“Average wine drinker puts on half a stone of fat a year, says campaign group,” whatever that means. Ah, it’s British—in American English the headline would read, “Average wine drinker puts on seven pounds of fat a year, says campaign group.”

That’s a fair bit of weight. But the British government’s campaign is based on the somewhat dubious assumption that all alcohol consumption comes in addition to a full day of calories, abetted by the idea that alcohol consumption demands the additional eating of fatty/salty snacks. The Telegraph compounds the damage with odd math, suggesting that “the average wine drinker consumes an extra 2,000 calories a month—the equivalent of 184 bags of crisps.” Crisps are potato chips, but is any bag of chips a mere 11 calories?

Two facts are apparent after reading the story: One, yes, alcohol has calories, and anyone who doesn’t understand that is probably dealing with bigger problems than unexpected weight gain. And two, the British government seems absolutely heedless of enhancing its reputation as the world’s most clucking, scolding nanny state.

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