Choosing an alcoholic beverage is a lot like choosing an item off of a restaurant's menu. There are good choices that are kind to your waistline and there are bad choices. Armed with the right knowledge you can make the appropriate choices at the bar. Alcoholic drinks can range from under 100 calories to more than 500. Some alcoholic beverages have multiple ingredients that can add up quickly even in just a 12- or 473ml drink.
Even the least fattening beverage can be dangerous to your figure if consumed in large amounts. Many drinks such as martinis, mixed beverages and wine are typically consumed in smaller amounts than beer, for example. The number of ounces of each beverage varies based on the cocktail. For example, a rum and diet coke with 28.4gr of rum is only about 65 calories and is considered the least fattening alcoholic drink. However, a margarita with 56.7gr of tequila is more than 500 calories. This is because it contains sour mix, triple sec, lime juice and sugar, which totals a pint of liquid. The number of calories skyrockets because of all of these other mixers.
Some beers have fewer calories then others. Light beers have fewer calories then regular beers. A light beer typically has 100 calories while a regular beer is closer to 150 calories per 354ml. Some of the stronger beers, including stouts and dark beers, can be close to 200 calories per serving. The best type of low-calorie beverage is often a beverage with no mixer. The mixer often contains the most calories. Alcohol mixed with spritzer water, diet tonic water, diet soda or served straight-up will always have fewer calories than if mixed with a juice or soda. A white wine spritzer, for example, with 118ml of white wine mixed with club soda, only has approximately 80 calories. A vodka and soda (with 28.4gr of vodka) has a few as 65 calories.
The amount of sugar in any given alcoholic beverage can greatly impact the calorie count. Again, sodas and juices can drive up the sugar content (and calories). Getting a gin and tonic or a rum and diet soda will be virtually sugar free. Juice mixers are often high in sugar which reflects in the number of calories. One cup of cranberry juice, for example, contains about 140 calories. Already, before mixing it with anything else, there are several calories in just a cup of juice.
Be aware of syrups. Some alcoholic mixed drinks used flavoured syrups in place of mixers when there are several ingredients. Ask the bartender if they have sugar-free syrups or just stick to a one alcohol beverage. One "shot" of a syrup into your alcoholic beverage can add about 20 calories to your drink. Often drinks that use syrups use multiple shots of syrup per serving.
Alcohol doesn't have to be fattening with the right choices. The alcohol isn't the real culprit, it's what it is mixed with that usually gets you into trouble. Hard liquor won't affect your figure, but choose wisely when it comes to ordering mixed drinks or beer. In addition to the rum and diet coke, consider vodka and cranberry, a cosmopolitan, or a bloody Mary for low-calorie alcoholic beverages.
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