Counting the calories? Think before you drink

The first rule of drinking on a diet is: Don’t. Surely you’ve heard that Americans get way too many calories — and nutritionally empty calories at that — from alcohol.

But the second rule of drinking on a diet is that since you probably will ignore Rule No. 1, find a way to enjoy alcohol without letting it swamp your healthy intentions. Here are a few suggestions on how to go about that.


You don’t have to give up alcohol entirely for weight control, says Andrea Giancoli, registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. But you do have to fit it into your calorie limit. Making that work means knowing the calorie counts of what you drink.

For women, federal health guidelines recommend no more than one drink a day (5 ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of liquor or a 12-ounce beer). For men the limit is two drinks. Though the numbers can vary, most wines sport about 120 calories per serving. Most hard liquors, such as gin and vodka, have about 100 calories per serving. A regular beer has a bit more than 150 calories, while a light beer has about 100.

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