Public health officials in Liverpool are abandoning the use of alcohol units in their struggle against heavy drinking and are instead now talking about calories.
Traditionally, alcohol consumption is measured using units: one pint of beer is worth two units, a standard glass of wine is just over two units, and a shot of average strength spirit is one unit.
However, Public Health Liverpool has decided to focus on the calorie content of alcoholic drinks instead of units in an attempt to get people to ‘think differently and trigger a change in the way they behave.’
Their Drink Less Feel Good initiative focuses on the fact that three pints of beer contains 510 calories - the equivalent of two burgers - while drinking three glasses of wine is the same as eating three doughnuts.
As part of the new campaign, people will be able to go online and complete ‘My Drinks Check’ - a tool that gives personalised and tailored information on how many calories people are consuming through drinking.
‘Over time, we have seen people drinking alcohol as part of everyday life and becoming an entrenched behaviour as they often use it to unwind at the end of the day and when socialising at the weekend,’ said Dr Sandra Davies, director of Public Health.
‘When we’ve asked people about alcohol units it is clear that they find it really hard to equate it to the amount that they drink, and that they don’t realise that alcohol contains empty calories with no nutritional value at all.
‘We’d encourage anyone to take just a few minutes to complete the My Drinks Check - you may be surprised how many calories you drink through alcohol.’
Cllr Paul Brant, cabinet member for adult health, said: ‘Making small changes to your drinking habits can help manage your weight, lift your mood, boost your energy levels and generally make you feel good.
‘We want to make it as easy as possible for people to make little changes that can be slotted into everyday life such as swapping to lower strength beer or wine and alternating alcoholic drinks with water.
‘We’re not asking people to give up alcohol altogether - we’re giving them the tools to know whether or not they are having too much, and if so give them hints and tips to drink a little less.’