Aug. 29, 2014 — To drink or not to drink? It’s a question not easily answered, at least when it comes to our health.
Although we’ve heard for years that moderate drinking is good for our hearts, several recent studies have questioned that long-held belief. And earlier this year, the World Health Organization issued a dire warning about cancer and alcohol. No amount of alcohol is safe, the report said.
So, if any alcohol raises our cancer risk, and if it might not offer a real benefit to our hearts, should we be drinking at all?
Cardiologist Michael Shapiro, DO, is not convinced that any amount of alcohol is good for us.
“It’s a common perception that alcohol, and red wine in particular, is helpful for the heart, but that perception is not based on any particularly good evidence,” Shapiro says. “If there is any benefit from alcohol — and that’s not entirely clear — it’s probably modest.”
Shapiro, who practices at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, says that much of the research touting alcohol’s heart health benefits doesn’t show cause and effect. Does alcohol itself protect against heart attacks, or does the lower risk stem from some other factor or combination of factors? It’s not known.
“People who drink moderately also may have certain socio-economic factors and behavior patterns that promote health, and we’ve never been able to tease that out,” he says.
A recent BMJ review of more than 50 studies on alcohol and heart health supports Shapiro’s view. Researchers found that people with a form of a gene tied to lower levels of drinking had healthier hearts. That suggests that cutting down on drinking — even for light or moderate drinkers — benefits the heart.
Another recent study found that people who have as little as one or two drinks of wine or liquor may raise their odds of atrial fibrillation, a potentially dangerous form of irregular heartbeat.
Good news for responsible drinkers! A drink or two a day could keep the heart doctor away, suggests a recently completed review of 30 years of medical research. Scientists at the University of Calgary examined 84 studies completed between 1980 and 2009, and found a 14% to 25% reduction in heart disease among moderate drinkers as compared to lifelong teetotalers. This was true no matter what form of alcohol people drank—wine, beer, or spirits.
In a separate study, the same Canadian team found that alcohol increases “good” cholesterol levels, as well as levels of adiponectin and apolipoprotein, compounds linked to a healthy heart.
However, while consuming small quantities of alcohol appears to have health benefits, heavy drinking increases the overall risk of mortality—from liver problems, accidents, cancer, and other illnesses.
“If you don’t drink, this is not a reason to start,” Cathy Ross, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, told BBC.com. “Similar results can be achieved by being physically active and eating a balanced and healthy diet.”
Source: BBC, British Medical Journal
- Just how harmful is it to have 1 drink per day?
- Even light drinking heightens death risk
- The risks outweigh any potential benefits
- The 6 healthiest alcohols you should be drinking
- Is Wine Really Healthier Than Beer?
- Thank you!
- Vodka or Beer? Pros and Cons of These Beverages
- Vodka or Beer?
- Check Out Our Top Kentucky Bourbon Picks:
- Drink Liquor Neat or On the Rocks, Avoid Mixers
- Beer: My Heart Says No, But My Mind Says Yes
- Eat! And Drink Water
- 1. Rum and coke – 97 calories
- 2. Red wine – 123 calories
- 3. Vodka soda – 96 calories
- 4. Gin & Tonic – 115 calories
- 5. Champagne – 90 calories
- 6. Whisky – 105 calories
Just how harmful is it to have 1 drink per day?
Many enjoy a glass of wine or beer during dinner, believing that this little alcohol couldn’t possibly affect them. A new study is, however, warning that even one small drink per day can influence our health.
Share on PinterestIt is not safe to have even one glass of wine with your meal, finds a new study.
In August, we covered a large-scale review that drew an unequivocal conclusion: it’s not, in fact, safe to drink any amount of alcohol.
Senior author Dr. Emmanuela Gakidou referred to the idea that one or two drinks are safe for health as “a myth.”
She said that her and her colleagues’ research found that any level of drinking is tied to an increased risk of early death, cancer, and cardiovascular events.
Now, researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO, have discovered even more about just how harmful it can be to have even as little as one drink per day.
The new study focused on the impact of alcohol on light drinkers specifically, so its findings — now published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research — are relevant to a large segment of the population.
