Diet-Friendly Alcohol Choices

As we kick off summer with the long Memorial Day weekend, here are some tips to guide your drinking habits without ruining all you’ve accomplished!

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Caitlin, the BAC Group Exercise Director and kick ass personal trainer, is also our nutritional guru. She put together the information below about diet-friendly alcohol choices. Most holiday parties include some form of alcohol (I mean it makes them more fun right?!) so take a look at some of the nutritional info of different types of alcohol, it will help you make a smarter choice when the time comes!

Even if you are careful about your alcohol consumption, all drinks are not created equal on the dieting scale and some choices are better than others. Here’s a short guide to the calorie contents of different types of alcohol. Use it as a quick resource so you can make the best alcohol choices while sticking to your dietary goals. Wine: The Most Diet-Friendly Choice If you’re going to drink, wine is the most calorie-friendly selection with a typical 20 calories per ounce. Each 5-ounce glass would then be 100 calories with no cholesterol, sodium or fat. This is true for both red and white wine, from merlot to chardonnay. Sherry, a sweet, fortified wine runs a bit higher with 32 calories per ounce but it is usually served in smaller portions as an after-dinner drink. Here is the nutritional information for some popular wines per ounce:

Wine Calories Carbs Per 5-oz Serving
Chardonnay 20 0.4 g 100 calories, 2 g carbs
Pinot Grigio 20 0.4 g 100 calories, 2 g carbs
Zinfandel® White Wine 20 0.4 g 100 calories, 2 g carbs
Cabernet Sauvignon 20 0.8 g 100 calories, 4 g carbs
Merlot Red Wine 20 0.8 g 100 calories, 4 g carbs

Hard Liquor: Easy on Your Diet Hard liquor is higher in calories per ounce than wine, and is often mixed with soda, which increases the calorie count. If you’re going to drink liquor, use calorie-free mixers like diet soda or diet tonic water. One shot glass or mixed drink will contain about 1.5 ounces of hard liquor.
Here is the nutritional information for some favorites, based on one ounce:

Hard Liquor Calories Carbs Per 1.5-oz Serving
Vermouth 32 0.2 g 64 calories, 0.4 g carbs
Coconut Rum 51 5.3 g 77 calories, 8 g carbs
Beefeater® Gin 65 0 g 98 calories, 0 g carbs
Rye Whiskey 69 0 g 104 calories, 0 g carbs
Scotch Whiskey 69 0 g 104 calories, 0 g carbs
White Rum 69 0 g 104 calories, 0 g carbs
Vodka 69 0 g 104 calories, 0 g carbs
Cognac 69 2 g 104 calories, 3 g carbs
Tequila 69 5.3 g 104 calories, 8 g carbs
Gilbey’s® Gin 79 0 g 119 calories, 0 g carbs

Beer: Raise Your Glass with Care Beer is the next best choice for dieters with, about 150 calories per 12-ounce serving. Choosing light beers will drop your caloric intake without sacrificing much flavor, but keep in mind that it can be hard to estimate your intake when pouring from a pitcher or into an oversized beer mug. Here is the nutritional information for different types of beer, based on a single ounce:

Beer Calories Carbs Per 12-oz Serving
“Light” Beer 9 0.5 g 108 calories, 6 g carbs
Draft Beer 12 1.1 g 144 calories, 13.2 g carbs
Lager 14 1.1 g 168 calories, 13.2 g carbs
Ale 18 1.1 g 216 calories, 13.2 g carbs

Liqueur: Small but Potent Sometimes the words “cordial” and “liqueur” are used interchangeably since both drinks are flavored, very sweet and often served as (or with) dessert. Liqueurs can be served alone, over ice, with coffee, or mixed with cream or other mixers. Adding mixers will increase the calorie and fat content of your drink. Whether served alone or in a cocktail, one liqueur serving is about 1.5 ounces. While tasty, liqueurs pack the most calories per ounce, so enjoy them sparingly. Here is the nutritional information for common liqueurs, per one-ounce serving:

Liqueur Calories Carbs Per 1.5-oz Serving
Chocolate Liqueur 103 11 g 155 calories, 17 g carbs
Mint Liqueur 103 11 g 155 calories, 17 g carbs
Peppermint Liqueur 103 11 g 155 calories, 17 g carbs
Strawberry Liqueur 103 11 g 155 calories, 17 g carbs

Don’t have time to look up the nutritional facts for your drinks? Here’s a quick reference on some healthier choices:

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