Are you trying to watch your sugar intake but still enjoy a drink or two?
It can be tricky to navigate the world of alcohol and its hidden sugar content. While some types of alcohol are low in sugar, others can pack a surprising amount of sweetness.
In this article, we’ll explore which types of alcohol have the most sugar and how to make smarter choices when it comes to mixing drinks.
So grab a drink (preferably one with low sugar!) and read on to learn more.
What Alcohol Has Most Sugar?
When it comes to alcohol, some types are higher in sugar than others. Mixed drinks and cocktails tend to have the most sugar content, with Piña colada being a prime example. Just 100 grams of Piña colada contains about 22 grams of sugar. This is due to the high-calorie ingredients like coconut cream, coconut milk, and pineapple juice that are commonly used in these types of drinks.
Liquors such as creme de menthe can also contain a surprising amount of sugar. A 1.5-ounce shot of creme de menthe contains a whopping 21 grams of sugar. Liqueurs like Sambuca and Amaretto can also contain upwards of 15 grams of carbs per shot.
On the other hand, spirits like gin, rum, tequila, vodka, and whiskey typically do not contain any added sugars. These liquors are highly distilled and should not contain sugars. However, it’s important to note that the consideration with spirits is more on what they are mixed with. Mixers like orange juice, Coca-Cola, and tonic water can contain a lot of sugar.
White wine contains significantly more sugar than any other type of alcohol. A 5-ounce glass of red or white wine contains about 1 gram of sugar, which comes from the grapes rather than from added sugar.
Understanding Sugar In Alcohol
Sugar is a type of carbohydrate that is converted into energy by the body. When it comes to alcohol, some types contain more sugar than others. It’s important to note that most types of alcohol do not contain added sugars. However, mixed drinks and cocktails tend to have the highest sugar content due to the ingredients used in them.
It’s also important to pay attention to what you mix your spirits with. Juices like orange juice and cranberry juice can contain a lot of sugar, even in small servings. Even diet mixers can present problems, as bartenders may accidentally serve full sugar versions instead.
When it comes to wine, white wine contains significantly more sugar than red wine or other types of alcohol. However, the sugar in wine comes from the grapes rather than added sugars.
High-Sugar Alcoholic Beverages To Avoid
If you’re looking to watch your sugar intake, it’s best to avoid high-sugar alcoholic beverages. Traditional cocktails like margaritas, piña coladas, and daiquiris are some of the worst offenders, with a single serving packing 35-44 grams of carbs. Dessert wines like vermouth, port, and sherry are also high in carbs and sugar. Cream liqueurs like Bailey’s Irish Cream and Kahlua provide around 13 grams of carbs per 2 ounces, with 12 of those grams coming from sugar.
It’s important to be mindful of your blood sugar levels when drinking alcohol. Avoid drinking on an empty stomach and monitor your blood sugar regularly before, during, and after drinking. It’s also best to avoid sugary mixers like fruit juice, regular soda, milk, or ice cream when ordering cocktails. Instead, opt for mixed drinks made with diet soda or tonic water.
Low-Sugar Alternatives For Your Favorite Cocktails
If you’re looking for low-sugar alternatives to your favorite cocktails, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, it’s important to choose spirits that don’t contain added sugars, such as gin, rum, tequila, vodka, and whiskey. Once you have your base spirit, you can experiment with different mixers to create a delicious and low-sugar cocktail.
One of the easiest ways to reduce the sugar content of your cocktails is to use sparkling water or soda water as a mixer. This is a great option for drinks like gin and tonic or vodka soda. You can also add a squeeze of fresh citrus juice for flavor without adding sugar.
Another option is to use sugar-free or low-sugar mixers. For example, you can use diet soda or sugar-free tonic water instead of regular soda or tonic water. You can also use sugar-free syrups or bitters to add flavor to your cocktails.
If you’re looking for a sweet cocktail without all the added sugar, try using fresh fruit as a natural sweetener. Muddle fresh berries or citrus fruits with your base spirit and top with soda water for a refreshing and low-sugar drink.
Finally, consider using herbs and spices to add flavor to your cocktails without adding sugar. Try adding a sprig of rosemary or thyme to your gin and tonic, or sprinkle some cinnamon on top of your whiskey sour.
With a little creativity and experimentation, it’s easy to create delicious and low-sugar cocktails that won’t sabotage your health goals. Just remember to choose spirits that don’t contain added sugars and opt for low-sugar mixers whenever possible.
Tips For Making Healthier Drink Choices
If you’re looking to make healthier drink choices, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, opt for clear liquors like vodka and gin, which have the fewest calories and the least amount of sugar. These spirits are easier for our bodies to metabolize and may result in less intense hangovers for some people.
Second, be mindful of what’s in your mixer or cocktail. Mixers, syrups, sodas, and other additions can quickly pile on the sugar and calories. Instead, try mixing your liquor with club soda or fresh-squeezed citrus juice for a lower sugar option.
Third, consider choosing red wine over white wine. Red wine contains fewer sugars than white wine and is full of healthy antioxidants.
Finally, remember to drink in moderation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that men have no more than 2 drinks a day, and women have no more than 1 drink a day. It’s best not to overdo it when it comes to alcohol and stick to two drinks or less a day.
Conclusion: Enjoying Alcohol In Moderation With Sugar Awareness
While it’s important to be aware of the sugar content in alcoholic drinks, it’s also important to remember that moderate drinking can be a part of a healthy lifestyle for some people. However, moderation looks different for everyone and it’s important to weigh the risks and benefits before consuming alcohol. It’s recommended that women have no more than one standard drink per day and men have no more than two. Additionally, being mindful of what you are mixing your liquor with can make a big difference in sugar intake. Opting for mixers like soda water or fresh citrus juice instead of sugary sodas or pre-made mixers can significantly reduce your sugar intake. As always, it’s important to make informed decisions about your alcohol consumption and to listen to your body’s signals if you feel like you may be overdoing it.