“It used to seem like having one or two drinks per day was no big deal, and there even have been some studies suggesting it can improve health,” says first author Dr. Sarah M. Hartz.
“But now we know that even the lightest daily drinkers have an increased mortality risk,” she cautions.
Even light drinking heightens death risk
The authors of the recent study analyzed data collected from 434,321 participants, aged 18–85. Of these, 340,668 (aged 18–85) were recruited via the National Health Interview Survey, and 93,653 (aged 40–60) provided health information as outpatients at Veterans Health Administration sites.
Dr. Hartz and team found that people who had one or two drinks four or more times weekly had a 20 percent higher risk of premature death, compared with those who drank only three times per week or less often. This increased death risk, the study authors add, remains consistent across all age groups.
“A 20 percent increase in risk of death is a much bigger deal in older people who already are at higher risk,” notes Dr. Hartz.
“Relatively few people die in their 20s, so a 20 percent increase in mortality is small but still significant,” she adds.
“As people age, their risk of death from any cause also increases, so a 20 percent risk increase at age 75 translates into many more deaths than it does at age 25.”
Dr. Sarah M. Hartz
The risks outweigh any potential benefits
One study published earlier this year suggested that people who drink just a little — one drink each day, at most — appear to have lower cardiovascular risk than both people who drink more and people who shun alcohol entirely.
Dr. Hartz and team’s research, however, reveals that the health hazards that even people who drink lightly face outweigh any potential benefits.
When the scientists assessed the risk for heart disease and cancer, they saw that, on the whole, though drinking a little did help protect the heart in some cases, daily consumption — even when light — increased a person’s risk of cancer.
“Consuming one or two drinks about four days per week seemed to protect against cardiovascular disease, but drinking every day eliminated those benefits,” explains Dr. Hartz.
“With regard to cancer risk, any drinking at all was detrimental,” she warns.
However, Dr. Hartz also believes that in the future, health practitioners may want to develop more highly personalized guidelines for their patients.
Therefore, healthcare providers might advise people at risk of developing heart problems to drink on occasion. Conversely, they may encourage those who are at risk of cancer to give up drinking entirely.
“If you tailor medical recommendations to an individual person,” explains Dr. Hartz, “there may be situations under which you would think that occasional drinking potentially could be helpful.”
“But overall,” she reports, “I do think people should no longer consider a glass of wine a day to somehow be healthy.”
The 6 healthiest alcohols you should be drinking
Drinking doesn’t always have to be unhealthy. Rawpixel.com/ The INSIDER Summary:
- Drinking alcohol doesn’t always have to be unhealthy.
- Drinking certain types of alcohol in moderation can actually have some surprising health benefits.
- From champagne to whiskey, these are the types of alcohol you should be drinking.
People usually refer to the act of drinking as “unhealthy,” but it doesn’t have to be. Yes, excess binge drinking is dangerous, but drinking in moderation does have some surprising health benefits. More often than not, when people try to “be healthy” or lose weight, they cut down on alcohol. If you’re looking to be healthier while drinking alcohol occasionally, these are the healthiest alcohols you can choose from.
/Maria Uspenskaya Tequila has numerous health benefits (and is lower in calories than Smirnoff vodka). Agavins, the natural sugar found in tequila, are non-digestible (meaning they act like fiber) and won’t raise your blood sugar levels.Furthermore, the sugar is shown to help lower cholesterol and can help you lose weight. Yup, that’s right, tequila can fit in perfectly with a weight loss plan if enjoyed in moderation.
#SpoonTip: The standard tequila shot is 1 oz.
2. Red Wine
/jill111 In the end, all wine converts into sugar, which isn’t good for you. However, red wine in particular does have some fantastic health benefits. The active compounds in red wine (polyphenols, resveratrol, and quercetin) have been proven to improve overall heart health. Furthermore, research done at the University of Massachusetts Amherst found that red wine helps slow down the process of glucose hitting the bloodstream, which stops high spikes of insulin.
#SpoonTip: The standard size of a glass of wine is 5 oz.
kansasphoto/Flickr Rum isn’t a popular liquor among student, but it should be (for its fabulous health benefits, duh). Made from molasses and other sugarcane byproducts, rum has been proven to enhance mental health in many ways. In moderation, a standard serving can reduce anxiety, for example.
