Some interesting facts about diet drinking 🙂
Summer holidays and ice-cold margaritas go hand-in-hand. But with traditional margaritas weighing in at 500-plus calories and more than 60 grams of sugar, many summertime sippers are opting for “skinny” margaritas instead.
The trend, popularized by the Skinnygirl Margarita brand that founder Bethenny Frankel reportedly sold to Fortune’s Beam Global Spirits & Wine for $120 million, has resulted in a bevy of other slimmed-down margaritas on store shelves.
It’s not so easy to compare their nutrition stats, though. For one thing, alcohol-containing beverages aren’t required to display the full nutrition facts panel on the label; the lower-calorie margaritas provide calories and carbohydrate content only. Also, the stated serving sizes range from 4 ounces to a mere 1.5 ounces, making it a challenge to evaluate margaritas side-by-side. (And really, who’s drinking just 1.5 ounces of a margarita?)
Finally, while some of the lightened-up margaritas already contain alcohol (and therefore more calories), others are just the low-calorie mixer, and you add the tequila separately, further complicating the nutritional calculation.
When served according to directions on the labels, nearly all of the lightened-up margaritas have 130 to 160 calories per 6 ounces. The biggest differences are the types of sweeteners used — they range from stevia to sucralose (Splenda) to aspartame to agave nectar — and whether they contain artificial colors.
In addition to the lower sugar content of skinny margaritas, a lower alcohol content is another explanation for their low-calorie status. Most lightened-up margaritas range from about 10- to 13-percent alcohol, while traditional margaritas can be as high as 30 percent.
If you don’t mind the way they taste and you love the calorie savings, then a skinny margarita is for you. But if you can’t bear to sip a margarita that’s anything but pure and prepared with the finest ingredients, don’t waste your calories on something you don’t love. Just keep in mind that, like everything, portion control is key. So forget the giant frozen ‘rita and stick with a moderately-sized, freshly-made margarita on the rocks.
For those who want to go the skinny route, check the chart on C-6 for a rundown on 10 slimmed-down margaritas and how they measure up in terms of calories, carbs, sweeteners and price. As for taste, we’ll leave that for you to decide.
If any of these pique your interest but you don’t see it on store shelves, ask the manager to carry it — most will happily oblige.
Ready-to-pour (with alcohol)
$12.99 per liter
All-natural, sweetened with agave nectar
Per 6-ounce serving: 150 calories and 5.7 grams of carbohydrates
MARGARITAVILLE SKINNY MARGARITA
$14.99 per liter
All-natural, sweetened with agave nectar; also contains triple sec
Per 6-ounce serving: 142 calories and 11.9 grams of carbs
CHI CHI’S SKINNY MARGARITA
$9.99 per 1.75 liters
Same nutritional facts as Margaritaville Skinny (above).
JOSE CUERVO LIGHT MARGARITA
$14.99 per liter
Sweetened with sucralose (Splenda); also contains triple sec
Per 6-ounce serving: 136 calories and 10.8 grams of carbs
Mixers (alcohol separate)
$8.49 per liter
All-natural, with real key lime juice, lemon juice, and stevia (requires refrigeration)
Per 6-ounce serving with tequila, per directions on label: 136 calories and 2.7 grams of carbs
DRINK SKINNY MARGARITA MIX
$14 per 0.75 liters
All-natural, with real key lime juice, lemon juice, and stevia
Per 6-ounce serving with tequila, per directions on label: 150 calories and 6 grams of carbs
JORDAN’S SKINNY MIXES: THE ORIGINAL SKINNY MARGARITA
$5.99 per liter
Sweetened with sucralose; also contains red No. 40 and blue No. 1
Per 6-ounce serving with tequila, per directions on label: 159 calories and 1 gram of carbs
MASTER OF MIXES LIGHT MARGARITA
$4.99 per liter
Sweetened with sucralose, also contains modified food starch, yellow No. 5, and blue No. 1
Per 6-ounce serving with tequila, per directions on label: 90 calories and 3.6 grams of carbs
BAJA BOB’S SUGAR-FREE COCKTAIL MIXES: ORIGINAL MARGARITA MIX
$5.99 per liter
Sweetened with sucralose; also contains yellow No. 5 and blue No. 1
Per 6-ounce serving with tequila, per directions on label: 106 calories and 0 grams of carbs
ZILCH MIXERS: SUGAR-FREE MARGARITA MIXERS
$4.99 per 10 packets (mix packet of powder with tequila and water)
Sweetened with aspartame and acesulfame potassium; also contains yellow No. 5
Per 6-ounce serving with tequila, per directions on label: 73 calories and 0 grams of carbs
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Molly Kimball is a registered dietitian in New Orleans. Her column appears every Friday in Living and her nutrition video blog appears every Tuesday on nola.com/health. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.