Summer is winding down (we know…sigh), but it’s not time to ditch the beach and flip flops just yet. The warm weather parties are still in full effect, and that means the alcohol is too. While you don’t have to give up all booze completely to reach your fitness goals, you should be smarter about the types of alcoholic drinks you choose. Just don’t forget…everything in moderation.
What alcoholic drinks to choose when you want to lose weight
“When it comes to weight loss, the number one factor affecting the waist line is how many calories we consume. Weight gain happens when we consume more calories than we burn, whereas weight loss happens when we burn off more calories than we use,” says Rene Ficek, a registered dietitian and lead nutrition expert at Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating.
Alcoholic beverages can be very high in calories and easily lead to weight gain. It’s perfectly fine to have a cocktail or two, but if you aren’t careful, it can easily add hundreds of calories to your daily intake.
Obviously, if weight loss is your goal, then drinking any form of alcohol will postpone your results. Why?
“Unlike the macronutrients protein, fat, and carbs, alcohol is comprised solely of empty calories with no nutritional value. As a result, it is the first fuel to be used, putting the fat-burning process on the back burner,” says certified health and lifestyle coach, Allison Hagendorf.
Here are a few of the best (and worst) drinks to ensure you keep your alcohol calories in check:
Dry wine, not sweet
Sweet wine typically has an additional 100-150 calories per glass, says Ficek. If you do drink wine, consider mixing it with club soda and making it a spritzer to cut down on the calories. Consider going red, too, as it has heart health benefits.
Club soda (as a mixer)
Club soda pairs well with vodka or gin and is calorie free. Plus, you will be helping to rehydrate yourself to prevent a hangover. Lemons and limes can help flavor this mixer, plus it will add a nutritional boost of vitamin C. Say no to adding juice, sports drinks, energy drinks or soda to any alcoholic beverage, says Ficek.
Light beer can have between 95-140 calories per 12 oz. serving. It contains the same amount of alcohol as regular beer but with fewer carbohydrates and calories, says Alexandra Miller, RDN, LDN, and corporate dietitian at Medifast. Beer also contains polyphenols, which have been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.
Mimosas generally contain equal parts of sparkling wine (champagne) and fruit juice (particularly orange juice). “Stick with a small amount of 100% or lower calorie fruit juice and forego adding any additional alcohol or sweeteners. If made in this way, a 4 oz. mimosa comes in at about 75 calories,” says Miller.
Wine or straight alcohol
“If drinking it straight or on the rocks is too intense, add club soda and a splash of fresh juice. For example, my go-to ‘Fit To Feast’ cocktail is tequila on the rocks, club soda, fresh squeezed lime,” says Hagendorf.
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