North Americans get too many calories from pop. But what about alcohol? It turns out adults get almost as many empty calories from booze as from soft drinks, a U.S. government study found.
Pop and other sweetened drinks - the focus of obesity-fighting public health campaigns - are the source of about six per cent of the calories adults consume, on average. Alcoholic beverages account for about five per cent, 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 soft drinks, 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," said Lisa Hawkins, a spokeswoman for the Distilled Spirits Council.
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 favourite 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 five-ounce glass of wine is around 100 calories.
In September, New York City approved an unprecedented measure cracking down on giant soft drinks - those bigger than half a litre. The new rules will take effect in March and bans sales of giant drinks that large at restaurants, cafeterias and concession stands.
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