Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year’s Drinking Fiesta

New Year’s is a big deal in Lebanon! Actually, it’s a big deal everywhere. Spending time with friends and family is a great way to celebrate a new year coming, and for most of us, that means getting together and sharing dinner especially with a few cocktails. And yes, holiday drinking is enjoyable, but not for those of us who are trying to watch our waistlines because even few drinks can set that diet back!

All alcoholic drinks contain calories, whether we like to admit it or not, and for those living in denial that drinks are just like water, I hate to burst your bubble. Whether the calories come from alcohol containing 7 calories per gram or from mixers added like soft drinks, fruit juices, sugar or cream, they all definitely count!

So here are some tips to follow when choosing your drinks:
·         Keep your limit to no more than 1-2 drinks for women and 2-3 drinks for men. Actually, guidelines are 1 drink for women and 2 for men, but since these are the holidays, one more drink is OK as maximum.
·         Avoid mixing your drinks with sweetened mixers which only contain huge amounts of calories.
·         If you choose to go for a beer, choose a light one.
·         Drink out of tall skinny glasses.
·         Mix drinks with water or diet soft drinks since they don’t add extra calories. A can of regular soda can add 150 calories to your drink while a diet soda has around 4 calories total, but we’ll discuss these in few seconds.
·         Know the percentage of alcohol and calories in your drink.
·         Fill your glass with ice cubes and then pour your alcohol, this way you’ll get a smaller amount of chilly, diluted alcoholic drink.
·         Drink a glass of water between drinks for 2 reasons. One, to fill up, but more importantly to re-hydrate your body since alcohol can make you lose your body water.
Now let’s take a look at popular drinks you will have to face during that party! I gathered the most famous drinks, whether wine, beer, hard liqueurs, cocktails and their mixers we have in Lebanon.

·         Wine in 114 mL as a serving size
Type Calories per serving
Red 85
White 80
Rose 88
Sweet 105
Cabernet Sauvignon 88
Chardonnay 88
Light 50
Sherry 128

·         Beer in one bottle, around 340 mL as a serving
Type Calories per serving
Regular 150 to 160
Light 90 to 110

·         Hard liqueur with a usual serving of 43 mL
Type Calories per serving
Bourbon 98
Brandy 98
Gin 104
Rum 84
Scotch 105
Whiskey 104
Kahlua 161
Tequila 100
Vodka 100

·          Mixed drinks
Type Serving Size Calories per serving
Frozen Margarita 240 (1 cup) 404
Champagne 114 mL 91
Sangria 240 mL 169
Gin and Tonic 240 mL 195
Bloody Mary 240 mL 196
Screwdriver 240 mL 210
Bacardi Breezer lemon Light 1 bottle 96
Creme de Menthe
58 mL 250
Cosmpolitan 150 mL 327
Martini 150 mL 322
White Russian 170 mL 374
Tequila Sunrise 58 mL 75
Daiquiri 58 mL 112
Baileys Irish Cream 43 mL 108
Manhattan 58 mL 178
Black Russian 58 mL 162

·         Mixes
Type Calories per serving
Red bull energy drink 110 per can
Mineral water 0
Perrier 0
Diet soda 0
Regular soda 150 per can
Tomato juice 25  in 114 mL
Dr pepper 100 per can
Bloody Mary mix 25 in 114 mL
Nestea Iced tea lemon 86 per can
Orange, pineapple, grapefruit, apple 60 in 114 mL

One more thing that could come in handy is this equation:
Calories in your drink = (milliliters / 28.4) x (% of alcohol x 2) x 0.8.

Let’s say you are drinking 50 mL of whiskey that has 40% alcohol (as indicated on label) thus
Calories in that drink = (50/28.4) x (40x2) x 0.8 = 112 cals!
Or let’s take Arak; 70 mL of this 80% alcohol!
Calories = (70/28.4) x (80x2) x 0.8 = 315 calories!
So now you have actual information that will definitely help you assess whether your drink is high in calories or not. But know that even though you hear that alcohol has benefits, they just go down the drain once you exceed the guidelines we talked about earlier! 

Moreover, keep in mind that it is best that some people avoid drinking alcohol even in big parties such as New Year’s. These include women of childbearing age who may become pregnant, pregnant and lactating women, children and adolescents, people with specific medical conditions and people taking medications that may interact with alcohol.

Coffee or a cold shower will not eliminate alcohol from your blood; time only clears it, so it’s best to stop drinking 2 to 3 hours before you drive. But if you feel dizzy just sleep over wherever you are or hand in the driving responsibility to a non-drinker.
Never drink and drive!


  1. oooh i love alcohool!i had no idea they contianed this much calories!!

  2. ur a clinical dietician! how cool is that? Love ur blog btw. I'll be keeping an eye on it :p I might need some advice from time to time :p oh and I never drink too much!

  3. I don't really do much for NYE anymore, too old with three small kids. But I sure could have used some of this info back when I was younger!

  4. Carolyn, well these could be also useful for casual drinking, there's a possibility to have a drink from time to time, so it's good to know what they contain.

    and Anis, si si I'm a dietitian so ask whatever pops into ur mind, i'm doing the same on ur blog, lol :p

  5. ok here it goes: wats the fastest way to lose say 2 kg in a week? I might try it if u guide me :p cause i really feel the need to lose 2 kg as fast as possible :p I know its not much but I think i need it!

  6. yalla ill send you a mail to ur hotmail now, answer it back & ill send u smthg tonight, pretty easy bas at least commit to it and you'll be fine :p

  7. haha alright done :D and of course i will commit to it! ma3 enno its just 2-3 kg!

  8. yea but i want you to lose them the right way such that you don't gain them back, even if it's just 2-3 kgs:)