Diet Busters: 10 High-Calorie Holiday Drinks

Watch out for these diet-destroying beverages this holiday season.

By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD/LD

Holiday celebrations can translate into lots of extra calories from drinks you don't normally consume, including the obligatory eggnog as well as other alcoholic and non-alcoholic favorites. And of course, there's the array of festive holiday concoctions found at coffee chains across America, including peppermint mochas and pumpkin spice lattes.

The most popular holiday drink at Starbucks is a perfect example. According to Alisa Martinez, communications manager for Starbucks Coffee Co., the No. 1 holiday drink at Starbucks in November and December is the peppermint mocha. A regular 16-ounce serving with all the trimmings comes to 470 calories and 22 grams of fat (including 13 grams of saturated fat). But the news isn't all bad for Starbucks fans: Make it a 12-ounce peppermint mocha and order it with nonfat milk and no whipped cream, and you're down to 220 calories and 2 grams of fat (none of which are saturated).

The peppermint mocha is by no means the only contender for the high-calorie holiday drink title. There are several other holiday drinks that are so high in calories and/or fat, they should either be avoided or considered your big dessert for the day. Some are actually higher in calories and fat than premium ice cream!

Here are 10 of the highest-calorie drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, that you're likely to come across this holiday season.

1. Peppermint Mocha (coffeehouse), made with whole milk and whipped cream
Per 16-ounce serving:
470 calories
61 g carbohydrate
22 g fat
13 g saturated fat
80 mg cholesterol

2. Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino (coffeehouse), made with pumpkin spice flavors, milk, ice, and whipped cream.
Per 16-ounce serving:
470 calories
74 g carbohydrate
13 g fat
7 g saturated fat
50 mg cholesterol

3. Hot Buttered Rum, made with butter, brown sugar, spices, whipped cream, and rum.
Per serving:
418 calories
35 g carbohydrate
17 g fat
11 g saturated fat
51 mg cholesterol

4. Pumpkin Spice Latte (coffeehouse), made with pumpkin spice flavors, espresso, steamed milk, and whipped cream.
Per 16-ounce serving:
410 calories
51 g carbohydrate
17 g fat
10 g saturated fat
55 mg cholesterol

5. Margarita, made with limeade, tequila, triple sec, and ice.
Per serving (about 9 ounces, not including ice):
408 calories
25 g carbohydrate
0 g fat
0 g saturated fat
0 mg cholesterol

6. White Russian, made with vodka, coffee liqueur, and 1 1/2 ounces liquid light whipping cream.
Per serving:
355 calories (or 286 if you use half-and-half instead of whipping cream)
14 g carbohydrate
13 g fat (5 if using half-and-half)
8 g saturated fat (3 if using half-and-half)
47 mg cholesterol (16 with half-and-half)

7. Eggnog (regular store-bought, not including any added liquor)
Per 1-cup serving:
350 calories
34 g carbohydrate
19 g fat
11 g saturated fat
149 mg cholesterol

8. Hot Chocolate (coffeehouse), made with steamed milk, mocha syrup, vanilla syrup, and whipped cream)
Per 12-ounce serving:
320 calories
38 g carbohydrate
16 g fat
9 g saturated fat
50 mg cholesterol

9. Mud Slide, made with vodka, Kahlua, Bailey's Irish cream, and half-and-half.
Per 4-ounce serving:
295 calories
20 g carbohydrate
8 g fat
5 g saturated fat
15 mg cholesterol

10. Brandy Alexander, made with brandy, dark creme de cacao, and half-and-half.
Per 4-ounce serving:
246 calories
8 g carbohydrate
9 g fat
6 g saturated fat
20 mg cholesterol

A Few More Favorite Holiday Drinks

Champagne is the classic toast at many holiday parties, and martinis are another popular standby. But Matt Raftree, beverage and bakery operations manager for Cheesecake Factory Inc., says the Mojito is, across the board, their top bar beverage.

While these aren't the highest-calorie drinks around, it's still essential to watch your portions. One drink won't break the 200-calorie mark, but two or three will put you quickly in the 360- to 540-calorie range.

Here's the rundown:

Martini
Per typical serving (2 1/2 ounces gin, 1/2 ounce vermouth, 1 cup ice, and 1 green olive):
185 calories
1 g carbohydrate
0.5 g fat
0 g saturated fat
0 mg cholesterol



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