#SpoonTip: A standard serving of rum is 1.5 oz.
Brent Hofacker One serving of whiskey contains as many antioxidants as a glass of wine. Try taking a shot of whiskey as your next “fighting off/preventing a cold” excuse. Whiskey also contains ellagic acid, which known for fighting off cancer by absorbing rogue cells.
barmalini/ Rosé does more for you than top off a relaxing summer evening with friends. The wine offers a load of health benefits. The polyphenols in rosé have been shown to prevent atherosclerosis, a major contributor to heart disease.
Honchar Roman/ Think you have a bad memory? Then celebrate with champagne more often. The bubbly drink may possibly enhance memory performance. On top of that, champagne can help enhance the quality of your skin. I don’t know about you, but these are two aspects I feel like I could improve on.
Next time you’re casually having a drink, don’t think of it as “added sugar.” Instead, see it as improving your health (in moderation of course). Choose from this list of healthiest alcohols the next time you’re out with friends, and be sure and drink in moderation to reap the health benefits.
Is Wine Really Healthier Than Beer?
Beginning in the 1980s, researchers noticed that the French—despite typically eating a diet with lots of foods containing saturated fat and cholesterol—had lower than expected rates of heart disease and early death. Some called this phenomenon the “French paradox,” and they went to work figuring out an explanation. Wine emerged as a prime candidate.
Moderate wine consumption is a component of traditional Mediterranean diets, which research associates with lower rates of disease and mortality. A 1992 study in The Lancet found evidence that drinking wine and other types of alcohol could prevent or reduce arterial blockages. Other research from around that time found that people who drank wine, as opposed to beer, enjoyed lower mortality risks. Later work zeroed in on a group of compounds found in grapes, called polyphenols—and in particular, resveratrol—as the likeliest source of wine’s ostensible health benefits. Red wine, more so than white, is packed with resveratrol. And the belief that red wine is healthier than other alcoholic beverages took root.
But beer may have gotten a bad rap. A 2006 study of grocery store purchases in Denmark found that people who bought wine also tended to buy more fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods than people who bought beer. This study led to expert speculation that the average wine drinker may eat healthier than the average beer drinker. If true, that could explain away many of the health advantages associated with wine.
More recent research that controlled for diet and other lifestyle variables concluded that drinking moderate amounts of beer—usually defined as one per day for women and two for men—offers the same heart-health benefits as a like amount of wine.
Meanwhile, studies have found that cheese and some other sources of saturated fat and cholesterol may not actually raise a person’s risk for heart disease and premature death. That undercuts the “French paradox” phenomenon that propelled wine to health stardom in the first place.
Demosthenes Panagiotakos is a professor in the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at Greece’s Harokopio University, and has studied the long-term effects of wine and beer on heart health. His research suggests wine and beer are more or less equal when it comes to lowering a person’s heart disease risks. “Red wine has been the most studied alcoholic beverage,” he says. “Yet recent epidemiological studies and clinical trials reveal similar relationships for beer.”
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Some of the most recent evidence finds that some types of beer may be even healthier than red wine. A 2016 study in the Journal of Wine Economics analyzed the shopping habits and health outcomes of more than 30,000 Americans. After controlling for diet quality, stress, and other variables, the study found the incidence of heart disease and type 2 diabetes was lower among moderate drinkers who bought craft beer instead of other types of alcohol. “This effect was slightly bigger than for red wine,” says Michael McCullough, a professor of agribusiness at California Polytechnic State University, and one of the authors of the study. Meanwhile, the consumption of “macro” beer—the term applied to non-craft beers such as Budweiser—was associated with much smaller heart and diabetes risk reductions.
McCullough says craft beer is often unpasteurized and unfiltered, and so contains more plant compounds, yeasts, bacteria, vitamins, minerals and other potentially healthful constituents than macro brews. But he says the research comparing the health effects of various types of alcohol is incomplete. He’s in the midst of wrapping up a study in which early findings suggest people who drink macro beer—so long as it’s not “light” beer—seem to be just as healthy as craft-beer drinkers. “It’s possible that people who drink light macro beer drink more of it because it’s lower in calories,” he says. And heavy drinking is associated with higher rates of heart, liver, and brain disease.
