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Enjoying a cocktail may boost your spirits — but expand your waistline. Here's what to watch out for.

By Delia A. Hammock, M.S., R.D.
Good Housekeeping Magazine Logo

You can enjoy a festive drink this season without committing diet sabotage, but take care – if you're not precise when you pour your drink, it may pack far more calories than you'd planned. Many people consider one cocktail to be a glassful, regardless of how many ounces that glass contains. Dietitians and government sources, on the other hand, use standard sizes to estimate calorie counts – so one woman's single drink may be the equivalent of two or three standard-size ones. This means filling your glass to the brim can add hundreds of calories. In weight-loss terms: You'd have to trek for an hour on the treadmill to kiss those extra ounces of Cosmo goodbye. So decide how many calories you're willing to spend on a cocktail and how much that means you can have. Then, if a friend pours your drink, ask her to stop at that target amount (say, half a glass).

Irish Cream
Should be: 1 1/2 oz.
You pour: 3 oz.
Diet damage: 150 extra calories

Frozen Margarita
Should be: 8 oz.
You pour: 12 oz.
Diet damage: 94 extra calories

Red Wine
Should be: 5 oz.
You pour: 10 oz.
Diet damage: 125 extra calories

Should be: 2 1/2 oz.
You pour: 7 oz.
Diet damage: 270 extra calories

Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri
Should be: 8 oz.
You pour: 12 oz.
Diet damage: 118 extra calories

Should be: 1/2 oz.
You pour: 4.5 oz.
Diet damage: 177 extra calories


Originally published on November 6, 2006


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