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.