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Sip Smarter: Our Guide to Healthy Drinks

Your favorite thirst quencher may be brimming with more calories than an ice cream cone. Here's how to drink and still shrink.
wine Happier Hour

We're a nation that loves to celebrate with a drink; we consume more than 500 million gallons of wine, beer, and spirits a year. Research shows that we would imbibe even more if liquor contained functional ingredients, such as antioxidants, enzymes, and vitamins. "There's a growing number of people who want to sip a cocktail and get health benefits at the same time," Taub-Dix says. We're also watching our waistlines and choosing skinnier drinks. Seven of the 10 top-selling domestic beers are light beers. And customers keep asking for more: Budweiser just launched a new brew called Select 55. With only 55 calories per 12-ounce bottle, it's the lowest-calorie beer on the market. Here's a reason to toast: Women who drink one to two servings of wine, beer, or liquor a day tend to gain less weight over time than teetotalers, according to researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Some studies indicate that regularly drinking a small amount of alcohol may reduce our appetite.

Sip Tip: Moderation is key. While too much alcohol can hurt your health, experts say that a little bit daily may boost it. Stick to no more than two 5-ounce glasses of wine, 12-ounce bottles of beer, or 1-1/2-ounce glasses of liquor a day.