You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. Unless that is said horse is a stressed nine-to-fiver, and the trough is the local pub.
While a hard day’s graft sometimes justifies a pint (or six), the calorie content may be more difficult to swallow.
We all know how beer bellies are made, but a lager isn’t the only way to sabotage a get-ripped-quick plan. In a sobering bid to provide a definitive ranking, we spoke to Shona Wilkinson, a nutritionist at Superfood UK, to identify the bad guys of the booze world.
Long Island Iced Tea
Up To 780 Calories
When it comes to training habits, usually if it’s good enough for Mike Tyson, it’s good enough for us. However, Iron Mike’s poison will knock any hopes of a six-pack on their arse faster than he did Frank Bruno.
“It is truly shocking how many calories this drink contains,” says Wilkinson. “The total amount does vary according to the ingredients, but there are at least three shots, plus tonnes of sugar, so it’s roughly the same as consuming an entire meal.”
Guinness may be packing the calories (about as much as a glazed doughnut), but the luck of the Irish means it’s not all bad in moderation.
“Guinness contains antioxidants, a beneficial substance usually found in blueberries and strawberries. Plus, there’s a relatively high iron content that can aid energy levels.”
Top of the morning, indeed.
Anything that shares its core ingredients with a loaf of bread is going to be pretty calorific, and surprise surprise, beer bellies are so named for a reason.
“Exercise caution with beer as it can be incredibly bloating due to the large carbohydrate content and also the sheer volume that can be drank in one sitting.”
Light beers are much friendlier on the waistline, usually coming in at under 100 calories and some even dipping as low as 50.
Once solely the tipple of choice for hen dos, Italy’s favourite bubbles are now available everywhere – and not just because they’re friendlier on the wallet than the French alternative.
“The health benefits of prosecco are nigh on identical to those of Champagne, just without the expense. High levels of polyphenols can benefit blood levels, and it also slows down the removal of nitric oxide, which aids circulation.”
But beware, one glass still requires around 20 minutes of moderat-effort weights to burn off that easier-to-lift glass.
Whisky On The Rocks
A whisky on the rocks is no doubt one of the manliest of tipples on the menu, and it’s also one of the most forgiving.
“Whisky is low in saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium and carbohydrates, which is all good news. The alcohol is present in the form of simple sugars that are quickly broken down for energy, making it a popular choice for those who want to manage their weight.”
Average Glass Of Red Wine
Make like UB40 and opt for a glass of red, red wine. Not only is it low in calorie, but a range of studies would have us believe there are also several health benefits.
“There’s a high resveratrol content in wine – a nutrient found in the grapes – that provides antioxidants linked to anti-aging. This is why people say a glass of red is good for you.”
Note we said glass, not bottle. Knocking back a full Merlot is around 600 calories – an amount only 90 minutes on the punching bag will shift.
Gin & Slimline Tonic
Going slimline lightens the calories, and also lessens the bite elsewhere.
“Tonic water contains a substance called quinine, an effective mosquito preventative. The drink was originally designed for people who were drinking tonic for this purpose, but added gin as it was so unpalatable.”
We’re feeling the buzz on that.
A shot of tequila can compromise your liver as well as your dignity. Should you choose the three-step slammer, at least watch what you drink – literally.
“Check the label first. Proper tequila should boast a 100 per cent agave content. If it doesn’t, it’ll contain nearly half of other liquids – usually sugar-based alcohols.”
Despite being low in calories, these kinds of drinks often lead to terrible food choice when the bar closes.
Vodka & Slimline Tonic
As well as being lighter on the head the next day, Vodka also makes light work on the calorie front.
“Vodka and slimline tonic tends to be one of the lowest calorie alcoholic drinks. It also minimises the risk of a hangover thanks to the ratio of alcohol to mixer, as well as being minute in calorie content.”
That should be enough to make you rethink your drink.