Drinking Responsibly into the New Year and Beyond

Guest Post by Miriam Shatzkes, MS, RD from Dietnomics. This time of year brings many parties and a lot of drinking. While I am not going to tell you not to drink, since I know most of you won’t listen, I will tell you how to drink responsibly into the New Year and beyond. Alcohol can bring out our inhibitions to allow us to have more fun, but it also has many negative effects on the body as a whole. There is a way to enjoy alcohol, yet still be responsible with our alcoholic intake. Alcoholic beverages can be a substantial source of extra calories. If you drink a lot of any alcoholic beverage, you can pack on the pounds quickly. For moderate drinkers, the choice of beverage can make a big difference. A serving size for an alcoholic beverage depends on the type of drink. A typical drink is any drink that contains 0.6 fluid ounces of pure alcohol. This is equal to:
  • 12 ounces of a beer or wine cooler
  • 8-ounces of malt liquor
  • 5 ounces of table wine
  • 1.5 ounces of 80 proof distilled spirits such as gin, vodka, whiskey, etc.
If you choose to drink alcohol, it’s important to do so in moderation. Moderate drinking means up to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks for men. Generally, anything more than moderate drinking can be harmful to your health. A mistaken belief is that light beer is like a diet beverage - calorie and fat free. Although light beer does have fewer calories than regular variety, the average light beer still contains upwards of 100 or more calories per 12 oz can, and regular beer ranges from approximately 140-200 calories. Despite the small quantity of liquid, a single shot of liquor (1.5 oz) can contain anywhere from 115-200 calories. A 4.0 oz glass of wine contains anywhere from 62-160, with 160 being on the high end of the spectrum. Mixed drinks are where the calories really add up, ranging from approximately 280 calories for a gin and tonic to over 800 calories for some of the frozen, creamy drinks. So although you might be drinking a bit more than usual this time of year, please be aware for the year ahead to drink a bit more responsibly. Above all, if you know you will be drinking please make sure you have a designated driver to get you home safely. Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year! About the Author: Miriam is a Registered Dietitian who resides in NYC. Her focus is in weight loss, weight management and diet control.

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