I get asked this question often… Can I drink alcohol when I am trying to lose weight? Will this cancel out all the good food choices I made? I can’t give up my wine, because this is how I release my stress and unwind, will that be ok? Is Wine a better choice than beer or vodka? Have you ever asked these questions?
I’ll give you some facts that may help you find these answers but I won’t tell you what to do.
Scenario: You are out to dinner with friends, what is the first item you are most likely to order? Answer: A drink, to help you unwind and relax. The truth is that the perception of alcohol is what helps you to unwind (but that is a different conversation), the alcohol itself, actually causes a stress reaction within your body.
Here’s the scoop on the drinks:
- YES- you should be aware of what you are drinking if weight loss is your goal. The calories you consume from alcohol will be burned off by your body before your body will burn off your stored FAT.
- Drinking alcohol will often cause overweight people to gain weight easily. There are various reasons this is true, for one, alcohol lowers your inhibition and control and it also causes sugar spikes (which if you are already overweight or maybe insulin resistant) , it could lead to an unrealistic hunger. You may also lose track of what you actually ate and drank.
- The calories from liquor are usually stored around your middle, giving you a bigger gut. Just think (Beer Belly), the problem is that this is the most dangerous spot to store fat.
To answer the next question…Which drinks have more calories? This sampling of drinks should give you a basic idea of how to choose your “poison”. Before you look at the answers, take a guess or write your answers down and see how your thoughts compare to actual calorie counts.
1. Beer vs Wine
12 oz beer has 140 calories and 5.1 oz Burgundy or Cabernet has 127 calories
2. Light Beer vs Chardonnay
12 oz beer has 110 calories and 5.1 oz Chardonnay has 120 calories (SURPRISE!!!)
3. Sake vs Pinot Grigio
5.1 oz of Sake has (wait fot it…) 194 calories and 5.1 oz Pinot has 117 calories
Champagne has between 85 and 95 calories in a 5.1 oz serving
Liquors range from Tequila shots (1.5 oz) at 97 calories to Vodka and Scotch at 103 calories. There is virtually no difference in caloric amounts in liquor, the problem becomes the mixers and the amount of shots per drink.
Shots of cordials and liqueurs such as Sambuca (148 per shot), Grand Marnier (112 per shot), Schnapps (151 per shot), Triple Sec ( 110 per shot), Cointreau (140 per shot), and Kahlua (135 per shot) to name a few. Now add these in to your mixed drink calorie count.
Here are where even more pounds pile on to your body… Pay attention to the fluid ounces listed after each drink as they vary
- Mojito – 10 oz is 428 calories (most people think this is a “healthier” drink)
- Gin and Tonic – 6 oz is 143 calories
- Daquiri – 4 oz is 211 calories
- Cosmopoliton – 4 oz is 213 calories
- Bloody Mary- 10 oz is 125 calories
- Screwdriver (standard glass) is 180 calories
- Long Island Ice Tea- 10 oz is 300 calories
- Margarita- 10 oz is a whopping 464 calories (and I bet you had more than one)
- Sex on the Beach (standard glass) 240 calories
- Pina Colada – 8 oz is 437 calories
Some things you can do to be proactive, if you are still going to order a mixed cocktail, would be to choose better mixers. For instance, tomato juice is a good option (as seen in Bloody Mary). Try having your drink straight up, flavored with fresh fruit or with some oilves. You can set a limit for how much you are going to drink, before you begin drinking. Perhaps, you should spend more money on a glass of wine rather than buying a bottle and feeling like you should drink the whole thing. It’s the thinking that if I buy a bigger size, I will save money- but in the end, you spend more money on the health implications of the bigger sizes. (just think about the size and cost ratios of fast food, popcorn, slurpees, bottles of soda, unlimited buffets and YES- alcohol too.)