3 majorly wrong myths about drinking in the holiday season

KREM 2's health reporter Rose Beltz is breaking down the biggest drinking myths and offering up some tips to make your holiday drinks a little bit healthier.

The holidays are a notoriously joyous and emotional time for people! Between family gatherings, office parties, Christmas parties and general celebration, temptation comes in many varieties from mixed drinks and wine to champagne. 

KREM 2 checked in with three experts about some holiday booze misconceptions and behaviors they find their friends and family repeating this time of the year.

All of our experts agreed people respond differently to alcohol, and the ingredients found in wine, beer and mixed drinks.  

Here are the most common myths they hear when it comes to alcohol:

MYTH NUMBER ONE: Red wine has less carbs than white wine.

TRUTH: They have the same amount, on average about 2 grams per 5 ounce serving. 
Go for the dry. Dry wines and champagne contain the less carbs and sugar. 

Champagne on average has less carbohydrates than wine: about 1g per serving.

The drier the wine or champagne, the less sugar. Beer AKA “liquid bread” contains anywhere from 1.9 to about 14 grams of carbs per 12 oz bottle depending on the brand and variety.

“Wine coolers can contain as much as 30-40 grams of carbohydrates per 12 oz. bottle!” said Maria Weber, a dietician and nutrition consultant for The Biggest Loser Resorts in New York City.

“Those carbohydrates in wine and beer come from remnants of the fermentation process.  These carbohydrates have a different chemical structure than table sugar and do not affect your body the same as added sugars that you find in mixed drinks,” said Mandy White, a nutrition health coach from Las Vegas.

MYTH NUMBER TWO: Different liquors have different caloric values.

TRUTH: Liquors of the same proof contain the same number of calories. On average, there is between 4 and 5 grams of sugar per glass, which is really nothing.

“Even if you are talking an entire bottle, which is about 4 glasses of wine, so you are staying under 20 grams of sugar in an entire bottle of wine versus some of the sugary drinks have many more grams of sugar in just one drink,” White said.

And now for the most common myth…

MYTH NUMBER THREE: Clear liquors contain NO calories. 

TRUTH: Duh! Looking at myth number two, all alcohol contains calories!

If you still would like to enjoy a drink after be bunking theses myths, the experts recommend: 

Think of alcohol like food.  Fresh is best.  Avoid sugar and high-fructose corn syrup mixes and go for club soda, fresh squeezed fruit juice, herbs and spices.

“If you want hard liquor go for something on the rocks that is clean and made for a hundred or more years traditionally stay away from mixed drinks that are full of sugar”, said Doctor Mihaela Telecan. She is a registered dietitian, integrative nutritionist and author of “Make Peace with Fat.” 

The every-other rule. Drink a bottle of water or seltzer between alcoholic beverages to avoid binge drinking.

Don’t mix alcohol and caffeine. Caffeine does not change blood alcohol content levels. (i.e. Red bull cocktails or drinking coffee to ‘sober’ up). You may be aware and less likely to fall asleep but you are still skewed as far as judgment is concerned.

If you have a health condition always check in with your doctor to make sure it is safe for you to drink!

When you know you will be attending a party with alcohol, prepare in advance.  People who don’t normally consume alcohol socially are drinking and even those who do drink socially who have parties during the week.

“Prepare in advance.  Hydrate, do not go to a party with an empty stomach and have some remedies ready for the next day.  Emergen-C Vitamin Packs are great!“ said White.

If you have a health condition always check in with your doctor to make sure it is safe for you to drink! 

If you can pass on the eggnog and sangria here are some healthy swaps! 

Traditional Holiday Drinks:
Alcoholic –
1) White Russian (8 oz.) – 560 cal, 70g sugar (17.5 tsp), 14g fat

2) Eggnog with Rum (8 oz.) – 460 cal, 20g sugar (5 tsp), 19g fat

3) Hot Buttered Rum (8 oz) – 330 cal, 18g sugar (4.5 tsp), 16g fat

Non-alcoholic –

1) Peet’s Peppermint Cocoa with whipped cream (Med-16oz) –480 cal, 73g sugar (18.25 tsp), 12g fat

2) Starbuck’s Gingerbread Frappuccino with whipped cream (16oz) –370 cal, 58g sugar (14.5 tsp), 14g fat

Experts Healthy Swaps:

Alcoholic :

1) Vodka & soda with lime AKA “skinny b***h” (8 oz) – 64 cal, 0g sugar, 0g fat (Spruce it up for the holidays – Add a cherry to the lime garnish and a splash of cranberry juice!)”

2) Mulled red wine (5 oz) – 104 cal, 7g sugar (1.75 tsp), 0g fat(dry red wine, sugar or honey, spices, orange & lemon peels)

3) Sparkling wine cocktail ( 5 oz) – 126 cal, 9g sugar (2.25 tsp) , 0g fat(4 oz. Prosecco, 1⁄2 oz. fresh lemon juice, 1.2 oz. simple syrup or honey, lemon twist) 

4) Hot Toddy (10 oz) – 154 cal, 14g sugar (3.5 tsp), 0g fat(Scotch, brandy or bourbon, lemon, honey, cloves, cinnamon stick)--Added benefits – traditional remedy for colds or just plain warming up from the cold!

Non- Alcoholic: 

1) Peet’s Holiday Spice Latte made with nonfat milk (Small-12 oz) –200 cal, 35g sugar (8.75 tsp), 5g fat

2) Starbuck’s Classic Hot Chocolate made with steamed nonfat milk and no whipped cream (Tall-12 oz) – 210 cal, 32g sugar (8 tsp), 2g fat 

SOURCES
Maria Weber, Registered Dietitian, Integrative Nutritionist, Owner of ACTIVE NUTRITION and Nutrition Consultant for The Biggest Loser Resorts in New York City.

Doctor Mihaela Telecan. Registered Dietitian, Integrative Nutritionist and author of "Make Peace with Fat."

Mandy White, WBFF Fitness Pro and Holistic Nutrition Health Coach from Las Vegas.

© 2017 KREM-TV


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