In the aftermath of the holidays, sit back, close your eyes and play the good times through your mind again. When you come to what you enjoyed on plates and in glasses, you might feel a bit guilty for overindulging. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans say women should not consume more than one drink per day. Men should stop drinking after two alcoholic drinks.
Potential consequences of too many alcoholic drinks
I’m not trying to convince you to stop drinking alcohol. No, this is only a reminder not to overindulge. It is essential to understand that alcohol does not contain any health benefits. The potential harm depends on the type of alcoholic drinks consumed.
So, let’s look at the damage too much alcohol does to your health. Most importantly, keep in mind that, over time, excessive alcohol consumption could cause weight gain, infertility, prolonged slurred speech and depression. Even more concerning are the risks of osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease and pancreatitis. Essentially, alcohol is alcohol; regardless of whether you drink low-alcohol beer or French Champaign, too much could kill you.
Calories in alcoholic drinks matter
Additives to the alcohol in your drink could raise risks. A tasty craft beer contains about 450 calories. Therefore, a reduced-calorie beer is a better choice.
Do you prefer the hard stuff? Note that sipping a neat tot of rum would cause less harm than having it as an ingredient in a classic Daiquiri. This cocktail is a blend of rum, citrus juice and a loaded dose of sugary syrup. Adding only one ounce of the syrup is as good as adding five teaspoons of sugar.
So, along with the health risks of too much alcohol, an excessive amount of added sugar could cause added belly fat. It could also raise blood pressure, affect brain functioning, double heart disease risks and cause sagging skin.
How to know which alcoholic drinks to avoid?
Leslie Bonci, a registered dietitian, reckons mixed drinks pose most problems. Not only do they contain more alcohol, but also the mixers that typically add unhealthy levels of calories. The amount of alcohol in one drink could be equal to five shots. However, partygoers might not realize that one such a mixed drink could be the same as drinking five other alcoholic beverages.
Which are the worst alcoholic drinks?
Bonci named three mixed cocktails vying for the number one spot on the worst alcoholic drink list when asked this question. However, the size of the drinks and varying contents play a significant role in identifying the worst one.
If you check calorie intake, would you choose a Big Mac or a Piña Colada? The Big Mac has only 576 calories, compared to over 650 calories in the Piña Colada. Surprised?
Let’s see why. The combination of the ingredients in a Piña Colada includes rum, coconut cream, coconut milk, lemon juice and pineapple juice. There you have it, your cocktail, even the plain eight-ounce garden variety typically contains about 40 grams of sugar. To make it even worse, adding the coconut cream further loads the drink with saturated fat.
Although Margaritas vary from place to place, the basic eight-ounce version has more than 36 grams of sugar and an astonishing 274 calories. The cocktail consists of a blend of tequila, orange liqueur like Cointreau, Triple Sec or Grand Marnier and lime juice. The sweetness comes from a simple sugar syrup or agave nectar.
Long Island Iced Tea
Imagine your system being hit with 780 calories and a mixture of five different alcoholic drinks at once! That is what your system encounters if your choice of a cocktail is a Long Island Iced Tea. You might want to choose less potent alcoholic drinks in the future. A single LIIT is a blend of vodka, rum, gin, tequila, cola, sweet syrup and lemon juice. Note that this mixture can make your cocktail equal to five individual drinks!
Bottom Line — anything that is “too” is not in your best interests.