Why alcohol doesn’t come with nutrition facts


if you go into a grocery store and you buy
pretty much anything: a bottle of water, a bag of chips, that thing will have a nutritional
label on it if you go buy beer or wine or liquor, it usually
doesn’t, and that’s crazy the reason why is kind of complicated so it all dates back to 1935 shortly after prohibition was repealed, Congress
formed a new agency that would regulate alcoholic beverages booze got its own agency, it wasn’t regulated
by the food and drug administration, which meant that in 1990 when the FDA told food
companies they needed to start labeling all of their packaged foods, that rule didn’t
apply to alcohol in the years since, there’s been a weird hodgepodge
of complicated rules put into place for nutrition facts on alcohol super weird, for example, most beers are made
out of something called malted barley but, if you’re an alcohol company and you
happen to make a beer that doesn’t have malted barley in it sorry, you need to put a label on that same goes if you’re a wine maker, and say
you have a particular vintage that happens to contain less than seven percent alcohol
by volume sorry, put a label on that one too but, for most of the alcohol that we drink,
labels are optional so, they can list calorie counts if they want,
and if they do, they also have to list carbs, protein and fat, but they can also just leave
all that out which means that those of us who are super
conscious of ingredients or trying to count calories are pretty much out of luck consumer groups have tried six different times
to get the regulations changed, to get labels put on alcoholic beverages and they’ve even gotten close a few times,
but the beverage industry, as you might have guessed, has some powerful lobbyists a few different industry groups said that
if they were required to put nutrition facts on alcohol, it would mislead consumers into
thinking that alcohol was nutritious wine producers also said it would be way too
hard to test every single vintage for things like calorie content or grams of sugar, especially
when these things vary so much from year to year in the end, the consumer groups lost their
fight basically, regulators just sided with manufacturers
and made labels optional the fact that alcoholic beverages don’t have
nutrition labels on them, this has consequences for people’s health when people don’t have information about how
many calories they’re consuming or how much sugar, they’re not as good at making smart
decisions about how much to drink it’s certainly not a guarentee that people
would drink more responsibly if they knew this information, but putting it on the label
definitely can’t hurt just from a consumer standpoint, it seems
like our right to know that, if we know it for bottled water, if we know it for a package
of chips, it’s really bizarre that we’re not allowed to know it for beer