By Friday night, after an exhausting week of dieting, you are probably looking forward to a night of relaxation and may consider unwinding with an alcoholic beverage. While alcohol is low in carbohydrates and is fat-free, it still contains calories that could be detrimental to your weight loss efforts. Your body processes the alcohol as energy in your system first, leaving the fats and carbohydrates found in food and other beverages to be stored as fat instead of fuel.
All alcohol may be created equal to some, but to dieters, some drinks are better suited for dieting than others. Here is how various types of alcohol stack up:
Wine: A Dieter’s Dream
Wine is the healthiest alcoholic beverage a dieter can drink, with roughly 20 calories per ounce of alcohol. A standard 5-ounce glass, whether red or white wine, contains 100 calories without fat, cholesterol or sodium. Sherry, on the other hand, is a sweetened wine, that typically has 32 calories per ounce.
Hard Liquor: Not So Bad
Hard liquors vary in terms of calorie counts, with vermouth containing 32 calories per ounce and Gilbey’s gin containing 79 calories per ounce. On average, though, most hard liquors like vodka, tequila, whiskey, rum and cognac contain 69 calories per ounce. One shot-glass can traditionally hold 1.5 ounces of liquor so most 1.5-ounce servings contain 104 calories. Be careful, though, because most hard liquors are mixed with soda, which will increase the calorie count of the drink. If you are going to mix hard liquor and soda, choose calorie-free options such as diet tonic water or diet sodas.
Know Your Beer
The next-best choice for those watching their weight, beer, usually contains 150 calories for every 12-ounce glass. While you can choose a light beer to lower your calorie count, try to keep track of how many drinks you consume. It can be tricky when you have a pitcher at the table or if your beer mug is oversized. Light beer contains 108 calories for every 12-ounce serving, draft beer ranks second with 144 calories, lager is next with 168 calories and ale contains the most calories with 216 for a 12-ounce serving.
Liqueur: Smaller is Not Better
The terms “cordial” and “liqueur” both refer to after-dinner or dessert drinks that are often flavored and very sweet. The serving options are endless since they can be served by themselves, poured over ice or into coffee, or mixed with milk, cream or other mixers. However, adding these other flavors will increase both the amount of fat and the number of calories in the drink. Each serving is roughly 1.5 ounces, whether the liqueur is consumed by itself or in a drink. Enjoy these beverages sparingly, as they can really pack a punch in terms of calories. Chocolate, mint, peppermint and strawberry liqueur all contain 103 calories per one-ounce serving, or 155 calories in a 1.5-ounce drink.
As long as you educate yourself about the best alcoholic beverages to consume while on a diet, you can afford to treat yourself to a drink or two on special occasions.
LowFatDietPlan.org helps dieters make heather choices by offering tips, information, and advice for diet plans based on nutrition research studies.