Most people love a good tipple, and we’re sure you might enjoy a little post-work drink at your favourite bar. As a general rule, if you’re trying to lose weight, alcohol is almost a definite no-no. It’s pretty much calories that don’t fill you up, and what makes it worse is that it’s easy to cave in to a few drinks in a single seating.
However, sometimes it may be hard to pass up on alcohol at a social setting. How could you say no to your boss who buys you a drink to celebrate your recent achievement at work?
In such cases, go for the lesser evil – drinks that have less calories. Here’s a quick breakdown of the three key types of alcoholic drinks and their caloric make up.
How to calculate calories in spirits
Spirits are your typical “hard” liquors: Vodka, Whiskey, Rum, Gin, etc. What kind of caloric intake are we looking at with every swig we take?
Well, the key thing to note here is that you should check out the ABV of the spirit you’re consuming. ABV stands for Alcohol By Volume, and is a standard measurement to determine how much alcohol is actually in that particular spirit. So, let’s say that the whiskey you are currently imbibing has an ABV of 40%. This means that you can be sure that 40% of the volume of whiskey you’re consuming is actually made up of alcohol. If you want to find out how many calories that is, multiply the volume (in grams) by 7.1 calories to get an absolute number.
As a general rule, if you’re drinking spirits, remember that the calories add up very quickly because of the high ABV. What’s worse: if you add in mixers like Cola or Green Tea, which have high sugar content. The silver lining in all this, however, is that you get drunk faster and will probably stop drinking just as quickly.
How to calculate calories in wines
When it comes to wines, we generally consume either table or dessert wines. Table wines typically contain about 14% alcohol while the heavier, sweeter dessert wines can hold up to 24% alcohol. Remember that because it is grape-based in nature, you may get additional calories from fruit sugars, especially if you’re having sweet dessert wines.
This means that a 150g serving of table wine can already contain 21g of alcohol, which converts to approximately 149.1 calories. That’s equivalent to an entire plain bagel! That same 150g serving of dessert wine would contain 36g of alcohol, which is about 255.6 calories, or one hamburger. Here’s the worst part: we haven’t even added in the calories you can get from the sugar content in the sweeter dessert wines!
How to calculate calories in beers
Beer is the most widely consumed alcoholic drink in the world. It is important to note that beer is produced through a process which requires starch to be fermented, then combined with malted barley or malted wheat, before being flavoured with hops. Some beers are also flavoured with fruit. Now, since it is a grain-based product, with a lot of processing done before it even gets into your body, the key thing here isn’t to focus solely on the alcoholic content.
Instead, look at the nutritional label on the can and take a look at the carbohydrate content. A beer with lower alcoholic content can still have high levels of carbohydrates, so keep an open eye for that!
Typically, beers will contain around 300 – 500 calories per can, so once you go past two cans, it’s basically the equivalent of consuming an entire meal.
Important bonus information: How about cocktails?
How about cocktails like Pina Coladas and Long Island Teas, which are a favourite among female drinkers? Remember that for cocktails, you’re actually drinking a mix of different alcohols, mixers, syrups and/or fruit juices! This mix makes the drink taste great, but it also means that you’re going to get higher sugar content per drink than if you just drink spirits on their own. Please remember: Drinking a series of cocktails is the easiest method to pile on the calories without even noticing!