It’s a pastime for many: at the end of a tough work week you grab a few friends and head out for a glass of wine or two. Or maybe you have a few beers and watch the game. But when you grab that drink, do you really know what you’re putting in your body?
A new Canadian vodka company has made it its mission to be transparent when it comes to the ingredients in its beverages by including nutritional labels on its drinks.
“You work so hard to make good decisions all week and then when you want to enjoy a drink, we wanted people to be able to grab something they could feel good about,” Neetu Godara with Social Lite Vodka said.
“So you’ll see on the front of our package, we display that there’s 80 calories, and on the back, similar to what you would get on all the food and beverages you consume, we have a full nutritional facts table and a full ingredient list.”
Social Lite Vodka is one of just a few companies in Canada that voluntarily display nutritional information on their labels. While the percentage of alcohol is required, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency does not require most alcoholic beverages to show ingredients or nutritional facts.
“We all think about those things in everything else that we eat and everything else that we drink,” Godara explained.
Registered dietitian Lalitha Taylor, who is also the national spokesperson for Dietitians of Canada, said many people don’t realize just how much sugar and how many calories are in some alcoholic beverages.
A five-ounce glass of wine contains about 100 calories, as does 1.5 oz. of hard liquor. A 12 oz. beer contains about 140 calories, Taylor said, but often times serving sizes are larger in bars and restaurants.
While it may not seem like a lot, that number spikes when it comes to drinks like ciders, specialty beverages and mixed cocktails.
“The same amount of calories as a chocolate bar, and that can be pretty astounding when you have maybe two or three of those beverages,” Taylor said, adding a 4.5 oz. serving of pina colada, for example, is about 245 calories.
Plus, there are other ingredients people may not even think about.
“Some alcoholic beverages have blue dyes in them, maybe even some red dye,” Taylor explained. “A lot of people don’t realize that beer has gluten in it.
“That increased transparency of having that ingredient list there and available can help consumers make more informed decisions.”
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency did not return Global News’ call for comment Wednesday.
With files from Su-Ling Goh, Global News.