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Guinness only has 125 calories per 12 oz. w/ 10 carbs And its not as potent a potable as everyone thinks, it seems...
Liquor Industry's New Pitch: How to Drink Alcohol on Diet Date: December 21, 2003 State: All
Summary The Atkins Diet is working over BIG ALCOHOL, but not for long. They have a new strategy. With "low carb" beers, they may be able to actually find a new market all together...and addict a few more in the process.
Liquor Industry's New Pitch: How to Drink Alcohol on Diet Groups Seek Nutrition Labels As Distillers Go Low Carb; The Surprise About Guinness By CHRISTOPHER LAWTON Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
In a world where it's OK for dieters to load up on bacon and hamburgers, what's so bad about a cocktail?
Not much at all, according to the liquor industry. In an effort to cash in on the popularity of trendy low-carb diets like Atkins, makers of vodka, whiskey, and other hard liquors are starting to pitch their products as low-carb and diet-friendly, following the success of a low-carbohydrate campaign this year by Michelob Ultra beer.
In fact, looks can be deceiving and there can be some surprisingly low-carb and low-calorie drinks behind the bar. Guinness, for instance, with its thick consistency and chocolate-cake color, is likely to be one of the first beers carb-conscious drinkers would cut out. In fact, it has only 10 grams of carbs and 125 calories per 12 ounces -- fewer carbs than Budweiser, Coors and Corona. (The reason is, Guinness contains less alcohol.) Other products that look more virtuous, such as the clear-colored malt beverage Smirnoff Ice, are carb-laden. A 12 oz. serving of the trendy brew has 32 grams of carbs and 228 calories, or about the same as a baked apple pie from McDonald's. Same for drinkers of non-alcoholic beers, which can carry more than 14 grams of carbs per 12 ounces.
Tuesday, consumer advocacy groups launched a campaign to urge liquor companies to put more nutritional information on their packaging, saying current labeling rules are haphazard and hard to decipher. Two major groups, the Center for Science in the Public Interest and the National Consumers League, petitioned the federal government to require uniform labeling for liquor much like what's already required on food-product packaging.
The proposed labels would include information on alcohol content, serving sizes, calories and ingredients. Currently, the government has widely varying rules for different products -- low-carb and light beer must list calorie content, for instance, but wine, spirits and regular beers don't have to.
"People are unaware of the calories and ingredients, and don't know how to compare between types of beverages," said George Hacker of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Brewers and distillers including Anheuser-Busch and Diageo said they are still evaluating the proposal.
The low-carb, high-protein dieting trend should be terrific news for liquor makers: Rum, vodka, gin, whisky and tequila contain no carbs or fat at all, and never have. Still, 63% of consumers incorrectly believe wine and beer are lower in carbs than spirits, according to a study by Ipsos Public Affairs.
All of this has triggered a wave of new marketing campaigns. Diageo, which makes Captain Morgan Original Spiced rum and Johnnie Walker, is now urging bartenders to promote holiday-themed drinks such as a Johnnie Walker Red Label and Ginger, a mix of scotch and diet ginger ale that clocks in at 96 calories, about the same as three rice cakes.
WHAT'S IN YOUR DRINK?
Allied Domecq, which makes Kahlua, is also targeting barkeepers and encouraging them to, for example, offer "skinny" White Russians made with skim milk instead of regular milk. It's trying to stir up buzz by sponsoring parties at the offices of Hollywood producers and publicists, as well as some hip hair salons. The drink has roughly half the calories (229) and two-thirds the carbs (18) of a normal White Russian.
Phillips Distilling recently launched a low-carb campaign for its UV vodka and is telling distributors to cross-market it with products like Crystal Light sugar-free lemonade. And Bacardi plans to dust off some of its old advertising from dieting crazes of yore. An 1984 print ad, for example, asks which has more calories: five ounces of white wine, or a five-ounce Bacardi and diet Coke. (Answer: The rum drink, 66 calories, wine, 121.)
Still, drinking on a diet is harder than it looks. A pint of regular beer can have up to 150 calories and 13 grams of carbs. The Atkins diet bans all alcohol, at least during early days, as does the South Beach Diet, which stresses eating the right carbs and the right fats. For dieters who choose to drink, Weight Watchers recommends drinking moderately, which is defined as one drink per day for women and two drinks for men.
Liquors become diet busters because they're often served with sweet juices and sugar. A simple pina colada can rack up 27 grams of carbs and 236 calories per a typical 9 oz. serving, of which only 2 oz. is usually alcohol. Plus, drinking can weaken inhibitions, making people likely to indulge in wild behavior such as eating pasta.
Avoiding high-calorie mixers can make a big difference. Subbing Diet Coke in a rum and Coke cuts the calories to 66 from 209 and the carbs to nearly zero from 21 grams. Club soda instead of regular soda will save someone who drinks three to four a week, thousands of calories a month.
Jayde Feinstein, a 22-year-old office manager in Los Angeles, dilutes the cranberry juice in her cranberry and vodka with a little water to limit her sugar and carbs. She also dilutes red wine with sparkling water to make sparkling wine. "It's a brilliant way to minimize the carbs, but still get the same flavor you desire."
Simple moderation is the best approach, says Stacey Snelling, a professor and registered dietitian for American University in Washington, D.C. When students ask if they can freely drink low-carb beer without getting a beer belly, she warns that switching to a low-carb beer from most light beers saves just 10 calories. "There are still alcohol calories in low-carb beer, and alcohol calories are stored as fat," she says.
It's tough to make an argument that a bar is a good place to maintain a diet. Consider the final pitfall: Mindlessly grazing the bar snacks. Three handfuls of mixed nuts can silently harbor a whopping 500 calories, or fully a quarter of the Food and Drug Administration's guidelines for average daily requirement.
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