Think before you drink, consider your health

Kelsey Megard Columnist

 When it comes to the college lifestyle, the presence of alcohol is not a secret. It’s in all the movies and in most real life situations. Have you ever walked around Brookings on a Saturday or Sunday morning? It is more than likely that you will find a few beer cans lying around. Drinking has the potential to be a wonderful social activity but can quickly turn into a drunken mess. One of the last things college students consider when picking up a beer or throwing back a shot are the health and calorie effects that alcohol is going to have. Alcohol is a major contributor to that dreaded college weight gain but it does not have to be. It is possible to drink and be healthy. It’s all about quantity control and knowing what you are putting into your body. 

Beer: Beer has many health benefits such as being filled with phenols (an aromatic organic compound) and antioxidants. The first thing to remember when ordering a beer, go light. The difference between calories isn’t greatly significant but it will help cut carbs. For example, a Budweiser has 145 calories and 10.6g carbs per 12 fluid ounces while Bud Light has 110 calories and 7g carbs per 12 fluid ounces. Some other “healthier” options when considering beer are Beck Premier Light (64 calories), MGD 64 (64 calories), Michelob Ultra (95 calories), Amstel Light (95 calories) and Corona Light (99 calories). I’ve brought up the importance of whole grain options in past articles and it is an importance that can be applied to beers. Stouts, also known as dark beers, are usually brewed with whole grains, which gives them the darker color. These darker beers have vitamin B12, soluble fiber and antioxidants.

Liquor: It’s healthiest on it’s own. I’m not saying toss back constant shots, but a good way to cut calories and carbs is to stop adding in any “mixers.” One ounce of Phillips Vodka, which is about as cheap as it gets, has 64 calories and zero carbs. On it’s own it is not a huge calories or carb concern, but who wants to slowly sip on liquor that tastes like hair spray. Adding in different juices and sodas will make it taste better but will also increase the amount of calories and sugars you consume. One cup of pineapple juice has 132 calories, 25 grams of sugar, and 32 grams of carbohydrates. A can of Coke has 140 calories, 39 grams of sugar, and 39 grams of carbohydrates. Just adding in simple mixers takes a low-calorie beverage to a 200 plus calorie drink. Consider having your drink on the rocks. It will help cut calories and it will make you look B.A. 

Wine: Wine has been all the rage in the news lately. It’s been said that wine promotes longevity of life, reduces heart-attack risks, lowers risk of Type 2 diabetes and lowers risk for colon cancer. Although not all of these benefits have not been 100 percent proven, they are good incentives to switch to wine. So far none of the other alcohol options have this many benefits. Wine is not perfect; it is high in calories and carbs. Barefoot Moscato has 120 calories and 11 grams carbohydrates per 4 fluid ounces. That’s a small glass packed with a lot of calories, a lot of carbs and alcohol. Wine can have many positive effects but from a calorie and carb standpoint it is best to stick to just one or two glasses. 

Drinking responsibly does not only mean avoiding getting stupid drunk. You should always consider what you are putting into your body and know the health benefits and destructions.