10 Worst Alcoholic Drinks That Will Wreck Your Diet

Rucuss staffFebruary 5, 2015

There’s more to weight loss than just watching what you eat.

You also have to watch what you drink as well. And we’re not talking about fruit punch and soda. Alcohol is bad news for many who are trying to lose pounds because it can add unnecessary calories to your diet.

But not all liquor is bad for you. Livestrong.com compiled a list of the Worst Alcoholic Drinks That Will Wreck Your Diet. Check them out below.

1. Margarita

1. Margarita

Depending on how a margarita is made, it is very likely to contain sugar. The consumption of too much sugar has been linked to obesity, type-2 diabetes and heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, sugar should be limited to about 8 percent of our daily calorie intake or six teaspoons a day (100 calories) for women and nine teaspoons a day (150 calories) for men. The World Health Organization just tightened the reign on these limits reducing intake even further to less than 5 percent of daily calories. “Most bars use a pre-made commercial sour mix in drinks like margaritas,” says mixologist Chris Milligan, aka “The Santa Fe Barman.” “These contain a lot of sugar. A margarita will typically run upwards of 400 calories per drink, tasty though they may be.” Drink just two of these sugar bombs and you’re well on your way to meeting your daily total caloric needs. Milligan suggests skipping the margarita unless it’s made simply with fresh lime juice, which lowers the calorie count considerably.

2. Long Island Iced Tea

2. Long Island Iced Tea

Don’t let the refreshing name fool you. Long Island Iced Tea will derail your diet faster than you can hail a taxi. Made with everything but the kitchen sink — rum, gin, vodka, tequila, triple sec, sour mix, cola — a Long Island Iced Tea can have more calories than an entire meal. The main factor is the size of the drink, which at 12 ounces is larger than most cocktails in order to accommodate all those ingredients. “I recommend to people, if they’re going to keep alcohol in their diet, it’s really important to be mindful of the portions,” says registered dietitian and nutritionist Elisa Zied, author of “Younger Next Week.” Ask for half a serving and diet soda, and look for bartenders serving fresh ingredients instead of sour mix.

3. White Russian

3. White Russian

A round of White Russians really brings any group viewing “The Big Lebowski” together, but The Dude’s favorite beverage does not abide as far as diets are concerned. Made with vodka, Kahlua and cream, one 6-ounce White Russian packs about 500 calories and more than your daily allowance of saturated fat. “Liqueurs like Kahlua, typically don’t have a lot of alcohol, and they do have a lot of sugar,” says mixologist Chris Milligan. Too much added sugar is associated with weight gain, as well as chronic diseases such as type-2 diabetes. Milligan says you can use 2 percent milk to save some calories, but the drink won’t be as creamy.

4. Slush Cocktails

4. Slush Cocktails

You probably won’t find a slush machine at your favorite craft cocktail bar, but you will find them at many chain restaurants. Mixologist Chris Milligan recommends avoiding them. “There is no way to know what’s in that machine,” Milligan says. But the one thing you can count on is sugar. He says that even frozen drinks made in a blender are usually loaded with sugar to keep them from tasting like water. The best option is to ask for a mixed drink over crushed ice, which will give it a texture similar to that of a frozen drink.

5. Irish Coffee

5. Irish Coffee

If you’re looking to warm up on a cold winter’s night, try flannel pajamas instead of an Irish coffee – the pajamas are much better for your waistline! Made with whipped heavy cream, Irish whiskey and sugar, one serving of Irish Coffee may pack more than 300 calories. There’s also the problem of drinking caffeine in the evening, when most people are consuming alcohol. In a study published in November 2013 in the “Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine,” researchers found that consuming caffeine within six hours of bedtime can significantly disrupt your sleep. If you must have an Irish coffee, use decaf coffee and substitute reduced-fat milk for cream to reduce your intake of calories and avoid lost sleep.

6. Pina Colada

6. Pina Colada

The piña colada can deliver more than 600 calories — that’s more calories than a Big Mac — placing it among the most fattening of alcoholic drinks. The problem with getting that many calories in your diet from a single drink is that it provides few, if any, beneficial nutrients to go along with those calories. “Alcohol a lot of times will displace other calories in the diet,” says registered dietitian and nutritionist Elisa Zied. “It will displace healthful foods that are loaded with nutrients.” Zied also cautions that consuming too much alcohol can cause problems with metabolism and the absorption of nutrients.

7. Eggnog

7. Eggnog

Eggnog, a perennial Christmas favorite, should be limited to a once-a-year treat. Made with sugar, egg yolk, milk, heavy cream and brandy, rum or bourbon, just one of these festive drinks will increase your saturated fat, cholesterol and calorie intake significantly. Before you even add spirits, some versions may pack more than 400 calories per cup. According to registered dietician Molly Kimball of the Times-Picayune, one cup can have the equivalent of 15 packets of sugar and exceed the saturated fat in a Big Mac. CDKitchen.com recommends swapping the heavy cream for skim milk and using a natural sugar alternative, such as stevia, to shave calories.

8. Mai Tai

8. Mai Tai

Drinking one mai tai may take you away to a tropical island, but it won’t help you look your best in a bikini once you get there. Although recipes vary widely, a mai tai usually consists of different types of rum — either light, dark, spiced or coconut — liqueur, pineapple juice and orange juice. Mixologist Chris Milligan says you should be wary of bars that use RTDs (ready-to-drinks) because these can contain more sugar than those made with spirits and juices. “It’s too much added sugar — that’s the problem,” says Zeid. “If you’re having too much added sugar, it’s crowding out nutrient-rich foods that could be in your diet.”

9. Brandy Alexander

9. Brandy Alexander

One 3-ounce brandy Alexander — a decadent drink made with brandy, dark creme de cacao, heavy cream and grated nutmeg — contains about 300 calories and 7 grams of saturated fat. According to mixologist Chris Milligan, many bars serve cocktails that are double that size. To put this in perspective, the American Heart Association recommends getting no more than 7 percent of your daily calories from saturated fat. On a typical 2,000-calorie diet, that’s about 16 grams a day. One 6-ounce brandy Alexander could supply almost your entire daily limit. For a skinnier drink, substitute 2 percent milk for heavy cream. The finished product will be thinner but better for you.

10. Amaretto Sour

10. Amaretto Sour

Any drink made with sour mix should be avoided as they typically include tons of sugars, preservatives and color additives. Add that to an already syrupy sweet liqueur like amaretto and you’ve got a dessert, not a beverage. A 6 ounce amaretto sour can have more than 400 calories. If you’re watching your weight, this could definitely stall your efforts. Following a reduced-calorie diet is the best way to shed extra pounds. Just one of these drinks can account for more than 20 percent of the calories in a typical 2,000-calorie diet. If you can’t abstain, be sure to have only one and make it with fresh lime juice and a dash of simple syrup, honey or agave.

Photos via Livestrong.com

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