The holiday season is about eating, drinking, and being merry. That said, most of us recognize the cost of all that eating — but what about the drinking? To help customers understand how many calories are in their favorite alcoholic beverages, American bars will soon have to show nutritional information for drinks listed on their menus.
The new rules come from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which will soon require food chains with more than 20 restaurants to provide customers with nutritional information for alcoholic beverages (along with other foods). With a deadline set for November 2015, these restaurants should have their new menus ready by the next holiday season.
The idea behind the rules involves showing people how many calories they’re imbibing with each drink. Health experts believe many people simply don’t understand that drinking heavily can have a negative impact on weight control.
“Alcoholic beverages are a key contributor to the calories Americans are consuming, and most of the time when people have a drink they have absolutely no idea what its caloric impact is,” notes Margo Wootan of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
The new menus won’t force restaurants to list calorie counts for every single drink, but will require them to provide calorie estimates for popular alcoholic beverages, such as a glass of red wine, a lager, or a gin and tonic. That means restaurants won’t be breaking down drinks by brand and they won’t have to provide nutritional information for the dozens of unique mixed drinks on their menus.