I guess it was a “sugar hangover.”

For a brief period just after high school, my drink of choice as a Kahlua mudslide. I was young and silly, and I knew nothing, Jon Snow. I hadn’t a clue about nutrition, health and fitness. I only knew that my seashell necklace was super cool.

After a night of too many mudslides, I’d wake up with a crippling headache. Like the kind of headache that makes you want to drill a hole in your head to make it hurt less.

This was no ordinary hangover. This was something different. I’m almost certain it was sugar overload. Check this out:

Kahlua mudslide, 200 ml: 480 calories, 57 g sugar

To put those astronomical figures into perspective, consider that a 355 ml can of Coke has about 140 calories and 35 g of sugar.

When I did an InBody scan recently, it said my basal metabolic rate was 2,063 calories.

So, needless to say, drinking more than 2,000 calories of sugar in a few hours was not ideal.

Over the years, I learned more about nutrition and grew out of my frosted-tips phase. Training become more important, and I started to think about what I put in my body. Some research suggested that I could significantly reduce calories and improve fitness by simply avoiding sugary beverages.

Drinking less or no alcohol is always better for health, of course, but for the sake of this article, let’s assume you are going to have a drink. Here’s what you do:

– Avoid all complicated mixed drinks. The fewer ingredients the better.

– Avoid all sugary mixes, both sodas and juices.

– Stick to low-calorie spirits such as gin and vodka, either on the rocks or with water, or consider mixing with sparkling water and a hint of lemon or lime.

– Limit intake. This is a good idea, period. Alcohol is empty calories. Try to stick to one or two drinks on special nights. Definitely avoid evenings of excess.

Here’s a favourite beverage that won’t derail your diet if you plan ahead to accommodate the calories here:

Gin Rickey

1-1.5 oz. gin

half a lime

sparkling water

Squeeze the lime into a highball glass and chuck the whole thing inside. Fill with ice. Pour in 1-1.5 oz. gin, then top with sparkling water.

The gin rickey is a great option that won’t ruin your nutrition. You’re looking at about 110 calories from the gin (1.5 oz.) and maybe 3 calories from the lime. Drink it slowly and savor it as the ice melts. You can nurse one of these for quite a while. And you can also pour the next one without the gin for a refreshing mocktail.

The best advice: Plan ahead to accommodate the calories from alcohol in your diet, avoid sugary drinks, limit intake, and don’t dress like I dressed when I was 20.

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