Most people have no idea what can be legally lurking in alcoholic beverages. Since the Department of Treasury predominately regulates alcohol, companies aren’t required to disclose their ingredients. One exception is for non-malt beer and wine containing less than 7% alcohol, which is subsequently regulated by the FDA rather than the TTB (The Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.)
To make matters more complicated, different states within the U.S. can have different labeling standards. Not only has Big Alcohol taken advantage of this ridiculous allowance, they’ve aggressively lobbied politicians to keep the status quo. As a result, here are some concerning substances you might find in beer, wine, liquor, or other alcoholic beverages and spirits:
- Artificial Colors (often linked to allergies, hyperactivity, and asthma)
- BPA (found in some can liners and linked to endocrine disruption)
- Calcium Disodium EDTA (may cause cancer)
- Caramel Coloring or 4-Mel (may cause cancer)
- Gelatin (an animal product)
- GMO Corn, Corn Syrup or HFCS
- Fish Bladder also known as Isinglass (an animal product)
- Propylene Glycol (also found in antifreeze)
- Sulfites (known to cause severe and even fatal reactions in certain people)
- Nicotine (ironically this ingredient is labeled in products sold in stores and promoted by specialized bars even though nicotine has been used for hundreds of years as an insecticide)
Note: Greenpeace found an unapproved GMO rice strain in Budweiser and Bud Light in 2007.
German beers must adhere to a purity law called Reinheitsgebot which ensures they’re only produced with water, hops, yeast, malted barley or wheat. They also don’t fluoridate any of the water in Germany. Obviously going with an organic, German beer is one of the safest ways to avoid chemical ingredients. Organic microbreweries as well as wineries in the U.S. are another option (especially when they’re local), but you have to keep a watchful eye on who owns the company. Multinational corporations are buying them up all the time.
Holistic Secret: If you drink,look for wine labels that are certified organic (to avoid pesticides) as well as sulfite-free (to minimize the risk of headaches and hangovers.) Prioritizing organic, as well as vegan, beers and other spirits over non-organic and non-vegan options is also recommended.
Alcoholic Beverages & Cancer Warnings
Consumer groups are urging the U.S. government to mandate warning labels on alcoholic beverages in order to alert the public of the link between alcohol and cancer. The goal is that the labels will increase public awareness and cancer prevention since less than half of American adults are currently aware of the connection. The proposed label would state:
“Government Warning: According to the Surgeon General, consumption of alcoholic beverages can cause cancer, including breast and colon cancers.”
Not surprisingly, there has been industry pushback. Some have even pointed to older studies that indicate health benefits from moderate drinking. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no way to conclusively link alcohol consumption with improved health. Additionally, the Surgeon General’s 2016 report pointed out that, “Even one drink per day may increase the risk of breast cancer.”
So, if the Tobacco Industry is required to issue cancer warnings on their high-risk and often deadly products, it makes sense for the Alcoholic Beverages Industry to do the same. The American Public Health Association, the U.S. Alcohol Policy Alliance, and the American Institute for Cancer Research all agree it is time to update the warning labels.
How Often and How Much to Drink?
When it comes to preventing cancer, protecting your liver, waistline, and general physical and emotional health, dig deep to find the answers on how much or how often to drink alcohol. Some people absolutely have to avoid it given personal or family history of alcohol and/or sugar abuse. Some people have an abundance of healthy habits in place that allow them to have more flexibility with drinking. For myself, I rarely drink anymore because cancer prevention is a high priority for me and I simply feel so much better without it. I also don’t like supporting Big Alcohol. Learn why in Follow the Money: The Alcoholic Beverage Industry.
There’s a whole world of natural alternatives to alcohol to up the fun or unwind. Learn more through my health and wellness programs.
My mission: As a Holistic Health Coach & Eco Expert, I’m dedicated to leading you straight to the core of what it takes to enjoy a new level of vitality, desired weight loss, sustainability, and detoxification. Enjoy my transformative programs and experience true health with true purpose!
 HangTheBankers.com “GMOs now in beer” September 14th, 2013. Accessed July 2nd, 2019.
 CBSNews.com “Alcoholic beverages should carry cancer warnings, health groups say” by Megan Cerullo. June 28th, 2019. Accessed July 3rd, 2019. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/cancer-warning-labels-proposed-for-alcohol/