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Drinking Mindfully

It sounds like a mixed message: Drinking alcohol may offer some health benefits, especially for your heart. On the other hand, too much alcohol may increase your risk of health problems and damage your heart.

 “When it comes to alcohol, the key is moderation.”  (Source= The Mayo Clinic)

Anyone looking to lose a bit of weight, limit their carbohydrates or sugar intake might want to rethink their next drink.  Booze is full of empty calories and provides little if any nutrition.  Having said that, I believe you can enjoy a drink or two in moderation and still live a balanced lifestyle. When choosing booze try limiting beer and the sweet cocktails. Wine and pure liquor, such as whisky or Tequila, are better choices.

Limit Beer and Sweet Drinks!

This is not easy for me…. I love beer! Over the years my palate has shifted from Coors Light (don’t judge) to now, all the amazing Micro-Brews that surround us in the Pacific NW. I love a good IPA. If they were good for me, I would probably drink one every evening while getting dinner on the table. This however, is not a good habit for obvious reasons. It’s not even the alcohol that attracts me (although I don’t mind) it’s that I just love beer! The trouble is that all these good beers are full of empty calories.  Beer does not contain sugar but it is very high in carbohydrates so your body will easily convert it to sugar once consumed. I’ve noticed over the years that if I have more than 2 (happens every once in awhile),  I feel terrible. This motivates me to limit myself to 1 beer - it’s not worth the empty calories and cruddy feeling the next day. A typical 16oz IPA can contain a whopping 300 calories or more. A stout can contain up to 600 calories! Micro Brews are tricky because the calories, sugar, and carbs are not on the label so it's a guessing game. Here is a chart on that you might find helpful when trying to guess how many calories are in your next delicious brew!

And what about the sweet drinks?

Mixed cocktails – Often the ones with fancy names are usually drenched with sugary syrups.  The amount of sugar in some of these is unbelievable and I think sometimes the “hangover” is partly sugar related.  Before you read the paragraph below lets remind ourselves how much added sugar is too much?

According to the American Heart Association it is recommend that we limit our added sugar to 24 grams (6 teaspoons) for women and 29 grams (7.25 teaspoons) per day.

An 8 ounce Long Island Ice Tea roughly contains 275 calories and 33 grams of sugar. But the sugar content of this cocktail can go even higher (up to 60 grams!) depends a lot on how it’s prepared. A Margarita made from standard commercial mix, versus fresh limes, can have as many as 576 calories and 55 grams of sugar ( that is 14 teaspoons of sugar).  Based on this I highly recommend you stay away from the sweet cocktails regardless of what your fitness and health goals are.  They are just not good for us period.  I’ll be sharing a recipe for a delicious holiday cocktail soon that is made with monk fruit so it tastes sweet but does not have all the added sugar!

So which BOOZE is best?  

Wine and Spirits Win!!


Wine is low in sugar (fructose). Red wine wins! It is lower in sugar than white and is for sure the better option. Stay away from the sweet wine if you can!



  • Vodka
  • Tequila
  • Gin
  • Whiskey
  • Rum
  • Scotch
  • Brandy
  • Cogna

Dry spirits are low in sugar (fructose). Don’t forget that often the mixers are loaded with sugar. Try carbonated water with a twist of lemon or lime next time. Keep the mixers light and you’ll keep your sugar and calories down.