With Canada Day behind us, it’s safe to say that the summer season is in full swing. And opportunities for revelry—with a drink in hand—abound: Backyard BBQs, summer concerts, baseball games, people watching from your favourite patio…the list goes on and on.
If you’re trying to manage your weight, stick to water. Liquid calories in the form of juices, pop and alcohol can really add up. In a recent Edmonton Sun profile on Dr. Arya Sharma, scientific director of the Canadian Obesity Network, he reminds readers that avoiding liquid calories is an important strategy in staying slim. "Count those calories as part of your meal. They can quickly add up," he advises. And over on his blog, Dr. Sharma elaborates. "From my own practice I can only confirm that it is not that unusual to find patients regularly consuming over half their caloric needs in fluids, including alcohol."
Get the facts on the calorie and carbohydrate content of alcohol with this information sheet, produced by the Consumer Federation of America. It lists popular brands of beer, spirits and wine, along with their alcohol content, calories per serving and carbohydrates per serving. There aren’t many Canadian brands on the list but you can extrapolate. A 12-ounce beer ranges from 95 calories (Amstel Light) to 150 calories (Heineken); carbs in wine ranges from 0.8 grams per serving (for a chardonnay) to 5 grams per serving (for a cabarnet sauvignon and merlot).
Also, see this recent post on the Best Health blog about the trend toward "supersizing" alcoholic beverages. Research in Northern California has shown that an average serving of wine and beer is bigger than ever. So next time you have a drink, try serving yourself white wine in a smaller glass, or ordering a half pint of beer at the pub. Or, opt for glass of water or sugar-free ice tea on the side. You’ll drink less alcohol.