Is Your Cocktail Worth the Calories?

I, along with everyone else, am revving up for summer vacation; I daydream for hours about sitting poolside with a good book, walking for miles down the beach, sampling good foods and sipping my favourite drinks. That last daydream is a pretty important one to take notice of; if your favourite drink is an alcoholic one, there are some things you should remember about drinking alcohol- especially during the summer heat or on an empty stomach. This fabulous short article, written by Laura Beil, published in Women’s Health Magazine gathers up information from Sam Zakhari Ph.D. at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and Kathleen Melanson Ph.D. at the University of Rhode Island.

 Your Body on a Margarita

You may feel relaxed when you down this classic cocktail, but your organs are working overtime.

In the first minute: The drink lands in your stomach (had the booze been accompanied by food, it would have taken a slower journey- via your bloodstream- to your liver. But you skipped the chips and guacamole.)

Andale! Your liver has to work so hard to break down the flood of alcohol that it puts a temporary hold on other key duties, such as processing calories.

In the next 30 minutes: The liver first converts the liquor into a known carcinogen called acetaldehyde and then breaks it down into acetate, which is a less harmful chemical.

Because your liver is overwhelms, the alcohol backs up in your bloodstream and shoots up to your brain, where it disrupts nerve cells in the hippocampus (which controls memory), the cerebellum (which controls movement), and the prefrontal cortex (which controls mood). As a result, you may feel relaxed and suddenly charming. You may also feel warm and a bit flushed, thanks to expanded blood vessels in your skin.

Out of nowhere, you have to pee-like right now. A potent diuretic, alcohol speeds up the flow of fluids to the bladder.

Meanwhile, if your margarita was made with triple sec, the drink’s sugar content has caused an insulin spike, which may lead to sweating or eating salty, fatty foods you’d normally avoid.

After 60 minutes: The alcohol is neutralized, transformed by your liver from acetate to carbon dioxide (which you breathe out) and water (which you urinate).

Not gone are the 400-plus calories you took in. with your liver otherwise occupied, your body stored the calories as triglycerides (a type of fat). Those are now tucked mostly into cells around your abdomen, the unhealthiest place to pack pudge.

Ok, so you might skip the margarita, but what will you put in its place? WebMD published a list featuring the calorie count of your favourite cocktails (and an excellent article on ways to cut calories from your alcoholic mixes). I’ve listed the calorie count below, but you can find a link to the full article at the bottom of this page.

Low-Calorie Cocktails

How Many Calories in Popular Cocktails?

So just how many calories are in your favorite cocktail? These calorie counts for popular alcoholic drinks are approximate, based on popular recipes, but may vary depending on ingredients and portions.

  • Pina Colada (6 oz): 378 calories
  • Mojito (8 oz): 214 calories
  • Cosmopolitan (4 oz): 200 calories
  • Chocolate martini: (2 oz each vodka, chocolate liqueur, cream, 1/2 oz creme de cacao, chocolate syrup): 438
  • Margarita (8 oz): 280
  • Green apple martini (1 oz each vodka, sour apple, apple juice): 148
  • Martini (2.5 oz): 160
  • Port wine (3 oz):128
  • Bloody Mary (5 oz): 118
  • Red wine (5 oz):120
  • White wine (5 oz): 120
  • Alcohol-free wine (5 oz): 20-30
  • Beer (12 oz): 150-198
  • Light beer (12 oz): 95-136
  • Ultra-light beer (12 oz): 64-95
  • Champagne (5oz): 106-120
  • Coffee liqueur (3 ounces): 348
  • Godiva chocolate liqueur (3 oz): 310
  • Wine spritzer (5 oz): 100
  • Eggnog with rum (8 ounces): 370
  • Hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps (8 oz): 380
  • Hot buttered rum (8 oz): 292
  • Spiced cider with rum ( 8 oz):150
  • Mulled wine (5 oz): 200
  • Vodka and tonic (8 oz): 200
  • Screwdriver (8 oz): 190
  • Mimosa (4 oz): 75
  • Gin and tonic (7 oz): 200
  • Long Island iced tea (8 oz): 780
  • White Russian (2 oz vodka, 1.5 oz coffee liqueur, 1.5 oz cream): 425
  • Mai Tai (6 oz) (1.5 oz rum, 1/2 oz cream de along, 1/2 oz triple sec, sour mix, pineapple juice): 350
  • Rum and Coke (8 oz): 185
  • Rum and Diet Coke (8 oz): 100
  • Mike’s Hard Lemonade (11 oz): 98


Full article from WebMD featured here:


About SuzieSloth

I am a Certified Personal Trainer and Martial Arts Instructor with a passion for physical fitness and a background in public health. I love learning new things about the fitness world and about innovations in all health fields. I like to share tidbits that I find in magazines or on the internet with friends and clients. Please feel free to email me with questions or comments, or leave comments on any post on my blog. And make sure to stop by my website: View all posts by SuzieSloth

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