When you join friends for a drink do you think about the calories? Of course not, but your government does. America is gaining weight faster than Joey Chestnut can scarf a hot dog and that, combined with a BOGO on Doritos, has forced Washington to take a stand. It’s one of the only things they’ll agree on these days besides calling each other names.
Some alcoholic beverages may be getting nutritional labels like those on food packaging since the U.S. the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) made nutrition labels optional for booze back in 2013. Why is the Treasury Department concerned about the number of calories in my mojito? Shouldn’t ‘Treasury’ be concerned about how much they cost?
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATF) in the Treasury Dept. seeks to reduce alcohol smuggling and my waistline. It’s good to know the government is thinking of social drinkers. Let them not tinker with social security. They lost us on that ‘food pyramid’ thing, now they want a drink pyramid?
The Treasury Dept. ‘regulates’ alcohol, beer, wine and spirits and say companies can use labels that include serving size, servings per container, calories, carbohydrates, protein and fat per serving. “Fat per serving?’ Do you think about fat content while chugging a brewski? Yeah, after downing a few drinks it’s hard to keep track of how many carbs are in the mint leaves because I don’t want to go over my minimum daily requirement. Mint and lime is so fattening. Speaking of ‘fat per serving’ the longer you imbibe, the less important it becomes. Keep drinking.
Liquor companies want to advertise low calories and low carbohydrates in their products, but protein and fat content? What’s the fat content of a vodka martini? There’s no fat in an olive. I don’t think an olive is harmful unless you swallow the pit. Olives are on the Mediterranean diet and as long as we’re counting, that’s a drink that should count as salad. If we add up the orange slice, lemon twist and other fruit, it’s more like a little salad on the side.
Restaurants and clubs also add fruit to specialty drinks. Do you want a thirsty patron to wait for their drink while the bar staff counts up the calories in a Blueberry-lemon-raspberry-mango fizz? How long will we stand for that? Consumer groups want alcoholic drinks to have the same transparency as packaged foods. Look; some say , there’s nothing harmful about drinking in moderation unless you strain your eyes trying to read the label. Are they going to legislate better lighting in bars so you can do that?
To their credit, the alcohol industry has opposed the idea of defining serving size by fluid ounces of pure alcohol on the grounds that you may get more than 1.5 ounces of liquor in a cocktail depending on what else is in the drink and how much you’ve tipped the bartender.
Just show a beer drinker a can that says, ‘serving size’ and see how loud they laugh. 12 ounces of beer is considered a ‘serving size’ in what country? I want the ‘World’s Most Interesting Man’ on the ‘beer committee’ of the BATF. If you want to be thin and drink, do it with gin which has no calories, a Pina Colada has the most, but I’m not publishing the amount. That’s something you shouldn’t think about when you want to throw back a few. Stay thirsty my friends.