There was a recent news article about some academic from some university (I know, the attention to detail in my research for this column is breathtaking, I think it was a Canadian university if that helps) pushing for alcohol producers (like other food groups) to be forced to put ‘nutrition facts’ on the side of beer cans and vodka bottles.
Yikes, what will they think of next?
The academic in question, however, had a point as he was mainly concerned with the number of calories in alcohol and how us unwitting Canadians are particularly clueless when it comes to how much happy hour or the neighbourhood barbecue beverages may be throwing us off our well-intentioned diets.
Although, maybe we need a drink because we’re all continually trying to lose a pound or two (or whatever that is in metric).
Now I’m not normally a fan of these well-intentioned, politically correct but ultimately silly attempts by do-gooders to help us from ourselves.
I kind of know already that when I dig into a bag of Hawkins Cheezies, they’re not that good for me — even though apparently a 50-gram serving provides one per cent of my daily value of iron.
So if I eat 100 grams I get two per cent?
And I am so much richer for knowing my 1.25 litre of Heinz ketchup has a combined zero per cent daily value of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium and Iron.
Why not add it also has zero per cent of riboflavin, roofing materials and snake venom, although the daily requirement of these things — and anything else you care to list on the back of the bottle that isn’t actually in it to help you with your nutrition decisions — is debatable.
Yet these are the same people who guard against any further regulation of the health food industry, where a bottle of supplements can apparently cure pretty much anything that ails you, for the low, low price of $64.75, and it’s on sale and organic of course.
Now the reason booze has never had any nutrition or calorie labelling, according to the story, is that everybody knew spirits and such weren’t really good for you, as in no nutritional value, so why go there?
Yet they put it on Cheezies, although now I know compared to ketchup the Hawkins product is virtually a health food. Just remind me not to put ketchup on my Cheezies, just kidding, as if.
Well, calories, apparently is one reason and I can already think of one benefit of that number being on the side of my beer can.
You see, I drink Bud Light, mostly, and yes I already know I’m not a real man, thank you very much, but that aside if I knew how many calories I was drinking I could compare it to what I used to drink, Coors Light, and other light beers to see which one I should be drinking, calorie-wise.
Taste is another matter but I could also compare it to a real beer and see if am actually drinking less calories along with that less alcohol that’s clearly labelled.
However, I think the nutrition facts on booze is a bit of a waste of time. If you’re looking for nutrition in a bottle you may have a bigger problem than you think.
So let’s put the calories on there along with the alcohol content, which of course is useful, but maybe some helpful warnings are in order too, all in the name of complete transparency and better health outcomes of course.
It’s got to be more useful than the Nutrition Facts for Kraft Dinner.
Beer warning: prolonged use may lead to a Molson muscle (not really a muscle at all), heavy use of the word ‘eh,’ and incessant talk of the Original Six and BCC (before catalytic converters). Overconsumption can lead to strange activities like beer pong and poker games that never end.
Tequila warning: even slight use can lead to singing of song Tequila over and over, which has no other words in it, or in milder cases singing the song Margaritaville, which has considerably more words.
Screech warning: may lead to talking funny so no one can understand you and singing songs about building and sailing boats.
Rum warning: confusion can lead to calling everyone Captain, or sometimes Dave, or when real serious, both.
Wine warning: price and type varies greatly, as does taste. Proceed with caution.
Gin warning: don’t. just don’t.
Vodka warning: see gin.
Rye warning: Best if watching curling. If you’re watching curling, you need it.
Coolers warning: never consume in the winter and only if you have to in the summer, when above 40 degrees Celsius.
Scotch warning: prolonged use can lead to an unexplainable appreciation of bagpipes, kilts and Scotch itself, in that order, as well as an inability to reach to back pocket (for the wallet).
Glenn Mitchell is the former editor of The Morning Star.