San Antonio Express-News - - MYSA -

still over­weight, Chao said.

Peo­ple in the study were 45 to 76 years old and less likely to drink than the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion. At the be­gin­ning

of the study, 38 per­cent said they had not had a drink in the past year. (Na­tion­ally, about 70 per­cent of Amer­i­cans say they drink at least once a year.) Only 1.7 per­cent of study par­tic­i­pants said they were heavy drinkers.

One lim­i­ta­tion of the

study, Chao said, is that peo­ple tend to un­der­es­ti­mate their drink­ing.

Drink­ing may un­der­cut di­ets in sev­eral ways, Chao said. One is that al­co­holic drinks tend to be ex­tra calo­ries. Peo­ple add them to meals rather than, say, sub­sti­tut­ing them for a

side dish.

The calo­ries can be sub­stan­tial. Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Health, 12 ounces of reg­u­lar beer has 153 calo­ries. Craft beer, which of­ten has higher al­co­hol con­tent, can have more.

As for spir­its, 1.5 ounces

of gin, rum, vodka, whiskey or tequila has 97 calo­ries.

Five ounces of white wine has 121 calo­ries. Red has 125 calo­ries.

Sweet mixed drinks are where the calo­ries can soar. A 4.4-ounce mar­garita has 168 calo­ries, and a 9.9-ounce pina co­lada has 490 calo­ries. But keep in mind that many restau­rant drinks are big­ger than this.

Be­yond the calo­ries, stud­ies have shown that peo­ple tend to eat more and make poorer choices about food when they’re drink­ing.

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