Why doesn’t alcohol carry health 

Cigarettes and processed foods carry clear warnings of health implications. So why doesn’t booze?

According to an influential group of MPs, the calorie content and health risks associated with alcohol should be displayed clearly on labels.

In the same way smokers are told cigarettes can severely harm health, and nutrition content is labelled on the back of food packaging, those who drink alcohol should be informed about the risks and the content of what’s actually in their drinks.

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After smoking, alcohol is the second biggest preventable killer in the UK, and puts a huge amount of strain on the NHS. Its calorific content is also huge: a 250ml glass of wine contains 228 calories, which is the equivalent of a McDonald’s doughnut; a pint of lager contains 180 calories, which is more than a packet of Walkers’ salt and vinegar crisps.

Cyclists are forever monitoring their diet and, more importantly, their weight. After all, cycling is a sport where power to weight is so important and eating too much of the wrong thing can have significant implications on performance. Yet when it comes to alcohol, we treat it with an air of flippancy. How often does that bottle of beer or glass of wine turn to two or even three after a few hours spent in the saddle?

“At the moment any kind of information is very, very small on a label and we just think it needs to be more prominent,” said Tracey Crouch, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Misuse.

“If you think about labelling on food and tobacco products they are a lot larger, and at the moment we would like to increase the information on alcohol. It should also include calorific information.”