Do you know that April is Alcohol Awareness Month? In 1987, the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence founded this national month to create awareness about the use of alcohol and the serious consequences associated with its misuse. To honor this important month, we wanted to remind everyone that moderation is key when drinking alcoholic beverages. An often overlooked consequence of drinking alcohol is the amount of calories consumed, which can have an adverse effect on weight-loss progress.
Would you drink 6 cans of Pepsi or Sprite in one sitting? No way! But many people don’t pay enough attention to the calories they consume when they drink 6 cans of beer in a couple of hours. It adds up to over 700 calories from the alcoholic drinks alone, not including the food you snack on with those drinks.
Pay special attention to drink mixes such as margarita mix, energy drinks, and juices with high fructose corn syrup are just as hard for your body to process as the alcohol itself. Not to mention, they are loaded with artificial preservatives, calories, and sugars. Stay on track of your health and weight loss goals, be aware what is in your drink and try to limit the number of high-calorie cocktails you consume. A responsible drinker finishes one cocktail, glass of wine, or beer, then has a glass of water (calorie free!) and continues to alternate in this manner throughout the night.
The number of calories in alcoholic beverages depends on several factors, including the amount and proof of the alcohol, the mixers and the size of the drink. So, just how many calories are in your favorite cocktail? The following calorie counts for popular alcoholic drinks are approximations based on popular recipes, and may vary depending on ingredients and portions.
- Pina Colada (6 oz): 378 calories
- Mojito (8 oz): 214 calories
- Cosmopolitan (4 oz): 200 calories
- Margarita (8 oz): 280
- Martini (2.5 oz): 160
- Bloody Mary (5 oz): 118
- Red wine (5 oz):120
- White wine (5 oz): 120
- Beer (12 oz): 150-198
- Light beer (12 oz): 95-136
- Ultra-light beer (12 oz): 64-95
- Champagne (5oz): 106-120
- Coffee liqueur (3 ounces): 348
- Vodka and tonic (8 oz): 200
- Screwdriver (8 oz): 190
- Mimosa (4 oz): 75
- Gin and tonic (7 oz): 200
- Long Island iced tea (8 oz): 780
- White Russian (2 oz vodka, 1.5 oz coffee liqueur, 1.5 oz cream): 425
- Mai Tai (6 oz) (1.5 oz rum, 1/2 oz cream de along, 1/2 oz triple sec, sour mix, pineapple juice): 350
- Rum and Coke (8 oz): 185
- Rum and Diet Coke (8 oz): 100
- Mike’s Hard Lemonade (11 oz): 98
Remember, moderation is key when it comes to drinking and weight-loss. Drinking the occasional cocktail, beer, or glass of wine won’t make you fall off your weight-loss wagon. However, you might want to think twice if you find yourself drinking more than one drink, multiple nights per week and hitting a plateau in your health goals.
What tips do you have to drink alcohol “smart”?
About the Author: Karen Welby is the Marketing Director at EatSmart Products and a Personal Trainer/Health Coach.