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Know Your Alcohol: Good and Bad Alcohol Choices

  By posted Aug 12th 2012
Weight Loss

While all of us know that alcohol in excess can lead to that dreaded beer belly and sagging skin, not many of us keep that in mind over weekends when you just want to let your hair down and have a good time instead of worrying about anything - least of all health. But if you are going to indulge yourself, it’s worth knowing which alcohols are good and which ones aren’t. So here is a run down on your good vs. bad alcohol choices, and how you can drink sensibly while partying.

Calories are not the complete picture. 
Calories are only half the story. But if you are a fan of numbers, do have a look at the list below and you will see how your favourite drinks fare. 

  • Gin or vodka and tonic =126
  • Dark rum and coke =142
  • Medium glass of white wine (175ml) =130
  • Medium glass of red wine (175ml) =120
  • 5% Lager (pint) =240-50
  • Stout (pint) =210
  • Brandy (50ml) =110
  • Whiskey (25ml) =55


Red wine, of course, is the clear winner when it comes to being the lowest in calories due to its low sugar content, but you may not necessarily be in the place or the weather to drink it all the time. Before we talk about healthy options other than red wine, here's some good news:

Reasons why drinking moderately is a good thing

  • Alcohol as a blood thinner enhances cardio vascular health.
  • Antioxidants found in alcohol are very important to good health.
  • Moderate alcohol consumption can lower the incidence of coronary heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, as well as result in an overall reduction in mortality. 
  • Higher bone density in postmenopausal women.


The best alcohol choices for overall health:

  • Red Wine - Not only does red wine top the list with the lowest sugar content and thus low calories,  but it also contains resveratol, that super antioxidant able to combat cancer and reduce signs of aging amongst other feats. 
  • Wood aged spirits like Whiskey, Brandy, Scotch and Cognac - Unflavoured distilled spirits are a low carbers dream with zero carb content and plenty of antioxidants. 
  • Berry daiquiris - Knock off the syrup and the sugar and you have yourself a healthy cocktail. When you add alcohol to berries you get a thirty percent hike in antioxidant activity. Surprise! Add crushed ice to the pureed fresh berries and liquor and you have yourself a healthy cocktail!
  • White wines - Lower in carbs and low in calories, white wine is a good drink though it has 5 to 10 times less phenols and antioxidants than red wine. So from a pure calorie point of view, white wine is definitely better than many of the alcohols out there, but red wine is a winner on all counts.
  • Light beers - Light beers have similar properties and carb content as white wines do. We say go for it occasionally if you have to!


The bottom barrel, or the not so good choices

  • Other spirits like vodka, gin, and white rum - These spirits are better avoided, as they are reasonably high in calories and do not give any health benefits as compared to the beverages listed above.
  • Regular beer – quite an antioxidant boost but a lot of calories (10 to 15 grams of carbs per 5 oz) to go with it. We’d suggest sticking to light beer if you must have beer.
  • Creamy / dark/ stout beer – Yes they taste amazing but those 15 to 25 grams of carbs per 5 oz serving are just not worth it.
  • The sugar filled cocktails – They’re fun, but don’t expect us to have anything good to say about them at Health Me Up. Read this for more information on cocktails and why they are best avoided.


So while calories may indicate that you can drink certain alcohols, do keep in mind these points the next time you order a drink, as we believe it is essential that health comes first!

image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images 

 

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