Up to four times more calories are consumed in alcoholic beverages than in soft drinks, according to new data compiled by Euromonitor.
In the UK, people consume 106.3 calories from beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks, but only 98.3 from soft drinks.
“Though sugar is indeed strongly related to obesity and diseases, so is alcohol,” said Euromonitor’s nutrition analyst Sara Petersson. “In addition to that, the evidence for the relationship between alcohol consumption and morbidity is far stronger, and the effects far more detrimental to health.”
Any alcoholic drink with an ABV of more than 1.2% is exempt from EU regulations that require food and drink products to have nutritional labels. Last year, MEPs called for the introduction of compulsory calorie labelling on alcoholic drinks.
Some of the biggest drinks firms, including AB Inbev and Diageo, have made voluntary commitments to use calorie labels across their brands. Sainsbury’s and Waitrose are amongst the supermarkets to have introduced nutritional information on some wines.
Last week, the Court of Session in Edinburgh ruled that the Scottish Government’s minimum pricing on alcohol policy does not breach European laws.
The new rules will now be brought in “as soon as possible”, according to the country’s health minister Shona Robison. Under the plans, alcohol will be priced at a minimum of 50p per unit.