Waist­lines teeter on the drink

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - News - LU­CIE VAN DEN BERG

WATCH out — your Christ­mas tip­ple could pack more kilo­joules than the sweet treats it’s wash­ing down.

And while Aus­tralia’s food and drink reg­u­la­tions man­date nu­tri­tional in­for­ma­tion on food and bev­er­age pack­ag­ing, al­co­holic drinks are ex­empt. Choice wants that to change.

“It doesn’t make sense that there’s one rule for a can of Coke and an­other for a pre­mix can of Coke and whiskey,” spokes­woman Katinka Day said.

A LiveLighter re­view of kilo­joules con­tained in al­co­holic bev­er­ages re­vealed just how much of a punch some drinks de­liver to the waist­line.

Whiskey and cola pre­mix cans con­tain 1069kj, twice the kilo­joules of an average 150ml glass of red wine, while opt­ing for a glass of sparkling wine with 438kj over a sweet white wine may save al­most 200kj.

Beers range from 390kj for 375mL for light ale (2.5 per cent), 572kj for a full strength lager (5 per cent al­co­hol) to 845kj for a stout (6 per cent). How­ever beer gi­ants Lion and Carl­ton & United both vol­un­tar­ily la­bel nu­tri­tional in­for­ma­tion for beer prod­ucts.

The daily en­ergy re­quire­ment (or kilo­joules) for seden­tary adults range from 7600kj to 8400kj for fe­males to 9100kj to 10300kj for males.

Ms Day said with­out la­belling con­sumers couldn’t make di­rect com­par­isons on the en­ergy they were con­sum­ing in their al­co­holic drinks.

Al­co­holic Bev­er­ages Aus­tralia ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Fergus Tay­lor said cus­tomers knew they could drink mod­er­ately as part of a healthy diet.

A spokesman for Lion, which dis­plays nu­tri­tional in­for­ma­tion for beer but not cider, said the most im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion was al­co­hol con­tent.

Early next year pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion will be­gin on man­dated en­ergy la­belling of al­co­holic bev­er­ages.

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