A Single Cocktail May Be As Fattening As Your Favorite Dessert

wine versus cake

If you're a rabid calorie-counter, you may already know this, but apparently what you're drinking rather than what you're eating may explain why you're putting on those pounds. While moderation is often the key, that usually flies out the window faster than confetti on New Year's Eve once the holiday season rolls around. 

Surveys conducted in Britain by Royal Society of Health and drinks charities discovered that three-quarters of the public has no idea how many calories their favorite cocktails contain and issued a reminder before party season really gets under way. 

Katherine Brown, Director of the Institute of Alcohol Studies, points out that alcoholic beverages contain hundreds of calories. For example, a margarita, at 145 calories per glass, equals two scoops of vanilla ice cream, while a Long Island Iced Tea is the caloric equivalent of a serving of apple crumble with custard. Yikes!


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Red and white wine, at 85 and 92 calories, respectively, are similar to eating a buttered roll or piece of chocolate. 

As if the holidays weren't already filled with tough choices -- now this!?

According to guidelines established in the United Kingdom, women should indulge in no more than three units of alcohol per day, no more than five times per week.  

Ignoring those limits increases the risk of heart disease, strokes, and diabetes, and can ultimately lead to weight gain in the areas you want it least -- your hips and waist. Ugh. As if that weren't bad enough, Brown points out that even sticking to the recommended amounts could cause a weight gain of approximately two pounds per month

Sadly, I know she's on to something. Earlier this year, I gave up my much-anticipated nightly glass of Chardonnay for Lent. Before you commend me, I should tell you that I only did it Sunday through Thursday. Lame, I know, but by Friday night, Mama deserves a break, right? So let me tell you how it worked out: Within a week, I'd lost two pounds! 

That's both good and bad news. Good, because, hey, who doesn't want her jeans to be a little looser? But bad, because as soon as Lent ended, I went right back to my late-night ritual -- which, in the interest of full disclosure, sometimes includes a side of popcorn and a second glass of wine. 

While it's not easy to say "No, thanks" to that tempting cocktail or piece of cake, if you're armed with the knowledge of how many calories you're taking in and how long it may take to burn them off, it just might make you think twice. And who doesn't want to start the new year a little healthier?  

If you had to choose between dessert or a cocktail, which would you choose? 


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