Raise a Toast: Understanding Alcohol's Calories

by in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Tips, December 27, 2008

‘Tis the season for toasting and tippling. There’s no need to deny yourself a drink or two at a New Year’s Eve party this year — it’s knowing how to control all those calories that’s the tricky part. Keep this info in mind:

Keeping Count
At any wet bar, your basic choices include wine, beer and hard alcohol (plus a plethora of mixers). A single serving of each is about 100-150 calories — that’s 5 fluid ounces of wine, 12 fluid ounces of beer and 1.5 fluid ounces of hard alcohol (i.e. gin, vodka or whiskey). Be mindful of how much you pour; most glasses of wine average at least 6 to 8 fluid ounces. Experts recommend men consume a maximum of two drinks a day, women one a day. And sorry, but you can’t save all your drinks for Saturday night.

High-calorie mixed drinks — margaritas or daiquiris — are loaded with sugar and multiple servings of hard alcohol. An average margarita has about 500 calories! Drinks made with juices and sodas are not much better. Your best bet is a glass of wine or a bottle of light beer. Mixing seltzer or diet soda with hard alcohol also helps skim some calories.

The Benefits
Consuming a modest amount of alcohol may protect against heart disease and type-2 diabetes. Some research has attributed heart health benefits to resveratrols and tannins, the antioxidants found in wine. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that more is better since excessive alcohol consumption has been shown to increase the risk of other health conditions.

The Bottomline
Stick to 100-150 calorie servings of wine, beer and hard alcohol and consider rotating drinks with water or another calorie-free option. That keeps you hydrated and, hopefully, hangover-free (if you do overdo it) the next day.


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Comments (19)

  1. Julie says:

    Good tip!

  2. Mary says:

    I am sure not going to be counting calories on NYE !!! However, the tips will be in the back of my mind. I am a light beer girl, so I think i'll try adding a bottle of water in between a couple. Happy 2010 !!! Thanks

  3. erinb says:

    I believe also, that drinking zero or low carb beverages also helps. Sipping a zero carb over the rocks ( hard alcohol) slllllllloooooooooooooooooooowwwllllyyyy lets you be social but sober as well, if you are like so many that do not like the hard stuff.

  4. MichelleDz says:

    MGD 64, is a Great tasting light beer to me and if, you really want to slow your consumption of it down drink it on the rocks….no says, you can't have real icey cold beer.

  5. monkey says:

    The light beer is also my choice! Don’t forget, there will be lots of sobriety check points, and police will be in full force! Have a safe NYE !!! See ya next year!

  6. Marija says:

    What about champagne?

  7. Tina says:

    Drinking is fine.. Ok to celebrate the new year…Jus learn to limit yourself..and have a designated driver..don't drink and drive..remember when you feel a buzz you are beginning to get drunk..take it EZ and be safe at all times and use your common sense.

    Aloha & Mahalo

  8. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also.Keep working ,great job!

  9. As a Newbie, I am always searching online for articles that can help me. Thank you

  10. […] Actually have “1 drink” Healthy guidelines for alcohol consumption are based on specific portions: 5 fluid ounces of wine, 12 fluid ounces of beer or 1 shot (1½  […]

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