Know Your Alcohol:
After a long week filled with numerous activities to fully occupy your time, those of you who like the occasional drink would look forward to an hour of socializing with friends over alcohol.
Now, if you are on a serious diet to lose weight, this little occasion can play havoc with the calories you have been avoiding until now. The situation can be more doubtful if you are ordering cocktails.
These drinks, wherein many drinks are mixed together, contain a high quantity of calories. Some of these ‘mixers’ are especially high in their calorie content. After knowing this, happy hours are not necessarily occasions to avoid provided there is planning involved. Some alcoholic drinks are considerably low in their calorie composition.
One point to know well is that it is very simple to overdose on calories with alcoholic beverages than with high fat containing items and desserts.
It is hard for people to realize that their martini actually contains many more calories than their grilled sandwich with chicken as the filling. Drinking is not noticed as conspicuously as eating.
And that is why many people unconsciously put in more calories in to their systems than they notice. It is interesting to know that a single gram of protein or carbohydrates contain just 4 calories, whereas a single gram of alcohol contains seven calories. This effectively means that you are actually drinking double the calories compared to what you eat.
The above mentioned facts apply for individual drinks. But what happens when you mix these separate drinks? You guessed right, the amount of calories double once again. The calories are adding up very soon before one can comprehend how many.
To offer an example, a standard quantity of alcohol (80 proof) normally served contains nearly 95 calories without adding any other drink to it. Similarly, there are about 85 calories in a full glass of orange juice. Once you mix this juice with one shot of any alcoholic drink, there is a doubling in the amount of calories.
Mixing your weight loss with Alcohol:
Cutting back your calorie intake is not the sole reason why one should decrease alcohol consumption. One should note that drinking alcohol brings the inhibitions down. This applies even to restraining from eating high calorie food stuffs. One you begin to drink, it becomes gradually harder to stop your hand from reaching out for those fries or pizza.
From telling yourself ‘just one more’ to overeating by the end of the session, your diet will inevitably take a holiday. Another reason to watch out before going for a drink is, having alcohol will make you feel very hungry as it can bring down the blood sugar.
The actual calorie content in Alcohol:
Depending on the alcohol and its proof, the more alcohol the drink contains, the more calories it carries. Also, if an individual drink contains about a hundred calories, a mixed drink contains many hundreds of calories. To briefly explain the calorie composition in alcohols (with Vodka taken as example),
- A drink with 40% alcohol (80 proof) contains 65 calories per serving
- A drink with 43% alcohol (86 proof) contains 70 calories per serving
- A drink with 45% alcohol (90 proof) contains 75 calories per serving
- A drink with 50% alcohol (100 proof) contains 83 calories per serving
Mostly, a standard serving of wine in a wine glass makes you consume between 125 and 150 calories. As the glass gets bigger or the serving size increases, so do the number the calories. Keeping a track of your calorie intake is especially hard at parties or dinners as the glasses are refilled usually before they even empty completely.
Normal consumption of beer gives you about 65 to 200 calories. To avoid that number, one can opt for the light beer variety as it contains a lower amount of carbohydrates while having the same alcohol content. These light beers are also sometimes referred to as low-carb beers.
What adds to these calories?
There are drinks that are sometimes served with desserts. The calories are very attractively disguised and an unsuspecting customer ends up drinking nearly 1000 calories with one glass. Some have the glass rim covered with sugar, some contain sweet syrup, some chocolate sauce and other sweetening items.
These cocktail desserts are very creative but play havoc with your system due to the tremendous amount of calories present in them. Three drinks like that will add up to a pound of weight. For someone who does not exercise regularly, it is literally building up the pounds with no effort. However, the effort required to lose those calories is high. One way to balance such drinks is to cut down on the calories during dinner meals.
Tips to avoid calories while drinking:
There are several ways one can avoid putting on the pounds while still enjoying an evening with colleagues or friends. Some of them are as follows.
- Make sure you take water or any other hydrating, but zero calorie drink between your alcoholic drinks. This keeps you less thirsty while also keeping your system clear. As there is lesser thirst, one will refrain from drinking alcohol in order to satiate it.
- Having drinks with diet soda lowers the calorie content.
- Opt to have light beer or wine. Alternately, using mixers with low calorie content to make a simple cocktail is a good option.
- For saving on those calories, alcohols can be mixed with syrups that are sugar free, artificial sweeteners or water.
- Juices can be good mixers due to their nutritional benefits but contain a considerable amount of calories. Thus, avoid high calorie containing juices.
- Flavored alcohols are popular these days and with good reason. They add that special touch without adding on calories.
- To lessen the calorie content of you drink, dilute it.
- One of the best ways to avoid taking in too many calories is to refrain from drinking too many glasses of alcohol. Self-control is the key.
- Otherwise, eat low calories food stuffs as part of your morning snacks and meals when you know you will have to drink later.
Diluting options with low calorie content:
There are certain drinks that barely contain any calories and which can be used to dilute your drink effectively.
- Lime or lemon juice – 10 calories
- Cranberry juice (light) – 40 calories
- Orange juice (light) – 50 calories
- Tea or coffee – Negligible calories
Few famous drinks and their calorie content:
Here is a brief list of some low calorie alcoholic beverages and their calorie value:
- Cosmopolitan – 200 calories
- Mojito – 215 calories
- Margarita – 250 calories
- Martini – 150 calories
- Bloody Mary – 120 calories
- White or red wine – 120 calories
- Wine without alcohol – maximum 30 calories
- Light beer – 100 to 130 calories
- Regular beer – 150 to 200 calories
- Beer (ultra-light) – 65 to 95 calories
- Vodka and tonic – 200 calories
- Champagne – 100 to 120 calories
- Coke with Rum – 200 calories
- Diet coke with Rum – 100 calories
- Mulled Wine – 200 calories
- Gin – 120 calories
- Whiskey – 120 calories
- Tequila – 150 calories
With this information at hand, you can now have a good time without going overboard on calories. Any diet plans will still be on track. The best piece of advice anyone can follow is that moderation is always the right path.
Few lowest calorie alcohol drinks:
- Club soda mixed in wine
- White wine
- Lime juice mixed with Gin
- Red bull mixed with Vodka
- Whiskey mixed with soda or water and artificial sweeteners
- Bloody Mary
- Any hard drinks can be diluted with water to reduce calories
- Avoid excess
These are a few options for giving you a head-start on making sensible decisions where alcohol is involved. Cheers!