Holiday Drinking - Beware!

December strikes tomorrow! With holiday parties lining the calendar, it’s a good time take stock of your drinking habits to make sure you don’t overdo the alcohol calories.

This may be news to some, but the majority of alcoholic drinks have a lot of calories, often more than the dessert you turn down. To boot, having a drink or two before or with a meal may actually stimulate you to eat more. Researchers speculate that alcohol increases the pleasure of eating. While “under the influence,” it’s also more likely that you will lose your inhibitions and indulge in foods that are less nutritious.

Without a doubt, the calories in your alcoholic drink can affect your waistline just as the alcohol can affect your mental functioning and physical health. But you can enjoy small amounts of alcohol and still maintain or even lose weight. The key? Arm yourself with calorie facts and follow the tips below.

How many calories are you drinking?

Weight gain, loss, or maintenance depends on how many calories you take in. Most people are completely unaware of how many calories are in certain drinks. It’s easy to go overboard without realizing it.

The calorie amounts listed here are for an average size drink. Many drinks may have even more, depending on how big the tumbler, glass, or beer mug is.

  • Beer (regular) 12 oz. - 150 calories
  • Beer (light) 12 oz. - 100 calories
  • Bloody Mary 10 oz. - 125 calories
  • Champagne 4 oz. - 80 calories
  • Daiquiri 10 oz. - 300 calories
  • Eggnog 8 oz. - 350 calories
  • Kahlua 1.5 oz. - 140 calories
  • Long Island Iced Tea 10 oz. - 580 calories
  • Martini 6 oz. - 280 calories
  • Margarita 8 oz. - 420 calories
  • Pina colada 10 oz. - 550 calories
  • Screwdriver 8 oz. - 190 calories
  • Shot of liquor 1.5 oz. - 100(gin, rum, vodka, whiskey)
  • Whiskey sour 8 oz. - 375 calories
  • White Russian 8 oz. - 500 calories
  • Wine (red or white) 6 oz. - 120 calories
Here are two more things to keep in mind about alcohol:
  • Alcohol can cause dehydration. Make sure to drink plenty of water when you have alcohol. Your body is better able to process fat when it’s properly hydrated.
  • Alcohol does not fill you up. Alcohol contains calories but doesn’t typically make you full. This still leaves plenty of room for other indulgences.
Strategies for smart drinking
  • If you drink, do so only in moderation. This means no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women.
  • Avoid drinking on an empty stomach. This will lead to faster absorption of the alcohol and even more impaired judgment.
  • Drink slowly and alternate each beverage with water or seltzer. This allows you to have something in your hand while spacing out your alcohol intake.
  • Mix alcohol with water, ice, or seltzer. This avoids the extra calories found in mixers, sodas, and juices.
  • If you love eggnog, look for lower calorie versions in the supermarket.

In the end, a smart holiday strategy includes a plan for both eating and drinking. With that in mind, it IS possible to include some alcohol in your meal plan without piling on the pounds.

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