The idea that any alcoholic beverage should be considered “healthy” is controversial; some recent studies—notably, a 2018 paper in The Lancet—concluded that no amount of alcohol is safe. But not all experts agreed with the conclusions of that study, and much of the research to date, including McCullough’s, has found that low or moderate alcohol consumption is associated with better health outcomes.
While it’s still possible that one type of alcohol will turn out to be healthier than another, it’s too early to crown a champ. For those who prefer beer to wine, there’s no reason to dump your beloved suds.
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Vodka or Beer? Pros and Cons of These Beverages
Among the variety of alcoholic beverages the most popular in Russia are beer and vodka. It is difficult to give preference to one of them. To facilitate the choice I suggest we carry out a comparative analysis that will help us understand what is better: beer or vodka. We’ll look at the pros and cons of each alcohol.
The following arguments are made in defense of beer:
• Pleasant taste and smell
• Good thirst quencher
• Contains a minimal amount of alcohol
• Has a tonic effect
• Intoxication occurs gradually, so easier to control himself
• Excellent natural diuretic agent
• Low-calorie content compared to vodka
• Useful for healthy people in moderate amounts
But beer has its drawbacks:
• It’s not good in cold weather
• Stimulates appetite, and you end up with a beer belly
• Highly addictive
• Deteriorates quickly
• Difficult to make at home
• Rarely used as the main alcohol during holidays
In order to get a full picture of our research let’s list pros and cons of vodka.
Its benefits include:
• Lack of additives (pure alcohol and water)
• Traditional drink at a tableful
• Good warming effect
• Easy to make at home (production of moonshine)
• Healthy in small quantities
• Has a long shelf-life
• Goes well with a wide range of snacks
Drawbacks of vodka:
• Lack of taste
• Intoxicates quickly (in most cases it is a drawback)
• High-calorie product
• It’s not good in hot weather
Conclusion: the right choice between beer and vodka depends on the nature of the holiday and the temperature outside. On a hot day, it’s best to drink a bottle of good beer with friends. But in the winter or during a party (birthday, New Year’s Eve) most people prefer vodka (we do not consider other types of alcohol). Those who care about their body shape have to pay more attention to snacks because vodka and beer have small calorie content compared with other foods.
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When asked what is more harmful, beer or vodka, the answer is the following: the harm and benefits are determined by the amount of alcohol consumed, not by the beverage itself. A healthy person can drink both beer and vodka in moderate amounts. A safe beer dose is not more than 0.1 gl/0.5 liters per day. With vodka, it is a little different. Doctors recommend not to drink is more than 1.5 oz/30 grams a day. But you can drink more once a week.
Mixing Beer and Vodka
For many people, the question of choice between vodka and beer is not relevant, because they just mix these beverages in a glass. But you should remember that drinking vodka and beer intoxicates quicker than drinking them separately. The truth is that carbon dioxide contained in beer irritates the stomach lining and helps alcohol to enter blood flow faster. It is therefore not recommended to wash down alcohol with soda water; your first choice should be juice.
Vodka and beer mix intoxicates quickly
Those wishing to experiment with mixing beer and vodka can make “Ruff” cocktail. Its classic recipe is as follows: add 30 to 60 ml of vodka to a beer mug. Finished cocktail has no vodka flavor, but its intoxicating effects will increase severalfold. In the West they use more sparing proportions. More details in the video.
To most persistent and experienced ones I recommend trying another cocktail –”Chpok”. In order to make it pour 100 ml of beer into a 200-gram/7-ounce glass and then add 100 ml of vodka (it is important to follow this sequence). Then cover the glass with your palms and hit its bottom hard on the table. You’ll get a foamy mixture that you’ll have to drink in one gulp. Few people manage to drink more than two servings in one evening.
P.S. If you want to make your own Moonshine, Beer or Wine, you can find all ingredients and equipment in our Moonshiners.club store.
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When the weather is warm, not much makes me happier than firing up our outdoor pizza oven with a cold craft IPA in hand. A registered dietitian drinking a high-carb, gluten-filled liquid appetizer followed by a few slices of carb- and gluten-containing pizza? Yessir.
