NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

January 11, 2013

Drinking while dieting? Those calories can add up fast

The first rule of drinking on a diet is: Don’t. Surely you’ve heard that Americans get way too many calories — and nutritionally empty calories at that — from alcohol.

But the second rule of drinking on a diet is that since you probably will ignore rule No. 1, find a way to enjoy alcohol without letting it swamp your healthy intentions. Here are a few suggestions on how to go about that.

THINK BEFORE YOU DRINK

You don’t have to give up alcohol entirely for weight control, says Andrea Giancoli, registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. But you do have to fit it into your calorie limit. Making that work means knowing the calorie counts of what you drink.

For women, federal health guidelines recommend no more than one drink a day (5 ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of liquor or a 12-ounce beer). For men, the limit is two drinks. Though the numbers can vary, most wines sport about 120 calories per serving. Most hard liquors, such as gin and vodka, have about 100 calories per serving. A regular beer has a bit more than 150 calories, while a light beer has about 100.

Those numbers make the hard stuff seem like a good choice when you’re watching your calories. Except that most people aren’t going to just sip a jigger of vodka and call it a night. And once you start adding mixers and sweeteners and juices, the calories can add up fast.

Just 4 ounces of strawberry daiquiri mixer can add 260 calories to your rum, for a total of 360 calories, roughly the same as a Sausage McMuffin from McDonald’s. Even a simple rum and Coke can have 200 calories or more. A vodka and cranberry juice has about the same.

“Mixers can really add up,” says Giancoli. “If you like to use liquor vs. having beer or wine, go for the low-calorie mixer. If you’re somebody who likes rum and cola, do rum and diet cola. If you’re somebody who likes vodka cranberry, you can do vodka with diet cranberry.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Special Features
AP Video
13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp
Special Features