You’ve been good for months now. You turned up your nose at four for a dollar Easter candy, you ordered grilled chicken and fresh veggies for Mother’s Day lunch, and you Pilated your way within sighing distance of your goal. The only thing standing between you and ready for the resort is…happy hour?
Alcohol has its good — scratch that, great points — but “diet aid” is not one of them. In fact, even knocking back a couple of post-work margaritas can hold you back from your weight loss goals. According to dietitian Dr. Ellen Albertson, founder of Smash Your Scale — Weight Loss Without Dieting, extra calories aren’t the only reason alcohol can keep us from losing weight. “Alcohol temporarily keeps your body from burning fat,” she explains “because when you drink alcohol it breaks down into acetate, which your body burns before any other calories including fat and sugar. This means if you drink and then consume extra calories your body is more likely to store them as fat.”
Does that mean we should all quit drinking forever? Absolutely not. What sort of life would that even be? But Dr. Albertson suggests that those trying to lose weight stick to two drinks at most and not sacrifice healthy food in anticipation of having drinks later. She says, “While you need to factor in the calories you are drinking, you also want to make sure to always eat when you drink.
Skipping meals to compensate for drinks always backfires because cocktails increase blood sugar levels (they are high in simple carbs) and then your blood sugar levels crash leaving you ravenous. The best bet is to have foods that are high in protein, fiber and a little healthy fat to help stabilize blood sugar.” So please, have a sensible dinner before you hit the town, lest you find yourself gulping down a whole pizza like tipsy pelican later in the evening.
She also suggests that you skip the sugary drinks if you’re watching your calorie intake. Adding cola and sweet mixers can exponentially increase the calories in your drink. Stick to diet soda and seltzer for mixers. It’s also a smart idea to try and incorporate fresh fruits and veggies whenever possible; for example, blending berries with your spirits for a healthier daiquiri.
We’ve complied a list of the lowest calorie offering for some classic favorites, plus included some healthier cocktail recipes for your next get together!
Best Red Wine — Franzia Merlot
Box wine gets a bad rap, but if your foodie friends give you flack for drinking from a spigot, tell them that your 5 ounce, 12.5 ABV glass of red only has 105 calories, about 50 less than theirs.
Best White — Skinny Girl
These whites are 13.5 ABV and have around 112 calories per glass. Not a huge difference from regular whites, which typically have about 15 more calories per 5 ounces.