I also enjoy a nice glass of red wine, a tumbler of Kentucky bourbon, or a kombucha cocktail because I like the taste.
But here’s the thing: new research suggests that what’s long been considered a healthy approach to drinking (2 drinks a day for men, 1 a day for women) is now under fire. Research published last year concluded that no amount of drinking is healthy. (Thanks, The Lancet, for taking all of the fun out of life).
Couple these findings with the calorie and sugar conundrum that comes with many alcoholic beverages and you begin to wonder if cutting alcohol out of your life might, in fact, improve it. And you may have some questions. I’m here to help answer them.
What’s the best way to balance drinking and a healthy lifestyle?
My approach: Be an alcohol snob. I savor the flavor and enjoy a quality drink occasionally with friends, but never alone. I don’t overdo it. My max is two solid, craft beers once, maybe twice per week. Or one bourbon.
And the majority of the time I stick to just booze. This allows me to not have to worry about calorie- and sugar-filled mixers.
What about hard sodas? Are those any better for me?
Be careful. If you must partake, look for a brand that offers very little sugar per serving. Otherwise you’ll take in an overload of calories, mainly from the sweet stuff. Spiked seltzers, on the other hand, aren’t a bad option. Ideally you want one that’s a zero-calorie flavored bubble water with booze added.
What’s the best craft beer option?
Craft beers often have more alcohol (aka a higher ABV or, alcohol by volume) than traditional macro-beers. And more alcohol means more calories.
For example, a 12-ounce beer with 9% ABV (not atypical for craft brews) has about 270 calories. But because craft beers don’t have to list their calorie count, you can use this handy equation to estimate you’re your beer has: Multiply the ABV by 2.5, then multiply that by the number of ounces in your beer.
Beware of those shandy-style craft beers, too. Although refreshing, they’re usually a combo of beer and sugary soda or juice.
Is vodka my best bet if I’m Paleo?
If you’re a diehard Paleo guy you know that technically no alcohol is Paleo-friendly. But there’s is a short list of booze that gets the modern Paleo greenlight, vodka is one of them. Just make sure it’s potato vodka. It’s not your only choice, though: rum and tequila are also Paleo-friendly.
Is tequila really best for my blood sugar?
Put this in the myth category. Tequila—as well as vodka, rum, and gin—all have zero grams of carbs, so they won’t raise your blood sugar if you drink them straight up. If you have diabetes, you’d count your drink as two fat exchanges.
But don’t fall for the hype that choosing a tequila made from 100 percent agave changes the impact. All of the health attributes of agave (aka lower glycemic index, etc.) are gone once it’s been distilled into to tequila.
That said, choosing pure, agave tequila means you’ll typically skip unnecessary additives like caramel coloring and it’s gluten-free.
Check Out Our Top Kentucky Bourbon Picks:
Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey drizly.com $37.99 Bulleit Bourbon drizly.com $52.99 Angel’s Envy Bourbon drizly.com $39.99 Old Forester Bourbon drizly.com $38.69 Chris Mohr, PhD, RD Chris Mohr, PhD, RD is the co-owner of Mohr Results, Inc (MohrResults.com) a well-being consulting company
Let’s face it, it’s hard seeing the benefits of a healthy diet and exercise when we’re always going out for some drinks with friends. Beer is filling and full of carbs, mixed drinks are too sugary, and wine… well, these are nights of debauchery. How can we drink our alcohol and have flat stomachs too?
First off, a warning. The healthiest ways to drink alcohol still aren’t really healthy. After all, too much of a good thing, even “healthier” alcohol, can land you in the hospital with alcohol poisoning, and that would be the least of your worries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines a single serving of beer or wine cooler as 12 oz.; malt liquor as 8 oz.; wine as 5 oz.; and 80 proof alcohol — the standard — as 1.5 oz. A woman who drinks more than one a day, or a man who drinks more than two a day is considered to be a heavy drinker. And finally, women who drink more than four drinks, or men who drink more than five drinks within a couple of hours, are considered to be binge drinkers. But hey, we’re all responsible adults, right? Now onto getting drunk.
