Friday, May 27, 2011

Don't Drink Calories--It's the Alcohol Sweetheart.

Boy, Blogger has been really having problems and is still has problems.  I have not been able to log and blog for two days, and was only able to do so today through extreme measures.  Plus, I still can't upload images.  But you don't want to hear about that.

Years ago when I was just out of law school and working at my first legal job, I befriended another young lawyer. We went out to lunch frequently.  She always watched what she ate, and pretty much impressed me as someone who exercised regularly.

Despite this, over the course of our first year working together, I watched her steadily gain weight.  One day she complained to me that none of her clothes were fitting, and said she didn't understand why she was gaining weight.

We put our heads together to try to see what could be causing the weight gain. She was still exercising, she said, more so to counter-act all the sitting she now had to do for work.   She ate well, and watched her calories, more so, she said, because she was gaining weight.

Finally she revealed that it had become a habit to meet friends after work and have a couple of cocktails.

That got bells ringing and we immediately set off to figure out how many calories were in the cocktails she was consuming.  This was in the days before the Internet, so looking this kind of stuff up meant actually finding books and researching.

It was indeed the cocktails.   Turns out that a martini has 235 calories in in.  A frozen margarita can have anywhere from 250 to over 750 calories.   Long Island Iced Teas, which were really popular in the 1980's, have 292 calories.  

So if my friend was otherwise eating and exercising to the point that her calories in equaled what she needed to maintain her weight, if she was having 2 Martini's a night that put her 470 calories over her "limit."  Since it only takes 3,600 excess calories to gain a pound, that meant she was putting on an additional pound just about every week.

My friend learned her lesson, she went on a diet, cut out the alcohol, did some additional exercising and eventually dropped the weight (we were in our 20's back then so it was much easier).    I wouldn't call her a tea-totaler afterwards, but she learned her lesson about drinking calories. 

I bring this up, because the the FDA is considering having alchoholic beverage labels disclosing calorie content.

I'm all for this (as I am for calorie labeling in general), because, it's information I want to know.

I enjoy a glass of wine now and again, and a few times a year I enjoy a cocktail (I detest beer which I always thought was a good thing).    When I do, however, I realize that I am imbibing excess calories and plan accordingly, i.e, I eat fewer calories elsewhere or do some additional exercise. 

Knowing exactly, how many calories I'm drinking, will make it a lot easier. 


  1. Excellent post especially as we head into a 3 day weekend of parties, barbecues and alcohol.

  2. I've heard not to drink your calories and it extends to milk and juice as well as alcoholic and sugary beverages. Interestingly, the advice I read excluded wine and beer consumed in moderation.

  3. alas... my biggest downfall for weightloss... sigh