Christmas cocktails and hidden calories | Healthy Diet

Christmas cocktails and hidden calories

We all love Christmas cocktails but they have hidden calories. Dietitian George Hamlyn-Williams from The Hospital Group shares advice on making healthy choices when it comes to what you drink this Christmas.

Healthy Diet

By Healthy Diet

Christmas cocktails and hidden calories

George Hamlyn-William says, “Although we all tend to indulge from time to time, drinking our calories is often a ‘blind spot’ that many of us are naïve to, or ignore. As well as being typically high in calories and sugar, alcoholic drinks often have little or no nutritional value.

As most alcoholic drinks are exempt from nutritional labelling laws, it’s easy for people to unknowingly ‘drink their calories’ and consume excess sugar. Which over time can lead to weight gain and can contribute to a variety of other health issues.”

We’re by no means suggesting that your Christmas shouldn’t be short of those treats you’ve been looking forward to but gaining a better understanding around your food and drink options beforehand will allow you to make informed decisions once you’ve arrived at your destination.

“Unfortunately, the cocktail menu is often a minefield when it comes to excess calories and sugar; often laden with pre-mixed syrups and fruit juices with added sugars, a few cocktails can easily tot up to hundreds of calories and a massive proportion of your recommended sugar intake.

“It’s wise to find out how the cocktails are made and what ingredients are going into them, asking the bartender to make some simple swaps to your favourite cocktails will enable you to be in more control of your calorie and sugar intake. Fresh or frozen fruit in your Strawberry Daiquiri will be much more nutritionally beneficial than pre-mixed syrups, and opting for the ‘low-calorie’ mixers such as diet coke in a Cuba Libre or soda water in a Pimms, will significantly reduce the calorie count.

“It’s also wise to consider alternative ways of sweetening cocktails such as adding a few crushed raspberries to a mojito instead of added sugar and opting for ‘long’ drinks that will last longer.”

Here are a few of the most notoriously sugary cocktails and some healthier alternatives:
  • Pornstar Martini (224 cal, 16g sugar) vs Margarita (144 cal, 0.3g sugar)
  • Pina Colada (314 cal, 13.6g sugar) vs Gin Fizz (155 cal, 5g sugar)
  • Strawberry Daiquiri (219 cal, 17g sugar) vs Cosmopolitan (161 cal, 8g sugar)
  • Long Island ice Tea (262 cal, 221g sugar) vs Cuba Libre (159 cal, 10g sugar)