The “skinny” on summer cocktails

Summer has arrived! We hope you are enjoying the sunshine, cooling off by crystal blue pools or glistening lakes, all of it complete with a wonderful cocktail in your hand. Summer cocktails have become increasingly popular. They are creative and beautiful, refreshing and taste oh so sweet. Here are some tips to help you drink responsibly this summer, and not derail all the hard work you put into exercising and eating right throughout the year to keep your body healthy.

Be mindful of excess sugar. Summer cocktails are loaded with added sugars, artificial fruit juices, syrups, energy drinks and sugary sodas, which can have several negative health consequences. Sugar increases the caloric content of drinks, which can impact your waistline. Sugar also slows down the absorption of alcohol into the body, which means you might not feel that “buzz” you were looking for after just one or two drinks. This can lead to excess drinking which can harm the body.

TIP: Choose alcoholic drinks in their natural forms: tequila, wine, prosecco, vodka, beer… and make them fun by adding plain soda, lemons, limes, cucumbers, fresh herbs like mint, basil or rosemary and fresh berries.

Never drink on an empty stomach. Food helps slow the absorption of alcohol into the body, therefore minimizing the unwanted effects of consuming too much alcohol. Individuals with diabetes should never drink on an empty stomach as alcohol can cause blood sugar levels to drop dangerously low.

TIP: Drink with your meal or be sure to keep snacks like pretzels, crackers, nuts or veggies and dip nearby.

Water! Water! Water! The intense summer heat can lead to dehydration very quickly. As much as a cold beer or an iced cocktail is refreshing, alcohol is inherently dehydrating, so you are not actually staying hydrated if this is all you are drinking.

TIP: As a rule of thumb, drink a tall glass of water for every alcoholic drink you consume.

Drink responsibly. Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines recommend no more than 2 drinks/day for women with a maximum of 10 drinks/ week, and 3 drinks/day for men with a maximum of 15/ week. Remember though, moderation is key. Know your limits and be responsible. Never operate any vehicle or boat while drinking, and be careful around pools and lakes, particularly if you have children around. Parents are role models for their children, so show them how to drink responsibly.

Cheers to a beautiful, healthy and safe summer!!

Jennifer Abdulezer, P.Dt

Registered Dietician, Cappino