In my last post I discussed the poisioning effects carbohydrates have on the body and the importance of considering a low (note that I saw 'low carb' not 'no carb') carb/higher protein diet to help minimize the consistent spiking of blood sugar, to reduce the risk of weight gain, reduce the risk of heart disease and to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes (geeze...what a mouthful, right? To think all these problems can develop from the over consumption of carbohydrates)
So you're probably wondering then why I'm talking about drinking alcohol as we all know that beer makes you fat, margaritas make you puffy and wine makes you consider buying stock in Bayer aspirin the next morning. Yet despite the fact that all of these concoctions are carb and sugar laden and have less than ideal side effects when over-consumed, they are a "necessary evil" in not only society but also in many of our social outings.
How many times have you been asked to "grab a drink after work?" How many times have you thought to yourself after a long day, "A glass of red is needed!" Or how many times have you been invited out to "Birthday drinks!" "Girls night out drinks!" "Celebration drinks!" "Friday night drinks!" "It's a Tuesday, so let's drink drinks!" You get the idea. With the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend, I know many will be planning on celebrating a few days off from work with a cocktail or two.
Drinking is a very social and can be a very enjoyable activity and despite what the magazines tell you, yes you CAN drink even while on a diet. (Just not during Phase 1 of the Ideal Protein diet though..) You just have to learn how to drink, what to drink and most importantly, what NOT to drink.
If you're looking to maintain your weight and you drink regularly, learn to switch back and forth between dark beers to light beers depending on the occasion, avoid mixed liquiors and spirits (such as Mud Slides or Long Island Ice Teas) when you can or only enjoy them on special events and when in doubt, always order it on the rocks or with soda water (not tonic as that is loaded with sugar.)
If you're looking to lose weight and you drink regularly, try drinking only once a week and cut out ALL beer and learn to love white wine and vodka.
Cucumber flavored vodka with a splash of soda water on the rocks is a great low calorie-no sugar treat or 4 oz. white wine with Perrier makes a tasty white wine spritzer on warm days.
Or try a few of the following cocktails to enjoy a little more flavor as you reach your goal weight: (as cited from Food Editorial)
Vodka Diet Cranberry. The Vodka and cranberry is a very popular cocktail, but juice can pack both calories and sugar. Switch it out with a cranberry flavored Crystal Lite or any equivalent and the calories stay off, making this drink a winner at a mere 140 calories.
Calorie Conscious Cosmopolitan. The Cosmopolitan is an excellent low calorie alcoholic drink that can be made easily. A Cosmopolitan is four parts vodka, two parts triple sec, two parts cranberry juice (use a 0 calorie substitute if possible), and one part lime juice for a tasty low calorie treat.
Low Cal Mojito. This low calorie alcoholic drink is making a popular comeback, and why not? A properly made Mojito has only 160 calories and 15 grams of sugar, and it is a tasty treat.
To make a Mojito you need 3 fresh mint sprigs, two teaspoons of sugar, three tablespoons of fresh lime juice, 1.5 oz of light rum, and club soda. In a tall thin glass crush several of the mint leaves with a fork to coat the inside of the glass. Add the sugar and lime juice first, stir thoroughly. Top it with ice and then add the rum and top it off with cold club soda, then add a lime slice and the remaining mint and you're done.
This low calorie alcoholic mixed drink is making a major comeback, thanks in part to many commercials.
Bloody Mary. The classic Bloody Mary is only 150 calories and 10 grams of sugar, making this popular classic one of the most popular choices among low calorie mixed drinks. A classic Bloody Mary only remains a good choice, though, if the alcohol content is normal and not inflated or "strong" the way many bartenders like to make it.
However, my best recommendation as a nutrition counselor is to avoid alcohol all together while dieting as it can increase appetite. However, if not, try one of the above low-cal drink mixes to keep the calories, carbs and sugars on the lower side and remember, always drink responsibly and always have a safe ride home.