Daily sugar limit found in two glasses of wine

Research by the Alcohol Health Alliance has revealed the amount of free sugars found in a bottle of wine.

The study looked at 30 of the top selling brands in the UK of red, white, rose and sparkling wine. It found that one 175 ml glass of wine can contain anything from 0 g to 13.8 g of sugar. The same size glass contained between 75.8 to 139.7 kcal.

This means that around 3.4 million adults who drink can add an additional days worth of calories during the week from alcohol alone. This adds up to nearly two months of extra food over the course of a year.

The Alcohol Health Alliance are calling for nutritional information to be put on bottles of wine and other alcoholic beverages as this is not required at the moment. None of the bottles looked at in this study displayed sugar content and only 20% displayed calorie content.

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, Chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance UK said:

“Alcohol’s current exemption from food and drink labelling rules is absurd. Shoppers who buy milk or orange juice have sugar content and nutritional information right at their fingertips. But this information is not required when it comes to alcohol – a product not just fuelling obesity but with widespread health harms and linked to seven types of cancer.

“...As well as calorie labelling and nutritional information, we need prominent health warnings and the UK Chief Medical Officers’ low-risk weekly drinking guidelines on labels. Studies suggest that this could help reduce alcohol harm by increasing knowledge of the health risks and prompting behaviour change.”

Dr Richard Piper, Chief Executive of Alcohol Change UK said:

“This study, along with so many others, reveals a huge failing in alcohol labelling. We as consumers have a right to know what’s in the food and drink we consume and the effects it could have on our health. But time and again we uncover evidence of a woeful lack of even the most basic information on alcohol labelling. 

“As shown by this study, the huge variation and lack of correlation between sugar and alcohol content in wines means that consumers have no way to even infer how much sugar they might be consuming. It’s totally unacceptable that so many alcohol labels continue to fail to display vital health information such as calories, ingredients or nutritional information, as well as the number of units in the bottle or a serving, and the Chief Medical Officers’ (CMOs’) low-risk drinking guidelines. 

A poll in 2021 showed that more than half of us want unit. calorie and sugar information on the label. Better labelling will help us make more informed decisions about what and how much we we choose to drink. You can find out unit and calorie information on a range of alcoholic drinks on the Drinkaware website.


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Daily sugar limit found in two glasses of wine