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
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.