Alcohol accounts for 6 percent of adults’ calorie intake

Washington: Sodas and sugar-sweetened beverages aren’t the only drinks contributing calories to people’s diets, as alcohol accounts for about 5 percent of adults’ caloric intake, a new study has revealed.

Sugary drinks, often the target of public health campaigns and an upcoming New York City law, account for about 6 percent of adults’ calories.

“We’ve been focusing on sugar-sweetened beverages. This is something new,” CBS News quoted one of the study’s authors Cynthia Ogden, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as saying.

The government researchers said that the findings deserve attention because, like soda, alcohol contains few nutrients but plenty of calories.

The CDC study is based on interviews with more than 11,000 US adults from 2007 through 2010.

Participants were asked extensive questions about what they ate and drank over the previous 24 hours.

The study found that the US adult population consumes an average of almost 100 calories per day from alcoholic beverages, with men consuming more than women.

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, men consume 150 calories from alcohol each day, about the equivalent of a can of Budweiser. The average woman drinks about 50 calories or roughly half a glass of wine.

For reference, a 12-ounce can of regular Coca-Cola has 140 calories, slightly less than a same-sized can of regular Bud. A 5-ounce glass of wine is around 100 calories.

Men drink mostly beer. For women, there was no clear favorite among alcoholic beverages.

There were no differences among different races and ethnicities, but there was an age difference in the study carried out.

Young people drank more. Men between 20 and 39 consume almost 175 calories on average from alcoholic drinks, while older men aged 60 and over take in about 96 calories from booze.

Similarly, younger women took in about 60 calories from alcohol while older women consumed about 33 calories from alcoholic drinks.

Although 67 percent of men and 82 percent of women did not drink alcoholic beverages on a given day, almost 20 percent of men and 6 percent of women took in more than 300 calories from alcoholic drinks daily.

The findings are published on the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics website.