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How to cut your boozy calories; Dry January may be over, but if you're trying to be healthy, it's worth swotting up on the numbers when it comes to alcohol. SAM WYLIEHARRIS caloriecounts her drinks.

WE ALL know that moderation is key when it comes to booze, but if you look forward to a refreshing G&T or glass of white wine at the end of the day, swapping your tonic for "diet tonic" or your Chardonnay for a glass of Riesling can save on calories.

According to Alcohol Concern (www.alcoholconcern.org.uk), on average, alcohol makes up 10% of the calorie intake for adults who drink.

It's easy to forget that liquids can be calorific, and therefore could contribute to weight gain.

If you don't want to abstain completely, however, there are things you can do to make your tipple more waistline-friendly.

Drinks experts at Asda suggest, if you reduce your intake of calorific mixers, or check the sweetness of your Champagne, you can still enjoy the social side of drinking without necessarily piling on the pounds.

They recommend choosing Champagne, for instance, which is a great low-calorie option, and a flute acts as a good portion controller.

Make sure you know what you're drinking and look out for "Brut" on the label, Asda's guide adds, which indicates that it's a dry wine with very little added sugar.

They also suggest avoiding "sec" or "demi sec", which can contain four times as much sugar!

Champagne brut contains 0-12g of sugar per litre, compared to Champagne demi sec's 32-50g of sugar per litre.

"Many people often dismiss drinks when they're trying to keep a check on their calorie intake," says Rob Hobson, head of nutrition at Healthspan (healthspan.co.uk).

"If you drink anything other than water, you'll be surprised how quickly the calories can tally up.

"There are lots of ways to turn otherwise calorific drinks into something a lot less fattening with a few helpful 'drink swaps'.

"A number of these swaps also help to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet, too much of which can be detrimental to health and encourage weight gain, which is a risk | Rob Hobson, head of nutrition at Healthspan factor for conditions such as heart disease," adds Rob.

Here are five simple switches: GIN O'CLOCK OPTING for diet tonic water with your gin removes 75 calories per serving.

A MEASURED RESPONSE WHEN pouring spirits at home, always use a proper measure. If you free-pour, those extra units and calories will quickly add up. A standard measure is 25ml and will help you keep track of your calorie and alcohol intake. Going for a single shot, instead of a double, knocks off 80 calories per serving.

SPRITZ IT WATERING down your (slightly smaller) white wine with sparkling water gets rid of around 50 calories per serving.

CRAFTY COCKTAILS MANY cocktails made with sugar syrups can add up to 100 calories a drink, and cream-based drinks will see your calorie intake skyrocket. Steer clear of calorific pina coladas, Sex on the Beach and Long Island ice teas. Mix up a martini or cosmopolitan instead, for a low-calorie cocktail with equal sophistication. Pina coladas contain up to 644 calories, compared to around 150 in a cosmo.

SURPRISING STOUT BEER is not ideal if you're watching your weight, as it's high in carbohydrates, hence the dreaded beer belly.

However, you may be surprised to hear that Guinness is actually a good option over many other beers, and has fewer calories than a glass of orange juice.

Often misconstrued as a heavy beverage, it tends to contain less carbs, as well as being lower in calories, than other varieties: 125, compared to, for example, 166 in a Heineken and 200 in a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

CAPTION(S):

| Rob Hobson, head of nutrition at Healthspan

| Simple swaps could save you a bunch of calories from alcoholic drinks
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 23, 2016
Words:618
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