With summer looming on the horizon, many of you are probably planning on spending inordinate amounts of time at the beach. To that end, the gym will probably start to get more crowded, much like it does right after New Year’s. Some of you – girls especially – will temper your appetites in an attempt to earn, or reclaim, that mighty six pack. Others will certainly continue with their regular exercise and eating habits.
One routine that will not be curtailed is drinking. With summer comes plenty of free time to imbibe, often excessively. While I am not an advocate of counting calories, I empathize with those who want to drink and avoid the dreaded beer belly. On that note, here’s my low-calorie, health-maximizing guide to drinking this summer.
Here’s the plain truth: Alcohol makes you fat. When consumed, a portion of it is converted to fat and the rest is used as energy. However, while the body is using the alcohol as energy, it is not burning fat that it normally would be burning. To keep the public in the dark and not hurt the alcohol industry, the government does not force alcohol manufacturers to put nutritional information on their products.
Let’s begin with beer. One beer is 12 ounces, but keep in mind the red cups that pervade every nook and cranny of Isla Vista are 16 ounces. Arguably the two most popular – and awful – beers in I.V. are Natural Light and Keystone Light. Both happen to be two of the lowest-calorie beers on the market. Natty Light, as it’s more commonly called, has 95 calories per can. In my humble opinion, that’s 95 calories of a urine-like substance that is not meant for human consumption outside of a beer pong table. As for Keystone Light, it’s got about 104 calories in every can. Beer companies understand the desire to consume lower-calorie foods and drinks is growing. To that end, the Miller Brewing Company has released MGD 64 in select cities. While the 64 calories sounds glorious, the 2.8 percent alcohol content will break the hearts of drunks across the country. Premium beers shoot up in calories – probably because they don’t taste like pee.
Corona, with its seemingly light and innocuous appearance, has 148 calories. Opt for Corona Light to save 40 calories. Sam Adams Boston Lager has about 160 calories, while Budweiser has 145. The Europeans are just as guilty. A bottle of Stella has about 154 calories, while Heineken has about 150. Some beers to stay away from are Sierra Nevada, which has 200 calories, and Anchor Porter, weighing in at 209.
The choices when it comes to mixed drinks are a little more convoluted. There are such a plethora of options when it comes to mixed drinks that it is essential to be informed about your choices. Furthermore, mixed drinks can include a small dose of healthiness, if you choose to have something with juice. Of course, the flip side of the equation is that your drink can include sugar-loaded sodas or energy drinks as well. Bear in mind everybody pours drinks differently, so it is impossible to place a concrete amount of calories on any type of mixed drink. Your choice of drink should depend on whether you are trying to get drunk or simply enjoy a beverage or two. For those looking to get drunk, the obvious choice in terms of limiting calories is shots.
On average, a 1.5 ounce shot of vodka, gin, whiskey, rum or tequila has between 95 and 100 calories. Expect to add between 50-100 calories for a low calorie mixer, such as tonic water. Bloody Marys and gin & tonics are two lower-calorie and relatively healthy alternatives. While juice provides the most nutritional value you are likely to find while drinking, it is also high in calories, so be wary. Margaritas are deadly when made with a sugary mix. They can contain up to 500 calories. That’s an entire cheeseburger at In-N-Out! Long Island iced teas can also contain up to 500 calories, but they pack quite an alcoholic punch. I am hard at work on inventing calorie-free alcohol, but until that day comes, just know knowledge is power – except when you’re drunk and you devour an entire order of nachos to yourself.