The tax on sugary drinks is a useful reminder of why they’re bad news for our health. Picture: Pexels / Charlotte May
The tax on sugary drinks is a useful reminder of why they’re bad news for our health. Picture: Pexels / Charlotte May

World Cocktail Day: Low calorie options

By Viwe Ndongeni-Ntlebi Time of article published May 13, 2021

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Sugary drinks are the culprit behind quick and often surprising winter weight gain. And it’s also the culprit of those painful hangovers.

The tax on sugary drinks is a useful reminder of why they’re bad news for our health.

A 2015 review of carbohydrates and health from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition showed that diets high in sugar tend to be high in calories as well, and the associated weight gain can have an impact on your heart.

If you’re a healthy weight, you might think you don’t need to worry about sugar – that’s not true. If you have a lot of sugary foods and drinks in your diet, it could mean you’re not getting the right balance of food groups.

“The trend in cocktails is to sugar the rim, add chocolate syrup or any number of creative sweet touches that boost calories, and turn the cocktail into a dessert,” says Carolyn O'Neil, MS, RD, co-author of “The Dish: On Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous”.

If you must have one of these, she advises, trim your dinner calories and enjoy your cocktail afterwards as a dessert. Better yet, order a small after-dinner liqueur, like Amaretto, over ice and sip it slowly.

Certified nutrition therapist Connie Bhebhe says an average cocktail contains between 300-400 calories.

“The average person consumes three cocktails on a night out, add food and a greasy hangover meal, it’s easy to see how the calories and kgs add up,” says Bhebhe.

She advises you avoid dark liquors as they contain more sugar. Instead choose white rum over dark rum. Silver tequila over gold.

To decrease the sugar intake, Bhebhe says opt for fresh and real lime or freshly squeezed juice instead of cordial.

Drinks that are low in calories:

Champagne, 95 calories

Nutritionists often recommend Champagne or sparkling wine because it's lower in sugar and usually served in smaller portions than generous pours of wine, making it easier to keep track of how much you've had.

Tequila & soda, 100 calories

This is a favourite drink of nutritionists, as tequila has a lower glycemic index than other alcohols, the soda is calorie-free and it pairs well with a variety of fruit and veggie garnishes, from classic lime to cucumber and orange.

Gin & tonic, 103 calories

It's always good to have a go-to drink, and everyone sounds classy ordering a gin & tonic. Plus the juniper flavour of gin is very on-brand for any occasion!

Recipe: Pomegranate-martini

1 serving

INGREDIENTS

1 Vodka

¼ cup unsweetened pomegranate juice

2 Tbsp. sparkling water

1 orange slice, squeezed

1 Tbsp. pomegranate seeds, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Step 1: In a shaker filled with ice, combine all ingredients but the garnish. Shake well for 5 seconds.

Step 2: Pour into a martini glass and garnish with pomegranate seeds.

Recipe: Tone It Up.

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