Booze calories nearly equal soda's for US adults


Share
Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2012, 10:58 am
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story

NEW YORK (AP) — Americans get too many calories from soda. But what about alcohol? It turns out adults get almost as many empty calories from booze as from soft drinks, a government study found.

Soda and other sweetened drinks — the focus of obesity-fighting public health campaigns — are the source of about 6 percent of the calories adults consume, on average. Alcoholic beverages account for about 5 percent, the new study found.

'We've been focusing on sugar-sweetened beverages. This is something new,' said Cynthia Ogden, one of the study's authors. She's an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which released its findings Thursday.

The government researchers say the findings deserve attention because, like soda, alcohol contains few nutrients but plenty of calories.

But a liquor trade association said the findings indicate there's no big problem.

'This research shows that the overwhelming majority of adults drink moderately,' Lisa Hawkins, a spokeswoman for the Distilled Spirits Council, said in a statement.

The CDC study is based on interviews with more than 11,000 U.S. adults from 2007 through 2010. Participants were asked extensive questions about what they ate and drank over the previous 24 hours.

The study found:

—On any given day, about one-third of men and one-fifth of women consumed calories from beer, wine or liquor.

—Averaged out to all adults, the average guy drinks 150 calories from alcohol each day, or the equivalent of a can of Budweiser.

—The average woman drinks about 50 calories, or roughly half a glass of wine.

—Men drink mostly beer. For women, there was no clear favorite among alcoholic beverages.

—There was no racial or ethnic difference in average calories consumed from alcoholic beverages. But there was an age difference, with younger adults putting more of it away.

For reference, a 12-ounce can of regular Coca-Cola has 140 calories, slightly less than a same-sized can of regular Bud. A 5-ounce glass of wine is around 100 calories.

In September, New York City approved an unprecedented measure cracking down on giant sodas, those bigger than 16 ounces, or half a liter. It will take effect in March and bans sales of drinks that large at restaurants, cafeterias and concession stands.

Should New York officials now start cracking down on tall-boy beers and monster margaritas?

There are no plans for that, city health department officials said, adding in a statement that while studies show that sugary drinks are 'a key driver of the obesity epidemic,' alcohol is not.

Health officials should think about enacting policies to limit alcoholic intake, but New York's focus on sodas is appropriate, said Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a public health advocacy group.

Soda and sweetened beverages are the bigger problem, especially when it comes to kids — the No. 1 source of calories in the U.S. diet, she said.

'In New York City, it was smart to start with sugary drinks. Let's see how it goes and then think about next steps,' she said.

However, she lamented that the Obama administration is planning to exempt alcoholic beverages from proposed federal regulations requiring calorie labeling on restaurant menus.

It could set up a confusing scenario in which, say, a raspberry iced tea may have a calorie count listed, while an alcohol-laden Long Island Iced Tea — with more than four times as many calories — doesn't. 'It could give people the wrong idea,' she said.

___

Online:

CDC report: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/














 



Local events heading








  Today is Thursday, April 24, the 114th day of 2014. There are 251 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: We learn that it is a contemplation to start a paper mill in Rock Island during the summer by a gentleman from the East.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The gates of Oklahoma were swung open at noon today, and a throng of more than 30,000 settlers started over its soil.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The Iowa Coliseum Co. was incorporated with $40,000 capital and planned a building on 4th Street between Warren and Green streets in Davenport.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Plans are being discussed for resurfacing the streets in the entire downtown district of Rock Island.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Some 45 jobs will be created at J.I. Case Co.'s Rock Island plant in a expansion of operations announced yesterday afternoon at the firm's headquarters in Racine, Wis.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Gardeners and farmers cheered, but not all Quad-Citians found joy Saturday as more than an inch of rain fell on the area. Motorists faced dangerous, rain-slick roads as the water activated grease and grime that had built up during dry weather.








(More History)