Drink Liquor Neat or On the Rocks, Avoid Mixers
Straight liquor, though not so tasty, is healthiest if served neat (alone and meant to be sipped) or on the rocks (with a little ice). That means vodka, gin, whiskey, and scotch are all fair game. It’s the clearer types of alcohol, however, that go easier on the body. They also go easier on calories. One serving of vodka contains only 97 calories and zero carbs, while a serving of gin has about 110 calories and zero carbs. Whiskey and Scotch actually have some flavor though, and for the most part, they stick within the caloric range of gin and vodka.
Although liquor served neat or on the rocks usually comes as a double shot, the whole point is to drink them moderately. That way, you don’t finish it right away, and then look for whatever is next. Drinking them like this also avoids caloric mixers like ginger ale or pineapple juice. Even though they taste really good, one serving of pineapple juice adds on an extra 133 calories and 32 grams of carbs, while ginger ale has 124 calories and also 32 grams of carbs — and those are on the low end of mixers.
OK fine, the night ended up being a little classier than expected. Wine is a pretty healthy alternative to hard liquor — it’s also much tastier if you’re not used to them. Although a 5-ounce serving may be a slightly heftier 100 to 150 calories, and about 5 grams of carbs. Essentially, drinking healthily is a tradeoff. For a few extra calories and carbs, wine has a few proven health benefits, which are believed to come from high concentrations of the antioxidant resveratrol. Studies have shown that the antioxidant may be able to lower bad cholesterol while boosting good cholesterol, as well as reduce the risk of depression, cancer, and diabetes.
Beer: My Heart Says No, But My Mind Says Yes
Beer is delicious. Unfortunately, almost every beer you drink will be high in calories and carbs. It will get you full and you will develop a beer belly. Drinking beer healthily is where simply trading off becomes the ultimate sacrifice. According to Beer100, the majority of beers come in at over 130 calories, and finding one that has less than, say, five grams of carbs is near impossible — some have as many as 24 grams.
If wine, hard liquor, and abstinence are out of the question, then light beer is going to do some justice. Miller Light has only 96 calories and 3.2 grams of carbs; Bud Light has 110 calories and 6.6 grams of carbs; and Coors Light has 104 calories and 5.3 grams of carbs. These beers are great for being healthy, but will you really only drink one of two? With lower calories and carbs, they also come with lower alcohol contents, which may cause you drink more to get drunk — a balance any beer drinker might want to think about.
If you’re going to try to avoid light beers and still be healthy, Guinness and other stouts are a good option. More often than not, stouts are made with whole grains, which give them their darker, caramel flavor. Compared to a lager, both have vitamins B12 and soluble fiber, but only stouts have antioxidants. Some evidence even suggests these antioxidants can have the same health benefits as wine, by reducing the risk of blood clots and other heart problems.
Eat! And Drink Water
Although these are all healthier ways to drink, the key to “healthy” drinking is really moderation. One way to do this is drinking water in-between alcoholic drinks. It will help you gauge how much you’ve had, how drunk you are, and whether or not you should stop. To an extent, drinking water after a night out can also prevent a hangover.
Eating food before you start drinking — especially something with starch or dairy — can coat the stomach in preparation for the alcoholic attack it’s about to endure and prevent symptoms like nausea, upset stomach, and headaches, according to Forbes. On top of that, the food will soak up some of the alcohol, mediating the body’s process of absorbing alcohol.
If you didn’t get a chance to eat before you started drinking, there’s no better time than the present. Drinking on an empty stomach has been shown to get people drunk faster, and getting drunk faster could lead to more drinking as the night goes on. Instead, try eating something — celery, carrots, nuts, or even dinner — while you drink. The trick is to be smart about what you’re eating, and to avoid letting alcohol-induced inhibitions sway you toward fattier foods like pizza or fast foods.
MOST people think going on a diet involves going completely teetotal and ditching booze for good.
But it turns out having a tipple-a-day can actually help to blitz body fat – if you make the right choices when it comes to picking your drink.
1 Opting for a lower-calorie alcoholic drink like rum and coke or vodka soda will help with weight-loss
Nutritionist Amy Gorin claims the slimmers that had the most success on their weight-loss journey had allowed themselves a glass of alcohol when they wanted – and it didn’t impact their goals.
