October 17th, 2016
Data compiled by Euromonitor International suggest that alcoholic drinks make a bigger contribution to the world’s obesity problems than many people realize.
The market research firm tracked 24 countries to compare their average adult calorie consumption rates per day from alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks. In only one of the countries surveyed—Taiwan—did soft-drink calorie consumption exceed calories consumed from alcoholic drinks.
It can be easy to forget that booze contains significant calories, because this is rarely indicated on the packaging. Yet one large glass of wine, for example, may yield well over 200 calories. As for beer, brands and types vary widely, but you can find a breakdown of some of their calorie figures here. (Disclaimer: You may not want to look if you’re into Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout.)
It’s enough to suggest that Michael Bloomberg-style soft drink regulations—whatever you think of the ethics of such size limits—would have a limited impact (although kids, it’s true, consume a different ratio of soft-alcoholic drinks, and the US was not one of the countries monitored).
The graphic below from the Guardian shows the figures for a selection of the countries that were tracked. The disparity between alcoholic and nonalcoholic calories in South Korea—which consumes more alcoholic-drink calories per head than any of the other countries measured—is particularly striking.