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Alcohol On A Diet: What that Drink is Really Doing to Your Waistline

It’s nearing the end of February and while most people will have given up hope on their New Year’s resolutions by now, there may be those of you who are trying to kick-start the diet again for the next big event coming up: spring break. Not only do the thoughts “tanning” and “drinking” come to mind, but also the idea of strutting around the beach in a bikini all day, every day creates some amount of pressure for all of us. Even though healthy eating may be your new priority, there may be one thing that didn’t cross your mind: alcohol. For those not doing anything for spring break, you will still be surprised as to how alcohol consumption could be affecting your weight. There is no such thing as 0 calorie alcohol, but were you aware as to just how many carbs those vodka mixers actually contain? Or how several glasses of wine may be the enemy to your waistline? Read on to learn about what the most popular drinks on campus contain and how they could be adding hundreds of calories to your daily intake.

Alcohol Debriefed

1). Blue Guy – This is probably one of the most famous drinks on campus, scan the room at KAM’s and you can expect to see the majority of people holding them. We all know the phrase “beer belly” – but hard liquor can be just as bad when combined with sugary mixers. Here is the nutritional content of a Blue Guy:

(per drink)
Calories: 136
Carbohydrates: 33g

For those who drink several of these in one night, that’s a staggering amount of carbs (the same amount as a KFC Chicken Fillet Burger!). Try limiting yourself to just one and then sticking to diet mixers.

2). Whiskey and coke – Red Lion bartender Lila Berlin listed this as amongst the most popular drinks she serves, she says “I go through six bottles of whiskey a night”. With regular coke, the nutritional information is as follows:
(per drink)
Calories: 193
Carbohydrates: 9g

Asking for a diet mixer will significantly lower both calorie and carbohydrate content.

3). Vodka Red Bulls – a popular choice among many, Joe’s bartender Jen Howe confirmed that vodka Red Bulls are definitely top of the most popular list:

(per drink)
Calories: 177
Carbohydrates: 27g

4). Bottle of wine at wine night – People often like a glass of wine to unwind after a hard day’s studying  (or facebooking ) at the UGL, but when it comes to Clybourne’s wine night, more than a glass is in order. Whether you share a bottle of wine or have the whole thing to yourself, here’s the low down on what wine contains:

(per half a bottle)
Calories: (average) 300
Carbohydrates: (average) 8g

While the carbohydrate content is generally low, remember that wine also contains lots of sugar too. Try to share a bottle amongst more than two of you.

5). Beer – Beer is probably amongst the most common drink; consumed at pregames, whilst out and the usual choice of beverage for those heading to happy hour on a Friday. Not only is beer very gassy, beware that its carbohydrate content is also high:

(per pitcher of normal miller)
Calories: 572
Carbohydrates: 52.4

Bear in mind that a pitcher could be split between 5 people, which wouldn’t mean you are consuming a bad amount of calories and carbs  –  but it is very unusual to stop at one pitcher, and so everything adds up.

Diet-friendly Options

So what next? Though the nutritional findings for the above drinks may look bleak, the solution doesn’t have to be to stop drinking, but to put more thought into your drink choices. Studies from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveal that alcohol consumption can slow fat metabolism by as much as 73%, so consuming alcoholic drinks with a higher fat or sugar content will increase the amount of fat that your body stores. Your main goal: think carefully about what drink you choose!

1). At the pregame
If hosting the pregame yourself, choose diet mixers that will usually be fat and sugar free such as diet coke, or non-fizzy drinks such as lemonade. They will generally cost the same price as full-fat drinks. Vodka proves to be a good alcohol choice; Burnett’s Citrus vodka contains 0g of fat or carbohydrates and just 67 calories per shot. If you plan to attend a pregame, be weary that even the light beer options can still clock up the calories; with a bottle of Miller Light still containing 103 calories, not to mention horrific bloating afterwards.

2). While out at a bar
Always ask for a diet mixer when ordering any type of spirit, and remember that gin, vodka, tequila and whiskey are distilled spirits that by definition have no carbohydrate or fat content. And if you really do want to go for that Blue Guy, try to limit yourself to just one or two – think of the sugar!

3. Last but not least…
Try your best not to drunk eat after your night out. Alcohol alone shouldn’t count for a significant amount of your calorie intake, but food certainly does. The fact that you are eating food at 1 or 2 a.m. worsens its effects because your body tends to burn calories and food at a much slower pace at this time, meaning that it is more likely to add inches to the waistline and reverse your diet efforts! Buying a Fat Sandwich at 2 a.m. will just take you further away from achieving that Gisele Bundchen bikini body (we can dream).

Anna is a 4th year student at the University of Nottingham. She studies American Studies and completed a year abroad at the University of Illinois, USA in 2011/12 where she found her passion for Her Campus by working for Her Campus Illinois as a news editorial intern. After graduating, Anna wishes to pursue her dream of moving to London (or even the US eventually!) and working in something creative and fast-paced, whether it be editing, fashion journalism, PR or publishing. Hobbies (/obsessions) include fashion, shopping, traveling, music and, most importantly, food.
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