I remember when I was a teenager and friend explained to me why he resisted the seemingly omnipresent peer pressure at the time to smoke cigarettes. His argument was that, if he was going to smoke something, he’d smoke pot because it gets you high.  He said something like, “Aside from elevating your heart rate and providing an addiction that is nearly impossible to break for many, cigarettes don’t really do anything for you”.

You could say the same thing about the nutritional content in booze and sugary soda since the latter doesn’t do anything for you that diet soda won’t do except make you fat. This and more appear in this Associated Press story that showed up in our paper the other day (not the stuff about cigarettes and pot, just the part about booze and soda).

Americans get too many calories from soda. But what about alcohol? It turns out adults get almost as many empty calories from booze as from soft drinks, a new 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.

Well, alcohol may contain few nutrients, but it has other desirable qualities when consumed in moderation. I recently read that Thomas Jefferson consumed 3-4 glasses of wine every day and that, back then, Americans drank much more than they do today which, according to this story, is on average, one drink a day for men and half that much for women.

Sadly, the mainstream press still seems to routinely ignore the issue of carbohydrates and sugar that, arguably, is much more important than the calorie and nutrients they focus on. It’s worth pointing out that regular Coke has 64 grams of carbohydrates – all sugar – while a bottle of beer has only 5 or 10 carbs. Clearly, beer is better than soda.