Americans Consume Equivalent Amounts of Empty Calories from Alcohol and Soda

Alcoholic drink

Earlier this year, Mayor Bloomberg enacted a historic measure to restrict the size of sugary soft drinks to 16oz and under, banning their sale at concession stands, restaurants and cafeterias across NYC. Nutrition advocates maintain that sugary drinks are where public health advocates should keep their focus to fight obesity. Yet, a recent study showed that adults consume nearly equal amounts of empty calories from alcoholic beverages as they do from other sweet drinks. Alcohol makes up 5% of calories, while sodas and other sweetened beverages come in at 6% on average of calories consumed.

This study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control involved interviews with 11,000 adults over three years between 2007 and 2010 regarding what they had food and beverages consumed in the past 24 hours. It found that on average, men consume 150 calories daily from alcohol with a preference for beer, and women consume about 50 calories per day with no preference for one specific alcoholic beverage. There was no difference across racial and ethnic lines, while younger adults drank slightly more than average. A 12 oz can of soda contains approximately 140 calories, while a can of Budweiser contains around 150 calories. A .5 oz glass of wine comes in at 100 calories. With this new equivalency, should health officials turn their attention to limiting the alcohol consumed to fight obesity instead? Public health advocacy groups maintain that limiting soda is crucial because it affects children disproportionately, but that adding calorie counts to alcoholic beverages in restaurants might be a good first step towards making adults think about how much they are really consuming when they order an alcoholic drink.

Source courtesy of The Huffington Post. Image Source.

I have seen students spend their teenage years bouncing from apartment to shelter, sometimes coming to school with no idea about where they would sleep and if there would be a meal at the end of the day