Yet for many of us — teetotalers excluded — going out for drinks with friends or enjoying a drop (or several) over dinner is an enjoyable part of life.
So, in the interest of learning whether there are healthier ways to enjoy a bevvy, we asked seven dietitians to tell us what they order at the bar. And guess what? Cocktails aren’t off the menu.
Jaime Rose Chambers
Eat Fit Food’s Dietitian and Nutritionist
“I always go for really good red wine or rose depending on the weather and what I’m eating. I order by the glass so I can keep track of what I’m drinking rather than feeling like I have to finish a bottle and drink more than I want to,” Chambers says.
“Wine you can also sip slowly, whereas if I go for a mixed drink or cocktail I tend to want to guzzle it too quickly.”
Watch: The amount of sugar in your favourite drinks, wine included, might surprise you. (Post continues after video.)
Parker goes through drink phases, but her current bevvy of choice is a Pure Blonde or light beer.
“Aside from enjoying the taste, I find I drink carbonated beverages more slowly, setting a slower pace and allowing more enjoyment from each sip. Pure Blonde is also lower in alcohol than other beers, so there are fewer standard drinks in each,” she explains.
“Wine often gets the attention for being a somewhat healthy option, but a review of over 150 studies has shown that low-moderate intakes of beer (that’s up to one drink a day for women, and two for men) can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.”
That’s not the only surprising piece of beer intel Parker has to share.
“A small study suggested that a beer might actually be more hydrating than water when it comes to recovering after exercise. Interesting, but I wouldn’t go swapping water for alcohol to help with sports performance any time soon,” she adds.
Cheers to that.
Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist, Bites for Health
Rabel's favourite drink is a classic: the espresso martini. "I don't worry too much about how healthy my alcoholic drink is, because I don't have many of them, and I enjoy them," she explains.
"I also like beer (not the low-carb version), wine and spirits, and try to drink what I feel like and want on the day."
If you also enjoy indulging in the occasional cocktail, Rabel has some tips for getting your money's worth.
"I do try and make sure I am well hydrated before I have an alcoholic drink, and often have a glass of water before my drink because if I am thirsty I will scull my drink. Nobody wants to pay $20 for an espresso martini and scull it in one go!" she says. Too right.
Bottoms up. Image: iStock
Accredited Practising Dietitian from Health Victory Nutrition Experts
If you're a tequila lover, you're in luck — Baqleh says it's one of the better options.
"Tequila, made from agave tequilana, is a naturally-occurring sweetener, making it an enjoyable drink alone or mixed with soda water and lime wedges," she explains.
"It doesn't contain the heavy sugar or syrups found in other alcoholic drinks, and it is suitable for those with celiac disease (assuming it's the traditional 100 per cent agave bottle)."
That said, Baqleh is quick to highlight the importance of drinking wisely and keeping under the limit.
Watch: We learn the hard way that wine and milk taste the same with a blocked nose. (Post continues after video.)
Accredited practising dietician, nutrition expert for Trimfit Bodies and owner of Body Fusion
Take a bow vodka, lime and soda.
"Vodka has less energy in it than beer or wine. Adding soda means that you are hydrating at the same time as drinking alcohol. Soda also has the added bonus of no added sugar, which is found in other mixers such as tonic or soft drinks," Brunner explains.
However, not any ol' vodka will do — she always opts for a top quality spirit like Belvedere.
"I always think less is more, as long as you go with really good quality and really enjoy it. Hence the good quality vodka!"
So zesty. So refreshing. Image: iStock
McGrice doesn't drink very often these days, but when she does she'll order a glass of champagne.
"I’m a big believer in ‘quality, not quantity’, so love a glass of something fabulous like Krug or Bollinger," she says.
"I also know that I’m more likely to get a ‘standard serving’ in a glass of champagne than in wine, so I know exactly how much alcohol (and how many kilojoules) I’m getting, so that I don’t drink more than I intended. Some glasses of wine can be more like buckets." (Post continues after gallery.)
Dietitian from Foost
"When out for dinner or lunch I tend to stick to water. I would rather enjoy a dessert than have soft drink, juice or an alcoholic drink as my treat," Wengier admits.
However, she's not averse to the occasional mixer.
"About twice a year, I might have a fruity cocktail while out to dinner with girlfriends. If I am going to have a drink, I choose my favourite drink rather than one I think is healthier," she explains.
"I ask myself, what do I really feel like? I then drink it more slowly to get maximum pleasure. I smell the drink before sipping, swish it around in my mouth and slow it down. I also do one for one with water."
What's your drink of choice, and why?
Featured image: iStock.