Calorie Labeling Is Coming To A Cocktail Menu Near You

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 12/28/2014 | 09:00 AM EST

The FDA offers final guidelines requiring restaurants to inform consumers of caloric intake

Ever sat at a bar and thought to yourself, “How many calories are in this cosmo?”

While drinking for many lush enthusiasts is something that's enjoyable--especially in social settings--you can’t help but think just how much damage you’re doing to your caloric diet. If you're one of the countless Americans who obsess over how much calories they intake on any given day, you may be pleased to know that drink menus will soon include such information.

Announced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, final guidelines have been made that will require chain restaurants to label the calories in your cocktail glass. But there are limitations. Only cocktail options on standard menus will be provided with calorie information, which means ordering special concoctions like a Sex on the Beach from the bar aren’t fair game. You’re going to have to let your imagination determine the damage.

Still, the FDA believes the new guideline will contribute to raising the dietary consciousness of consumers who may often throw back drinks without concern for how much calories they’re sipping on.


“From a public health perspective, we agree that requiring nutrition labeling of alcoholic beverages that are standard menu items is more likely to enable consumers to compare beverage options and make informed order selections in covered establishments,” says the FDA in an overview of food and drink labeling. “In addition, while obesity may be related to poor diet generally and a lack of exercise, calories in alcoholic beverages contribute to obesity and overweight just like calories in other foods.”

Alcoholic beverages, the FDA says, contribute a substantial portion of average total calories consumed by American adults. A report, the agency sites, found that alcoholic beverages rank sixth in a list of the top 25 food sources of calories among Americans ages 2 years and older, and fifth in a list of the top 25 food sources of calories among adult Americans ages 19 years and older.

While knowledge is power it doesn’t necessarily mean seeing calorie labeling will deter the habitual drinker from enjoying a cocktail or two. However, the publicizing of such figures could make one think twice before they order that third or fourth round of margaritas. You can pour it up, but just make sure you don’t over do it. Less is more, ladies.

(Photo: Ned Frisk/Blend Images/Corbis)

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