Alcohol and Weight Loss

Turn your calorie-filled mixed drinks into something on the light side.

temecula personal trainingIf you're trying to lose weight or are just trying to maintain a healthy weight, you already know that desserts, fast food, and other high-calorie foods should be avoided. But while you may worry about what food you eat, don't forget that many drinks, including mixed alcoholic beverages, contain a high amount of calories.

So if you're looking forward to enjoying a cocktail on your next night out, you'll need to be careful about how many calories you swallow with your mixed drinks. The good news is that low-calorie mixed drinks are available.

Best Bet
So what are the low-calorie options when it comes to mixed drinks? First of all, choose cocktails mixed with club soda, fruit or vegetable juices, water, coffee, tea, sugar-free syrups, or artificial sweeteners. Avoid drinks with high liquor content - especially sweet liquors, since an ounce of the sweet stuff contains as many as 125 calories. Cocktails mixed with more than one liquor are also bad news. Don't believe it?

Consider this. The Long Island iced tea cocktail is made with several mixers and contains 780 calories per drink. In case you've forgotten, you probably need less than 2,000 calories per day. Drink one Long Island iced tea, and you've killed almost half of your daily calorie allotment for the day. And if you're really keeping score, a McDonald's Big Mac has a meager 540 calories by comparison! Seeking a better option? Go with a Bloody Mary, a Manhattan, or a highball, any of which contains around 150 calories per serving. Or try a flavored liquor on the rocks. These contain the added flavors you enjoy without the calories of added sweeteners.

More Than Just Calories
Unfortunately, when it comes to alcohol, it's not just the calories you have to consider. When you drink alcohol, it reaches your liver and is changed to acetate, a molecule that protects you from alcohol poisoning. Wonderful as this is, your body burns acetate before it burns fat. So every sip you take of alcohol causes your metabolism to stop burning fat and start burning acetate. How much can your metabolism slow down when you're drinking? Up to 73 percent. As you may suspect, this can dramatically increase the amount of fat in your body.

Besides the number of calories in mixed drinks, it is also important to remember that cocktails, like any alcoholic beverage, will lower your inhibitions, causing you to drink or eat more. In the end, these high-calorie drinks can put you in a mood for equally high-calorie foods.

Big, Fat Numbers
Not interested in turning your fattening and favorite alcoholic drink into something a little bit lighter? Then you can prepare to deal with a lot of extra calories. How many? Look below to see how many calories are in some of your favorite drinks.
  • Bloody Mary (5 ounces): 118
  • Chocolate Martini: (2 ounces each of vodka, chocolate liqueur, and cream; 1/2 ounces crème de cacao and chocolate syrup): 438
  • Cosmopolitan (4 ounces): 200
  • Eggnog with Rum (8 ounces): 370
  • Gin and Tonic (7 ounces): 200
  • Green Apple Martini (1 ounce each of vodka, sour apple, and apple juice): 148
  • Hot Buttered Rum (8 ounces): 292
  • Hot Chocolate with Peppermint Schnapps (8 ounces): 380
  • Long Island Iced Tea (8 ounces): 780
  • Mai Tai (6 ounces) (1.5 ounces rum, 1/2 ounces cream de along, 1/2 ounces triple sec, sour mix, pineapple juice): 350
  • Margarita (8 ounces): 280
  • Martini (2.5 ounces): 160
  • Mimosa (4 ounces): 75
  • Mojito (8 ounces): 214
  • Mulled Wine (5 ounces): 200
  • Pina Colada (6 ounces): 378
  • Rum and Cola (8 ounces): 185
  • Screwdriver (8 ounces): 190
  • Skinny Girl Margarita (4 ounces): 100
  • Spiced Cider with Rum (8 ounces): 150
  • Vodka and Tonic (8 ounces): 200
  • White Russian (2 ounces vodka, 1.5 ounces coffee liqueur, and 1.5 ounces cream): 425

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