Wondering where the calories are lurking? "People may not realize how many calories they waste on beverages", says Adeana Osika, R.D., director of Food & Nutrition Services at Sarasota Memorial Health Care System. "If you're going to drink a high-calorie drink, you have to ask yourself, 'What am I going to give up in my dinner to compensate?'"
Sixteen ounces of cola has about 200 calories, and that's not counting unlimited refills. Alcohol can also add up very quickly: a 5-ounce glass of red wine has about 125 calories, a 12-ounce glass of beer has about 153 calories and an 8-ounce Margarita has a whopping 370 calories. However, a 1.7-ounce ShotPak® cocktail has about 93 calories. An 8-ounce after-dinner capuccino has about 80 calories.
Ethanol, the active ingredient in alcohol, is responsible for most of its health benefits and detriments.
Pros: Alcohol reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and ischemic stroke by relaxing blood vessels and boosting levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. A compound found in red wine called resveratrol can improve blood flow and prevent LDL (bad) cholesterol from damaging arteries. Moderate consumption of alcohol (one glass per day for women and two for men) also is associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and can lower blood sugar in those with diabetes.
Cons: Alcohol can increase blood pressure and triglycerides and should be avoided by those with liver disease, including hepatitis. It also exacerbates heartburn and acid reflux. Even moderate amounts of alcohol can increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer. Meanwhile, excessive drinking has been linked to cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, and pancreas. Lastly, alcohol deters those trying to lose weight. It’s caloric, but it doesn’t fill you up the same way food does, and it can even stimulate your appetite.
Bottom line: If you drink, do so responsibly and moderately. And if you suffer from illness or take any medication, check with your doctor before consuming alcohol on a regular basis.
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from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune