Alcohol contributes up to four times more to global calorie consumption than soft drinks

Francesca Washtell
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Cocktails are brimming with both booze and sugar (Source: Getty)

Alcoholic drinks contributed up to four times more than soft drinks to global calorie consumption last year, according to research released today by Euromonitor International.

Energy obtained from alcohol in 24 countries including as the UK, Japan and Germany exceeded that consumed via soft drinks, in a trend driven by consumers increasingly shunning sugar and watching calorie intake.

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In the UK, an average person took in 98.3 calories per day via soft drinks and 106.3 from alcohol, while in France the average person had 88 calories a day from drinks versus 109.3 from booze.

Read more: WHO urges more countries to adopt tax on sugary drinks

"Sugar has been branded as 'toxic' and 'the new tobacco', with soft drinks cited as one of the main contributors to sugar intake," said Sara Petersson, nutrition analyst at Euromonitor International.

Though sugar is indeed strongly related to obesity and diseases, so is alcohol. In addition to that, the evidence for the relationship between alcohol consumption and morbidity is far stronger, and the effects far more detrimental to health.

Interestingly, while the focus on calorie reduction has been primarily put on soft drinks, [Euromonitor's] Passport Nutrition [research] has shown that alcoholic drinks are not far off in terms of the energy they provide, and even overtake soft drinks in some instances.

Euromonitor recently found the sugar-shunning trend has also boosted sales of healthier snacks, while last year sugary snacks had their slowest rate of growth since 2008.

The consultation on George Osborne's proposed soft drinks levy, which is due to be introduced in 2018, closed last week.

The tax will make soft drinks companies pay a charge for drinks with added sugar, and total sugar content of five grams or more per 100 millilitres.

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