How To Say “Cheers” Without Piling On Calories!
2020 has been a tough year for one and all with the pandemic sweeping across all corners of the world. The year-end festivities may be tempered and toned down compared to previous years, but there is no reason why we cannot raise a toast to the resilience of the human spirit. In that vein, how about some tips on saying “Cheers!” without piling on much guilt and calories? Being aware of how and where these calories come from can help one make smarter drinking choices and enjoy the spirits along with the spirit of the season.
One of the comprehensive charts on how much your preferred tipple packs can be found here: Alcohol Calorie Chart – Consult The Alcohol Calorie Counter (the-alcoholism-guide.org)
It covers a wide range of drinks.
Calories from alcohol depend not only on the spirit in question but also on how you imbibe it. If you are particularly fond of cocktails, beware. You are likely consuming many calories due to the use of additives/mixers, which are often high on sugar, increasing the calorific count substantially. The more the ingredients in the drink, the greater the calories. It is for these reasons some favorites like Piña Colada, Daiquiri, Margarita, Long Island Iced Tea, find themselves in the lists of the world’s most fattening drinks, among some others! Likewise, cream-based liquors, especially those with added flavours, may be served in small glasses, but the calories aren’t small. What you eat and when with alcohol also matters. Clearly, there is a skill in, and art and science behind not only creating drinks but also in drinking.
If you are someone who enjoys their drinks, here are a few tips to do so without getting derailed from your weight/health journey.
- Your choice of drink matters, especially if you consume more than 1 or 2 servings. Know that all alcohol doesn’t contain the same calories. For example, all beers don’t have the same calories; neither do all wines and other spirits. (Refer to any alcohol calorie chart.)
- The simpler the drink the better. A single spirit will load fewer calories VS a drink that mixes many or has more ingredients. Every spirit used contributes its fair share of calories in the mix.
- Opt for less calorific alternates of mixers/add-ons in cocktails (slimline tonic, seltzer, or club soda instead of sugared sodas; fresh fruit juices in lieu of sugared boxed/canned ones, etc.). Simple recipe changes can lower calories. (e.g. Vodka, soda, and lime has fewer calories than Vodka Tonic)
- Eat when you drink. Not only is alcohol absorption faster in the bloodstream if drinking on an empty stomach and can make one tipsy faster, eating right before and during drinking helps metabolize alcohol (and calories) better. Studies point that it’s much better to eat right than eat less in a misguided attempt to offset calories from alcohol with those from food. A snack or meal before drinks, packing protein, fiber, and healthy fat, is good. This helps stabilize blood sugar levels, adds satiety, and prevents losing eating inhibitions while drinking. Drinking can lead to a spike in blood sugar, followed by a ‘crash’ that can trigger hunger pangs.
- Drinks high on sugar content can make you hungrier than others because of the sugar spike. E.g. a sweet cocktail will cause a bigger sugar spike than, say, a beer or a less sweet wine.
- Drink water before starting drinking and between drinks. This helps prevent dehydration, hangovers, and helps slow down the drinking process.
- High sodium (salty) foods can make you thirstier, causing you to drink more. Healthy snacks (nuts, carrots, cucumber sticks, fruits, light crackers, low salt dips, etc.) can help control this and control calories in turn.
- Portion control – But, of course! Keep control over the quantity consumed. Don’t be a victim of the fallacy that weekend-only drinkers need to exercise less control than those who take a drink a few days of the week.
One doesn’t have to give up on everything in life – just do it intelligently and in moderation. Cheers!
About Vani Pahwa
Vani B. Pahwa is Health & Wellness Evangelist, and Founder, Body In Motion, who specializes in Functional-Fitness, and Cancer Exercise & Rehabilitation. With almost 2 decades of experience, and certifications from leading internationally-accredited and globally-recognized fitness institutions, Vani is the leading Wellness Expert for Multinational Corporations and is a recognized Speaker and Coach. An Indian Classical Dancer, Vani encompasses her learnings from dance to everyday movement making “exercise and training for life, not just events.” To know more about Vani and her premium wellness services, visit https://www.bodyinmotion.in