With the holidays fast approaching, the annual parties, get-together's and big meals will mean consuming more calories. Many of those extra calories are hidden in alcoholic drinks. Just how many? Let’s take a look.
Generally, you’ll consume between 97 to 168 calories per drink depending on the type of drink. Beer varies between 103 to 153 calories per 12 ounce serving depending on if it is of the light variety or not.
Red wine is around 125 calories per 5 ounce serving. Whites are slightly less at 121 calories. Distilled spirits (80 proof) vary from a low of 97 for 1.5 ounces of gin, rum, vodka, whiskey or tequila to a high of 165 for the same amount of a liqueur (because of the sugar). Cocktails start at 112 calories for a daiquiri and top out at 168 for a Margarita. We won’t even talk about Pina Coladas at 490 calories!
The problem with drinking alcohol is two-fold. One: we like to be sociable and this means having something to drink with appetizers and while standing around talking before the meal. This means a lot of calories are consumed even before the actual meal starts. Two: the more we drink the less conscious we become in regard to how many calories we are consuming. Before long we have consumed many more calories than what our body can burn. The excess calories are stored as fat.
Keep in mind that to keep your weight the same, you have to burn as many calories as you take in. To lose weight, you have to burn 3,500 more calories per week (500 per day) then what you consume. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 5 hours of moderate exercise per week to maintain weight or that amount of vigorous exercise per week to lose weight.
Assuming you have a couple servings of wine, you would have to burn off those 250 calories by running at 5 mph for 30 minutes, or walking at a brisk rate for an hour. What is the likelihood of that happening after eating a big meal? Not much, unfortunately.
So the next best thing we do is make weight loss our New Year’s resolution (which in many cases fails shortly after the first of the year). The point is by consuming fewer calories through alcohol, you’ll have less to burn off to keep your weight the same or to even lose. There are other drink choices you can make that will keep the calorie count down but still allow you to remain sociable.