Holiday weight gain may be from too many liquid calories

Maybe the holiday weight gain that’s attributed to special, oversized holiday meals and sweets is misplaced. Could be the problem isn’t what we’re eating, it’s what we’re drinking!

Yup, all that holiday cheer has to go somewhere and if we’re not careful, that place is, among other places on our bodies, right on our butts. No wonder some drinks are fondly referred to “fat a** in a glass!”


Most savvy watchers of their weight are aware of the dangers alcohol present to their diets. The calories in alcohol are metabolized differently. It’s not just the calories in alcohol that can cause weight gain, it’s the attitude that we get when we imbibe.

Alcohol is known to create a false sense of well-being. We we lose inhibitions and are more likely to do things we wouldn’t do if we weren’t under its influence. We forget about weight loss goals, at least temporarily.

We may say, “yes” not only to another (and maybe another and another…) drink, but we also may say “yes” to a lot of food even though we’ve already eaten more than enough. Alcohol isn’t recognized as a drink that enhances good judgment.

Sweet alcoholic holiday drinks made with whole milk and cream are high in calories and easy to drink – too easy! They go down fast and are so good it’s hard not to say, “yes,” when we’re offered another!


  • 6 oz. Eggnog with Rum – 305 Calories ( 1 oz. Rum)
  • 6 oz. Mud Slide – 556 Calories (1.5 oz. Vodka, 1.5 oz. Kahlua, 1.5 oz. Bailey’s Irish Cream, 1.5 oz. Half-and-Half)
  • 6 oz. Hot Buttered Rum – 418 Calories ( 1.5 oz. Rum butter, brown sugar, spices, whipped cream)
Smarter holiday drinking would be to choose one (or at most) two drinks from this list:
  • 6 oz. Rum and Diet Coke – 65 Calories (1 oz. Rum, 5 oz. Diet Coke)
  • 6 oz. Vodka and Soda – 65 Calories (1 oz. Vodka, 5 oz. Soda Water)
  • 10 oz. Bloody Mary – 180 Calories (2 oz. Vodka,8 oz. tomato juice, Dash of Tabasco and pepper)
  • 7.5 oz. Gin & Diet Tonic – 115 Calories (1.5 oz. Gin, 6 oz. Diet Tonic)
  • 12 oz. Guinness Draught – 126 Calories
  • 12 oz. Bud Light – 110 Calories
  • 4 oz. Cabernet Sauvignon – 90 Calories
  • 4 oz. Chardonnay – 90 Calories
  • 4 oz Dry Champagne – 105 Calories

As already noted, however, the savvy calorie-counters are aware of the calories and downfalls of holiday alcohol, but they may think a holiday coffee or tea drink is a good choice in lieu of booze. What a mistake!

Check out these beverages served at your favorite coffee shop or ice cream chain restaurants:
  1. Starbucks Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate (Grande size, whole milk, whipped cream).  This drink has a whopping 480 calories and 20 grams fat.  Forget about your low-carb diet; this drink has 70 grams of carbs.
  2. Starbucks Peppermint Hot Chocolate (Grande size, whole milk, whipped cream). Low-fat dieters, beware. Packed with 470 calories and 20 grams fat, this drink is not for the faint of heart.
  3. Starbucks Eggnog Latte (Grande size, whole milk). The coffee version of this classic holiday treat isn’t so innocent with 470 calories and 22 grams fat.
  4. Starbucks Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha (Grande size, whole milk, whipped cream). The worst offender from Starbucks on our list, this 550-calorie drink is a little less than a third of your daily recommended caloric intake.  The 78 grams of carbohydrates don’t help, either.
  5. Dunkin’ Donuts Vanilla Bean Coolatta (medium size). This year-round staple is clogged with 630 calories and a ghastly 130 grams of sugar.
  6. Dunkin’ Donuts Gingerbread Latte (large, whole milk). You’d be better off eating a gingerbread cookie than one of these drinks, which boast 440 calories and 68 grams of sugar.
  7. Dunkin’ Donuts Mint Hot Chocolate (large). This cold weather drink is loaded with 420 calories and 13 grams of fat.
  8. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf White Chocolate Latte (16-ounce medium size). With 460 calories and 11 grams of saturated fat, this drink has more saturated fat than a Big Mac.
  9. Cold Stone Creamery Rich Mocha Latte (medium size). This drink is rich in 410 calories and 54 grams of sugar.
  10. Cold Stone Creamery Cream de Menthe™ Shake (medium size). The fattiest drink on our list, this shake has 1,250 calories, 77 grams of fat and 123 grams of sugar.

Source: ABC News Top Ten Fattiest Holiday Drinks


Whether it’s with or without liquor pay attention to what and how much you’re drinking. Liquid calories are recognized by the body in the same way as solid foods. Be careful not to add 500-1000 calories to your day without even knowing it during the holidays.


Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.