November 20 2012

Regulators Eye Alcohol

Julie Gunlock

According to a new study released by the Centers for Disease Control, adults get almost as many calories from booze as from soft drinks. The study finds that while adults get six percent of their calories from soda and other sugary drinks, five percent of calories comes from alcoholic beverages.  

The CDC reaction to the study is to suggest more regulation on the alcohol industry. Yet, when you look at the actual data, it proves Americans are hardly abusing alcohol. Specifically, the study found:

--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, the average guy drinks 150 calories from alcohol each day, or the equivalent of a can of Budweiser.

--The average woman drinks about 50 calories, or roughly half a glass of wine.

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

--There was no racial or ethnic difference in average calories consumed from alcoholic beverages. But there was an age difference, with younger adults putting more of it away.

Naturally, food (and drink) nanny Margo Wootan at the Center for (Junk) Science and the Public Interest is declaring this new study as reason enough to consider new alcohol restrictions. She told the AP, "In New York City, it was smart to start with sugary drinks. Let's see how it goes and then think about next steps."

That's too bad. One would hope that rational people realize this data proves soda isn't the only thing making people fat. Nor is alcohol consumption. Therefore, regulating one product--like soda or alcohol--won't do anything to reduce obesity. Clearly, people are engaging in habits other than soda-drinking that are contributing to their own obesity. Should we regulate every single food and beverage? Shall we wait for a study on Dorito consumption habits?  Pizza habits? Ice Cream habits?

And let's just consider the differences between soda and alcohol. If you drink too much alcohol, it isn't just obesity you'll be dealing with; it's alcoholism. You likely won't be able to hold down a job, your family and finances will suffer and you'll soon die if you don't seek treatment. It is an unsustainable track. That reality offers Americans a pretty strong disincentive to abuse alcohol. People know this; they understand the reality of alcoholism; it's destructiveness. Given this built-in disincentive, is there really a need for more regulations?

Of course not. But that won't stop government regulators and food nannies from pushing this study as yet more proof that we need the government to step in and save us from our lesser angels.

 

 

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