NEW YORK – American adults get almost as many empty calories from booze as from soft drinks, a government study has found.
Soda and other sweetened drinks — the focus of obesity-fighting public health campaigns — are the source of about 6 percent of the calories adults consume, on average. Alcoholic beverages account for about 5 percent, 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 soda, 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, of 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.
For reference, a 12-ounce can of regular Coca-Cola has 140 calories, slightly less than a same-sized can of regular Budweiser. A 5-ounce glass of wine is about 100 calories.