- Food and Cooking
The Right Drinks for You: How to Stay Slim While Still Enjoying Your Favorite Alcoholic Beverage
To maintain a regular body weight and to stay in good health, doctors and fitness specialists recognize the importance of eating right and getting enough exercise. Most people are encouraged to consume about 2000 or 2500 calories a day, and to monitor things like carbohydrates and sugars in a diet, as these can lead to unnecessary calories and fat deposits in the body.
How Alcohol and Its Calories Affect You
While this is relatively common knowledge, it is difficult to always count calories in our busy lives, particularly while having fun or going out on the town. Drinking alcohol inarguably adds senseless calories to our diet, and usually has a surprising number of carbohydrates and sugars.
This does not mean, however, that anyone needs to stop drinking completely if trying to be calorie-conscious. It simply means keeping a close eye on what’s in that beer, wine, cocktail or shot glass. While I can’t tell you what to drink when you’re out, this article might be able to help you make choices that fit your lifestyle, and keep you looking fit as well.
Calories in Beer
Since beer is made from barley, hops, and grains, it is essentially liquid bread – extra calories and tons of carbohydrates. Miller, Coors, Budweiser, and even Bud Light can rack up about 100 calories per 12 oz., with Heineken tipping the scales at over 150 cal per 12 oz. However, some brews have broken free of that mold, and many today are less than 100 calories with much less sugars and carbs than other brands.
Natural Light Beer from Anheuser-Busch is only 95 calories per 12 oz, about 20 cal. less per drink than regular Budweiser. Yet the unexpected winner, with no less than 2 low-cal, low-carb options is Michelob. Michelob offers a ‘Golden Draft,’ which is only about 70 cal. per 12 oz., as well as a Michelob 64, which is – you guessed it – only 64 calories! Both are also low in carbohydrates as well, making them the least unhealthy beer option!
Craft beers are often much higher in calories then most IPA's (Indian Pale Ales) pack a whopping estimated 200 calories per 12 ounce bottle! Stouts are also infamously and deceptively high in calories. More popular brands such as Guinness estimate at about 160 calories per pint, and Sierra Nevada Stouts can reach anywhere up to 200 calories per 12 ounce, depending on the style.
It is also a common misconception that rose or blush wines are usually the more health-conscious option than their darker or lighter counterparts. Unfortunately, this opinion is slightly wrong, or at least overly exaggerated. Red wines usually do have the most calories per volume, usually averaging about 150 per 6 oz. glass. White wines have less, usually between 120-130 cal. per glass. And the pinks wines come in not too far behind, usually averaging about 120 calories per 6 oz glass. While these wines are the less-calorie option, most wines are packed with sugars, although significantly less sugar and carbohydrates than in most beers.
Liquor and Mixed Drinks
For most 80 proof liquors, whether it is vodka, gin, rum, or whisky, one shot glass usually contains between 65-75 cal. per shot. Typically most hard liquors are served with some high-sugar (or high-frucrose corn syrup) additive to make the drink more enjoyable, such as triple sec, grenadine, sodas, and juices. So which would be the most health conscious option? The answer depends on what you’re looking for.
Many people take their liquor served with orange or cranberry juice, and in truth that may be the healthier option, and is definitely the more natural choice; however, mixing some OJ with vodka doesn’t equate to one daily serving of fruit, and your body tends not to absorb many of the nutrients in the juice itself. Therefore the juice actually becomes extra sugar and calories in a fruity drink.
Your Best Options Overall
In truth the lowest-calorie mixed drinks at a bar are any hard liquor (as most are the same amount of calories ounce-per-ounce) mixed with diet cola. A rum and diet coke, for example, can amount to under 100 calories with little or no sugar and carbs. Just remember to order single servings of alcohol per drink to save extra calories.
The carbonation in these drinks also fill you up so you don’t drink each one as quickly as some other drinks, or order another drink as often. This helps you save calories – and face – while out on the town.Many people may feel concerned about drinking diet cola, as it is made with various additives and chemicals, and if so, drinks with liquor and fruit juice are always a good second option.
So if you’re counting calories, carbs, or just trying to make a more health-conscious choice, look for Miller 64 if drinking beer, rose or occasionally white wine if you prefer the fruit of the vine, and feel free to take the liquor of your choosing over diet cola if you prefer to mix it up. And remember, exercise is also important to any healthy lifestyle, and if you missed your workout today, just take your low-calorie drink and hit the dance-floor!