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More Smart Sip Tips & New Regulations to Note

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Photo credit: Helena Yankovska (Unsplash)

Talk about raising awareness of from you lips to your hips!

While everyone was enjoying their Mint Juleps to cheer on the Kentucky Derby and Margaritas for Cinco de Mayo last week, a new Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A) regulation was rolling out requiring restaurants and other dining and drinking establishments with more than twenty locations to list calories counts for cocktails, wine and beer. The guidelines were announced earlier this year. You can watch the recent NBC News report here.

Like the calorie counts we see on menu items at similar establishments, these are intended as helpful guidelines to educate consumers about what and how much they consume and encourage moderation by making smarter choices.

According to Susan Mayne, Ph.D., director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, “For consumers who want to consume fewer calories, having calorie and other nutrition information available has the potential to save and improve lives. Nearly 40 percent of U.S. adults are obese, and obesity increases risk for heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, and diabetes.” (Referencing the report here).

Will it impact our consumption and drive behavior changes? I think so in part. I have consciously changed what I purchase at my local Pret Manger after reading calories counts on its sandwiches and soups and opt for the smaller protein cups. As for wine and cocktails, I have always watched what I drink. The key now is how much I drink since a bottle of wine is usually part of the evening meal. And I write about wine which means we taste a lot of wines for our work!

Here are some more smart sip tips courtesy of me. And a helpful infographic on calorie counts in drinks from The Daily Burn.

Sip it. Take smaller sips and drink more slowly. It’s just like cutting up your food in smaller slices and chewing more to eat less.

Spritz it. A wine spritzer (white wine or rosé with a splash of club soda) is a lighter option to a heavier cocktail. Ditto vodka and soda. Or, try Vermouth over ice with a splash.

Slice It. Instead of adding bottled juice or a prepared mix to your vodka, add fresh slices of oranges, limes and grapefruit and a few fresh fruit squeezes. Pour over the rocks and add a few splashes of water or club soda. Just like any dish, many of the hidden calories such as sugar, are in the added ingredients.

Save it. Save the sugar high for your favorite slice of cake or pie instead of drinking it unless you prefer a small creamy cocktail instead of your cake at the end of a meal.

Size matters. Drink from a smaller glass. It’s like eating on a smaller plate. Portion control. Smaller pours. Fewer ounces. Less calories.

Smart up. Know what’s in your glass. If you read labels on food and makeup packages, think about your drink and what’s in it. And drink quality over quantity.

Skip It. This does not necessarily mean giving up drinking. Just skip the second drink. Make your first drink your last call.

Don’t blame the beverage. It’s what you add to it. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, straight hard alcohol, including vodka, gin, rum, tequila, and whiskey has zero grams of carbs or sugar per ounce. Instead, these drinks get all their calories from alcohol, and range in calories from 97 calories for a 1.5-ounce shot of 80-proof gin, rum, vodka, whiskey, or tequila

And, if you find you are liking your daily drinks a little too much and relying on alcohol to self-medicate or function confidently, please seek help.  1-800-662-HELP (4357)

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