drink.jpgNEW YORK — Americans get too many calories from soda. But it turns out adults get almost as many empty calories from booze as from soft drinks, a government study found.

Soda and other sweetened drinks – the focus of obesity-fighting public health campaigns — are the source of about 6 percent of the calories adults consume, on average.

Alcoholic beverages account for about 5 percent, the new study found.


“We’ve been focusing on sugar-sweetened beverages. This is something new,” said Cynthia Ogden, one of the study's authors. She’s an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which released its findings Thursday.

The government researchers say the findings deserve attention because, like soda, alcohol contains few nutrients but plenty of calories.

The study is based on interviews with more than 11,000 U.S. adults from 2007 through 2010. Participants were asked extensive questions about what they ate and drank over the previous 24 hours.

The study found

• On any given day, about one-third of men and one-fifth of women took in calories from beer, wine or liquor.
• Averaged out to all adults, the average guy drinks 150 calories from alcohol each day, or the equivalent of a can of Budweiser.
• The average woman drinks about 50 calories, or roughly half a glass of wine.
• Men drink mostly beer. For women, there was no really clear favorite among
alcoholic beverages.
• There was no racial or ethnic difference in average calories consumed from alcoholic beverages.

But there was an age difference, with younger adults putting more of it away. For reference, a 12-ounce can of regular Coca-Cola has 140 calories, slightly less than a same-sized can of regular Bud.