Smart drinking saves inches from waistline

by Emma Secker

MCT Campus
MCT Campus

Few students realize when they drink a margarita, they are consuming about the same number of calories as a McDonalds double cheeseburger. When students head out for Taco Tuesday, they are most likely drinking more calories than they are eating.

Some students are aware the morning after they wake up from a night of drinking that they do not feel their trimmest. Stomachs are bloated, limbs are aching and the gym sounds repulsive. Clearly, six-pack drinking does not result in six-pack sculpting. So how can students maintain their beach bodies this summer amid the sugary cocktails, beer and endless hours of debauchery? Alcohol moderation is a viable compromise to keep beer bellies at bay. According to an article by John Cloud in TIME titled “Why Alcohol Drinkers Outlive Non-Alcohol Drinkers,” moderate drinking is not only minimal in causing weight gain, but can also be good for one’s health.

“Moderate alcohol use (especially when the beverage of choice is red wine) is thought to improve heart health, circulation and sociability,” Cloud states. “One important reason is that alcohol lubricates so many social interactions, and social interactions are vital for maintaining mental and physical health.”

Although moderate drinking might have health benefits such as these, alcohol has little to offer its consumers in nutritional value. Alcohol provides “empty calories,” calories high in energy but low in nutritional value. So how can students enjoy alcohol moderately this summer with minimal caloric consequence?

First, students who fancy the tropical allure of frozen, sugary drinks such as Pina Coladas might want to consider making the switch to Malibu rum and Diet Coke. Monitoring mixers can reduce unhealthier drinks to a quarter of their calorie content. Mixing hard liquor with diet soda, tonic water or diet juices can make cocktails much less sugary without compromising taste. According to Livestrong.com, a typical 1-ounce shot of hard liquor has about 65 calories. Therefore, the astronomical calorie counts of mixed drinks are largely because of their unhealthy mixers.

For those who would rather abstain entirely from the cocktail craze, red wine is agreed by most experts to be alcohol’s nutritional champion. A 4-ounce glass of wine contains between 80 to 120 calories. In a report on the health effects of white and red wine, Dr. Philip Norrie stated the antioxidants in wine can help prevent cardiovascular disease, alzheimers, cancer, Parkinson’s disease and aging.

Another diet-friendly alcohol option is light beer. For better or worse, many college students are familiar with the joys of Keystone or Coor’s Light. However, few college students are also likely to sip on these low-calorie beverages. College drinkers typically exceed the recommended two-drink maximum for girls, or three .for men. Therefore, students can enjoy this beverage in ways that allow them to track their consumption. Not drinking from a pitcher or refilling one’s glass before it is empty are two ways students can succeed in keeping their guts in check.

According to medicinenet.com, in addition to choosing beverages with less alcohol and sugary mixers, students can alternate drinking non-alcoholic beverages in between cocktails to keep calories low. Also, keeping water on hand to quench one’s thirst will enable drinkers to enjoy their alcoholic beverage during a longer course of time and stay hydrated in the process. Sipping rather than chugging a drink also helps stretch the calories and keep one’s tummy a little tighter.

Finally, making sure one eats a healthy meal before a night of drinking can decrease the chances that one’s drinking fest will end in a food feast. As many are well aware, inebriation limits inhibition in a number of ways, among them is eating discretion. A Little Caesars pizza looks like a five-star meal through a pair of beer goggles. To avoid having these intoxicated hunger pangs, students are recommended to fill up on healthy food before drinking.