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Festive season loading: Boozy drinks to watch for your waistline

Some 'low sugar' alcoholic beverages you may believe are good for your waistline are actually making you gain weight. Stock photo.
Some 'low sugar' alcoholic beverages you may believe are good for your waistline are actually making you gain weight. Stock photo.
Image: fuzullhanum/123rf.com

“Fruity” drinks and alcoholic drinks perceived as being lower in sugar can actually make you gain weight.

This is according to medical aid provider Affinity Health.

No matter what alcoholic beverage you choose, all alcohol contains calories. According to research, a can of beer has the same amount as a large slice of pepperoni pizza.

“Wines and drinks paired with fruit juices or sodas frequently believed to be 'low sugar' often have the most calories. Vodka and cranberry, for example, can contain more than seven teaspoons of sugar. Cocktails, like a Manhattan or Cosmopolitan, can add about 200 calories per drink to your diet respectively.

“Your favourite beer isn't far behind, with an average of 149 calories per 450ml,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health. 

Although gin and tonics are commonly considered a healthy alcoholic option, they are frequently loaded with sugar.

“Tonic water can add about 21g of sugar to your daily intake, nearly exceeding the recommended 25g limit. Try soda water instead if you want something similar but healthier.

“A glass of wine with dinner is said to have numerous benefits, including lowering blood pressure, promoting longevity, and lowering dementia risks. However, not all glasses of wine are created equal. According to research, sweet wine has 100-150 more calories per glass than dry wines with the same alcohol content,” said Affinity Health.

Rum and coke, margaritas and Long Islands were also flagged for being unhealthy.

“Don't be misled by the name. A Long Island iced tea omits the tea entirely in favour of gin, rum, triple sec and vodka. Due to the numerous ingredients, this cocktail has a high-calorie count (which typically makes up about three shots of alcohol). One Long Island iced tea contains 276 calories, or about 14% of your daily calorie intake (if you consume 2,000 calories daily).

“Fruity frozen drinks such as piña coladas are a staple of beach holidays. Still, a piña colada with a sugar-filled mixer and artificial flavouring contains at least 300 calories (up to 600 calories) and more than 30g of sugar.

“Because fruit is one of sangria's main ingredients, it must be healthy, right? No. The sugar content remains high whether a sangria is made with fruit-flavoured or 100% real fruit juice,” said the report.

According to the American Heart Association, men should consume no more than 37.5g of added sugars per day and women no more than 25g.


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