However, she says the number one thing is to keep in mind is what you’re mixing your drink with.
She says: “I typically tell clients to choose their indulgence…if you’re trying to lose weight, you may not want to go for the dessert and the alcohol every day, but you definitely can make room in your diet for one or the other.
“Almost all shots of alcohol are about the same nutritionally—it’s what we have with it that makes a difference in the drink.”
Here, we go through the best alcoholic drinks to pick at the bar without sabotaging your weight-loss goals.
1. Rum and coke – 97 calories
There’s a reason Captain Jack Sparrow looks so good – and we’ve got our money on the rum.
It’s only 97 calories if you choose to drink it straight (in moderation of course!) or mix it with something like Coke Zero.
The tipple can also increase good cholesterol, also known as HDL cholesterol, and combat artery blockages, helping to prevent heart attacks and heart disease.
During the World War I, a ‘tot o rum’ was used to help soldiers stay healthy – as it was said to increase the bone mineral density.
2. Red wine – 123 calories
Nutritionally, there’s not much difference between red wine and white wine, but there are other benefits in choosing a pinot noir over a chardonnay.
Certain substances in red wine called antioxidants may help prevent coronary artery disease, the condition that leads to heart attacks.
Nutritionist Amy Gorin also told Women’s Health Magazine it might help to boost cardiovascular health, so even though you should still consume in moderation – it’s a smart choice.
A 2009 study in Canada showed that all wines can lower your risk of contracting diabetes by 13 per cent.
3. Vodka soda – 96 calories
Vodka was originally invented as a source of medicine and to this day it still has a number of health benefits.
It’s heart-healthy and can increase blood-flow and circulation in your body which can prevent clots, strokes and other heart diseases.
If your weight-loss plans are getting you down, studies have shown vodka is actually a great natural reliever of stress too.
It’s only 96 calories a shot, so make sure you pick a low calorie mixer to go with it too.
4. Gin & Tonic – 115 calories
Not only is this drink low-calorie but it also helps aid digestion thanks to the bitters used to make it.
The bitters themselves cause digestive enzymes and stomach acid to increase – helping with stomach acid secretions and making it truly a double measure of the alcohol’s particular benefits.
By doing so, the body is able to break down that giant cheeseburger you may regret bingeing on on cheat day, helping it not to block up your system.
It’s only 115 calories and make sure you opt for a slimline tonic.
5. Champagne – 90 calories
No need to feel guilty next time you pop the champagne cork at a wedding, christening or perhaps a super indulgent dinner party.
The fizzy stuff is one of the healthier tipples, with a 4-ounce glass of bubbly containing just 90 calories.
Like red and white wine, champagne can be good for your heart. Made from both red and white grapes, it contains the same antioxidants which prevent damage to your blood vessels, reduce bad cholesterol and prevent blood clots.
The servings are generally smaller too, so it’s the healthier choice all round – as long as you don’t drink the whole bottle.
As Winston Churchill warned: “A single glass of champagne imparts a feeling of exhilaration…. A bottle produces the opposite”.
6. Whisky – 105 calories
Country music’s favourite drink is low-carb which makes it the perfect choice for anyone who is watching their weight.
The American Society for Clinical Nutrition published a study in 1991 that suggested that moderate intake increases energy and decreases the desire for sugar intake.
It’s also historically been used as a digestif in many cultures throughout the ages so if you’ve had a heavy meal, an after dinner shot may be just what you need to finish it off properly.
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Let’s be honest here – despite the low calories on the list above, alcohol has no real nutritional value at all so it’s possibly not the best thing for a serious health kick.
The calories in alcohol are essentially empty, unlike the calories in the food you consume.
Amy added: “Calories from food provide energy for you to go about your day and give you the nutrients your body needs to thrive.
“If you eat an apple, for example, you’re not only getting the calories from that apple—you’re getting cholesterol-helping fiber along with lots of vitamins and minerals.
“That’s not the case with your favourite cocktail, where the calories don’t come with nutrients that your body needs.”
Remember to drink responsibly – we take no responsibility for hangovers.
Wine topples beer and spirits to become Britain’s favourite alcoholic drink, survey says
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