IT IS common knowledge that being obese and even overweight is considered bad for your health. Much advice on keeping healthy and preventing illness centres on eating healthily including reducing sugar and salt intake, taking regular exercise and keeping weight under control.

The affects of alcohol on our health and well being is also well researched and documented. Regular drinkers can suffer from a range of problems such as such as fatigue or depression, poor sleep and sexual problems. They may also be more susceptible to high blood pressure, certain cancers and heart problems as well as liver cirrhosis.

But many drinkers may not make the connection between drinking alcohol and weight gain. According to Alcohol Concern, a small charity working on a number of different projects and campaigns to try and reduce the harm caused by alcohol, many people don’t realise the amount of calories that are in their drinks and can unwittingly consume far more than they thought or is healthy for their size and weight.

According to its chart on calories in alcohol, there are 226 calories in an alcopop, 335 calories in a pint of strong ale or lager and 190 calories in a large glass of wine.

Last week MEPs backed calls for compulsory calorie labelling on alcoholic drinks following a vote at the European Parliament.

They called for the European Commission to introduce a new law that would compel all drinks producers to include the calorie content of products on labels.

Although MEPs have supported making calorie labelling on all alcoholic beverages compulsory, it could still take months or years before the proposals become law.

Following the vote, MEPs urged the commission to table a legislative proposal for action by 2016 at the latest.

Alcohol and drugs recovery charity Swanswell, which provides substance misuse and recovery services in Worcestershire, has welcomed the move to bring calorie labelling on alcohol closer to reality.

The charity says as two thirds of English men and over half of English women are overweight, and with over 80 per cent of people not knowing how many calories are in a large glass of wine, this initiative could not come at a better time.

It says it is aware that alcohol can be a significant factor in weight gain, alongside other harms, and knows greater awareness is needed to address this important issue.

It’s for this reason that Swanswell has written an eBook ‘3 simple steps to put your weight loss into hyperdrive’ which is available to download free at

Chief executive of Swanswell Debbie Bannigan said: “It’s fantastic that the European Parliament has voted in favour of calorie labelling on alcohol as part of the wider Alcohol Strategy.

“Although this vote does not guarantee that this will come into force anytime soon, I’m thrilled that it has been backed by such an influential body in the European Union.”

• For helpful tips and advice, not only on alcohol and weight gain, but also how to minimise the risks of drinking, measuring units and drinking responsibly visit