’ve seen on beer cans or wine bottles is the amount of alcohol contained inside. Why is this? I did some googling and it appears that the problem is that food is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and alcohol is regulated by the Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). So the problem is bureaucracy. The National Consumers League (NCL) seemed to be trying to do something about it, but that article is from 2003 so I guess it hasn’t gone so well.

I guess I should be glad I can find this information online if not on the label, but it’s annoying and a bit late to look up nutritional information after you’ve drunk something. At least if I overpay for an item I can return it to the store.

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14 Comments

Haystacks • November 9, 2006 at 12:49 pm

A guiness has about 200 calories in it. I am guessing miller light is about half that much. Things like Mike’s Hard Lemonade will have like 350 calories each.

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Allison • November 9, 2006 at 2:05 pm

Okay, I went and looked this up, because that’s the kind of person I am. :B

It’s illegal to post alcohol per serving on an alcoholic beverages label–companies can post things like calories, carbs, etc. But only if they follow strict guidelines.

The arguments behind this seem to be that CSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest) and other consumer groups don’t want people a) Running out to find the highest alcohol per serving drinks they can and b) Don’t want people “mistaking” alcohol for food, or trying to replace it for food.

Both arguments seem dumb to me, but there you go.

CSPI: “Alcohol is not a food, and labels should not suggest to consumers that they seek nutrition complements in the alcoholic beverages they drink. Also, you can be assured they will use that information where it assists their marketing endeavors, and that is a poor excuse for nutrition labeling.”

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alex • November 9, 2006 at 6:49 pm

the average light beer has 100-120 calories in it. i guess it isn’t a huge deal if you only imbibe occassionally. a lot of beers and malt beverages are including caloric information these days. and… just to address the last comment, all alcoholic beverages must reveal the alcoholic content. it’s commonly referred to as “proof.” divide the proof in half, and that is the percentage of alcohol in whatever you are drinking.

you could always do what my friend does… drink until you don’t remember doing it. he’s convinced that make it calorie-free in a very roundabout sorta way.

gotta get that guy to a meeting!

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bitchwhoblogs • November 9, 2006 at 7:15 pm

All I know, is that red wine is one of the lowest in calories of the booze choices out there. Lucky for me, its my drink of choice. As a member of the WW cult, I have measure my intake and calculate the points. Though, lately, I have been trying to make each calorie in count for nutrition and while there are many arguements to be made for why red wine can save your life- being a nutritional necessity is not one of them.

There is a great light beer by St. Pauli’s Girl- just BTW

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lainey • November 10, 2006 at 5:24 am

A pub measure vodka is 50cals. Mix that with diet coke and bob’s your uncle. Suitably boozy drink for 50 cals.

Most spirits (white ones especially) are about 50cals. I think that’s a 25cl measure.

Bottoms Up!

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Heather • November 10, 2006 at 8:52 am

You especially don’t want to look up the nutrition information after a night out drinking margaritas.

I’m just sayin’…. :(

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jodi • November 10, 2006 at 10:18 am

here’s a great site with all sorts of info re: beer, wine, and liquor… :o)

http://recipecircus.com/recipes/awsum34/TIDBITS—You-Need-To-Know/Beer.html

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Marla • November 10, 2006 at 1:30 pm

I am most annoyed by chain restaurants that don’t post their nutritional info. I understand it’s not practical for a regular restaurant to do, but there’s no reason Quizno’s can’t put that info online, and no reason Subway can’t list something OTHER than their special low-cal/low-fat subs. Well, obviously the reason is that the numbers are not very attractive.

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jae • November 10, 2006 at 2:10 pm

Calorie King has that info. I’ve also wondered why it isn’t on the bottle/can of most drinks. ~j

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NeelimaP • November 11, 2006 at 4:24 am

Now that we might even see calorie counts along with the price in our menus, I guess we have the right to know about the nutritional value of any drink. Calorie awareness is everyone’s right.

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Nice Girl • November 11, 2006 at 7:52 am

Hey, just do what I do…

Let’s say it’s a Thursday night…

1) Get dressed in a HOTT outfit.

2) Go out drinking.

3) Buy yourself one or two drinks. Then the next drinks, shots, and glasses of champagne come from friends or guys because you are looking so damn HOTT!

4) You either (a) vomit from having 8-10 drinks and shots or (b) you are severely dehydrated and end up sleeping the entire next day.

5) By the time you wake up two days later, likely Saturday morning, you will not have gained weight – you might have even lost weight!

Go have fun!

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Haystacks • November 11, 2006 at 3:28 pm

Actually dehydration makes you retain water and thus gain weight.

And drinking that much puts you at risk for alchol poisoning, not to mention makes you generally vulnerable to pretators or your own bad judgement.

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Nice Girl • November 12, 2006 at 2:05 am

I can’t believe you actually thought I was serious. Relax and get a life. LOL!

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Greta • November 13, 2006 at 11:36 pm

There was a study done of alcoholic women. Half were fed a certain number of calories and no booze. The other half were fed the same number of calories plus lots of booze. Both groups were identical in weight outcome leading the researchers to believe that the alcohol is processed differently than food is processed and soesn’t “count” as far as the body is concerned. The study was written up in a book. Might have been McDougall or could have been Pritikin. However if you want to be safe, I like Lainey’s suggestion though I would use rum.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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