The Marin Institute has published a study titled, “Questionable Health Claims by Alcohol Companies: From Protein Vodka to Weight-Loss Beer,” highlighting several vodka and beer products purportedly marketed with claims about protein fortification, antioxidant nutrients, all-natural ingredients, and fitness and weight-loss qualities. According to the institute, the study has been forwarded to the Federal Trade Commission with a “demand for increased oversight and legal action to stop these obviously deceptive marketing claims.”

The study’s co-authors, including attorney Michele Simon, who serves as the institute’s Research and Policy Director, conclude that lax federal oversight and a trend made popular by the food industry have combined to allow the industry to promote their “potentially dangerous” products with “healthy, strong sports stars and colorful, enticing fruit images” that tend to “further the normalization of drinking alcohol and to excess” as well as “send the message that drinkers can actually gain nutritional benefits from consuming a potentially deadly product.”

Claiming that “[a]lcohol is not a health and wellness product,” Simon said, “The wine industry has been exaggerating wine’s health benefits for years.

Now Big Alcohol is taking such messages to a whole new level.” She contends that “Even moderate consumption is responsible for a wide range of health problems, including heart disease and various cancers, not to mention an epidemic of underage drinking. Alcohol is not a health tonic; it can cause life-long suffering and destroy families. Where are those messages?” See Marin Institute Press Release, June 28, 2011.