Nutritional Facts About Alcohol Consumption by Meg Murphy

Whether you’re on a cruise ship, celebrating a wedding with friends and family or just relaxing a bit more this summer, you might find yourself drinking additional alcoholic beverages as well.

And they can be so easy to drink. A cold fruity beverage with a kick relaxes us on a hot summer evening. It’s also a social lubricant, making awkward family moments a little less awkward.

But you could be adding way more calories than you imagine. Beverages go down smoothly and don’t contribute to fullness the same way solid food does, so your body doesn’t get those full signals after you have “had a few.” The alcohol itself contributes calories, and then many things you mix it with have additional calories. Also, the higher the proof of the alcohol, the more calories it contains. One jigger, or shot—about an ounce and a half—generally contains between 100-120 calories. Mixing alcohol with fruit juice or something like margarita mix just adds to the calories.

Wine contributes calories too. Despite some health benefits, a 4 ounce glass of wine generally contains 80-100 calories. And most wine glasses hold much more than 4 ounces, so if you are filling your glass to the brim, you may be doubling those calories for each glass.

Popular drinks like margaritas and pina coladas mix alcohol with high calorie mixers. Because these drinks are sweeter, they are easier to drink and make it easy to down refill after refill.

If you don’t want to completely give up alcoholic drinks, but also don’t want to add inches to your waistline, try some of the following tips:

  • Alternate an alcoholic beverage with a noncaloric, nonalcoholic one. Think unsweetened tea, or water. This will slow down your total consumption of alcohol and also keep you hydrated.
  • Consider low calorie beverages as mixers. Sugar free lemonade and sugar free margarita or sweet and sour mix are good options. Lightened juices like low calorie cranberry juice or a low sugar orange juice (like Trop50™) are also possibilities.
  • Skip the mixers. Try sipping fruit infused vodkas or flavored liquors on the rocks.
  • Have a plan. When you go to a party or happy hour, decide in advance how many cocktails you will have. You can “bank” some calories before you go out to cover the “cost” of the calories in the alcohol beverages. One note of caution however—don’t drink on a completely empty stomach. Have a small snack before you imbibe so that you don’t get woozy so quickly.

Take a look at some of the popular summer drinks below to get an idea of how many calories there might be in your favorite cocktail. If you choose to drink, make wise choices, don’t make it an every day habit, and remember to keep your overall goals about weight management and staying healthy in mind.

Examples (note the amounts vary):

Screwdriver (8 oz) 190 calories
Mimosa (4 oz) 75 calories
White Russian (5 oz) 425 calories
Mike’s Hard Lemonade (11.2 oz) 240 calories
Bloody Mary (5 oz) 118 calories
Chocolate martini (7 oz) 438 calories
Cosmopolitan (4 oz) 200 calories
Whisky Sour (4 oz) 170 calories
Margarita, frozen (12 oz) 680 calories
Margarita, frozen (8 oz) 510 calories
Pina Colada (6 oz) 644 calories
Apple Martini (3 oz) 170 calories
Singapore Sling (8 oz0 230 calories
Mojito (8 oz) 214 calories
Jell-o shots (1.5 oz) 90 calories
Long Island Ice Tea (12 oz) 789 calories
Kahlua Mudslide (10 oz) 440 calories

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