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Doctor Blog-How Much Alcohol Is In Your Drink?

Posted Jul 22 2008 10:55am
To follow is a press release addressing alcohol use and container labeling to help consumers decide how much they alcohol they are getting in the drinks they are choosing.

NCL Challenges Myth that Some Alcoholic
Beverages Are
“Safer” and “Less Potent”

New Initiative Underscores Need for New Alcohol Label

                                         Bottle Shot

Washington, DC; July 16, 2008 – For the many Americans confused about the
potency of different alcoholic beverages, one of the most respected national
consumer organizations has this important message: it is a myth that beer and
wine are not as strong as the typical cocktail. Standard serving sizes of all
alcohol beverages -- beer, wine, and distilled spirits -- are equal in alcohol
strength and their effect on the body.

Because even the most basic information about alcohol content is not clearly
and consistently listed on the labels of beer, wine and distilled spirits products,
the National Consumers League is going public with Alcohol: How It All Adds Up,
a new initiative challenging the myth that some alcoholic beverages are “safer”
and less “potent” than others. According to the League, this belief is pervasive
and linked with the overconsumption of alcohol and the permissive attitudes of
some parents about underage drinking. In an opinion poll commissioned by the
Center for Government Reform, 88% of parents mistakenly concluded that beer
is safer than liquor.

“Without ready access to information about the amount of alcohol they are
consuming, many Americans believe that beer and wine offer a ‘soft’ option and
can be consumed in greater amounts than so-called ‘hard’ liquor,” said Sally
Greenberg, Executive Director of the League. “We are trying to give consumers
the basics about the alcohol content of different alcoholic beverages, but the
real answer is government action to require standardized and complete labeling
information on beer, wine and distilled spirits products. Consumers should know
how many calories, carbohydrates, and other nutrition information are in a
standard drink.  They have it for nonalcoholic beverages, food, and nonprescription
drugs.  It is time for this information to be on the labels for alcoholic beverages.”

The Meaning of a “Standard Drink”

While renewing its calls for the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to
make information about the alcohol content per serving a requirement on alcohol
labels, the League is attempting to fill the void with a new guide that tackles one
of the most important concepts for consumers to grasp – what constitutes a
“standard drink.” Research commissioned by the League finds 54% of Americans
don’t know there is such a thing as a “standard drink,” even though a large
majority of state drivers’ license manuals and national and state public health
agencies use the “standard drink” concept to explain responsible drinking.

As the guide explains, the common denominator for a “standard drink” of beverage
alcohol is 0.6 fluid ounces of pure alcohol. Based on this amount of alcohol, a
standard drink consists of a 12-ounce bottle or can of regular beer (5% alcohol),
a 5-ounce glass of regular (dinner) wine (12% alcohol), and a 1.5 ounce drink of
80 proof (40% alcohol) distilled spirits or liquor (either straight or in a mixed drink).
 “It shouldn’t take a calculator to know how much alcohol you are consuming,”
Greenberg stated. “Better labeling is badly needed to tell how many ‘standard
drinks’ are in a particular product. If consumers can tell from the label how many
standard drinks they are consuming, they can learn their limits and avoid
exceeding them.”

Misperceptions Contribute to Underage Drinking, Binge Drinking

As part of its initiative, the National Consumers League is also calling on parents
and community leaders to address underage drinking, reporting that parents
often underestimate how early drinking begins, how much alcohol their adolescents
consume, and the risks involved. According to the National Institute on Alcohol
Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), three-fourths of 12th graders, more than two-thirds
of 10th graders, and about two in every five 8th graders have consumed alcohol.
Compounding the problem, research commissioned by The Century Council finds
that 65% of underage youth who drink obtain alcohol from their parents, their
friends’ parents, older friends and older siblings or have easy access to alcohol
on college campuses.

“Parents need to understand that one can of beer or one wine cooler has roughly
the alcohol equivalence of one shot of vodka,” said Greenberg. “Believing
otherwise undermines and runs counter to all we know and all we have done
to prevent underage drinking.”

While underage drinking is associated with motor vehicle crashes, major injuries
and delinquency problems, what is not well understood is its link to binge drinking,
which NIAAA defines as a pattern of drinking alcohol that brings blood alcohol
concentration to 0.08 grams percent or above. For the typical adult, this pattern
corresponds to consuming five or more drinks for men, or four or more drinks
for women, in about 2 hours. Consumption at this pace can also result in alcohol
poisoning, a serious condition that can lead to choking, coma and even death.

“Study after study shows that parents have the most influence over their teen’s
decision to drink,” Greenberg said. “Parents should be a role model for their teen
about responsible drinking, whether they drink or not. This means talking regularly
and often about drinking alcohol, including how to resist the peer pressure that
can lead to underage and binge drinking.”

New Tools for Consumers

To improve Americans’ alcohol awareness, the National Consumers League is
making available a new Alcohol: How It All Adds Up guide and a series of information
sheets about alcohol content, alcohol labels, and binge drinking to consumers,
community leaders and health professionals. These materials are available in
downloadable form on the League’s Web site,

About the National Consumers League

Founded in 1899, the National Consumers League is America’s pioneer consumer
organization. Its mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice
for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. NCL is a private,
nonprofit membership organization. For more information, visit

         Thailand Drunk Driving  Drunk Driving Is Clear In Any Language.
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