339 Alcohol & Labels


Research by Vasiljevic, Milica., Couturier, Dominique-Laurent., Frings, Daniel., Moss, Antony. C., Albery, Ian. P., Marteau T. M. (2018)Vasiljevic, Milica., Couturier, Dominique-Laurent., Frings, Daniel., Moss, Antony. C., Albery, Ian. P., Marteau T. M. (2018)

Written by  Shannon Cantalupo, B.S. 

Have you ever looked at the label for alcohol content when deciding which alcoholic drink to take?  Or, calories? Oh, FDA doesn’t require calories on alcohol labels but alcohol can add significant weight gain.

United Kingdom researchers studied how labeling of wine and beer impacted how much an individual consumed. They hypothesized that the lower the alcohol content on the beverage label, the more the user would consume.

They split 264 weekly wine and beer drinkers into three groups, for the purpose of wine or beer taste testing. They gave Group 1 alcohol with a verbal description of “Super Low,” the lowest alcohol percentage (4% Alcohol by Volume for wine or 1% for beer. Group 2 with a verbal description of “Low,” (8%, 3%) and Group 3 Regular “alcohol” but no labeled alcohol percentage.

Results? The “Super Low” Group consumed more in total volume of the beverage than Regular “alcohol” Group, but neither of these groups differed from the “Low” labeled group.  Thus, labels of “Super Low” led to greater consumption of alcohol.

So, next time you wisely choose the lowest alcoholic content, remember your human inclination and not allow yourself to drink even more!


Vasiljevic, M., Couturier, D., Frings, D., Moss, A. C., Albery, I. P., Marteau T. M. (2018) Impact of lower strength alcohol labeling on consumption: A randomized controlled trial. Health    Psychology, 37(7), 658-667.

Calories from alcohol may be calculated using specific Atwater factors as provided for in 21 CFR 101.9(c)(1)(i)(A). USDA Handbook No. 74 provides a specific food factor of 7.07 calories per gram of alcohol.


About Author

Adele Hall is the administrative assistant for the School of Psychology in charge of uploading the Psychology Science minutes. The authors of the minutes are listed in the written portion. The Psychology Science Minutes are coordinated by Juanita N. Baker, Ph.D., faculty emerita, and reviewed by former Dean Mary Beth Kenkel, faculty emerita.

Comments are closed.