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.
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