It's all about what—and how much—brewski you're knocking back. Drink a Bud Light Straw-Ber-Rita (beer + margarita) and you'll get 198 calories for a tiny 8 ounces, double the amount in the same amount of soda. Even if you're drinking traditional beers, they tend to contain more calories and carbs compared to wine and spirits, says Clerkin. The higher alcohol content of beer, the more calories, too. With rising alcohol content—especially in some craft brews (double IPAs, we're looking at you)—some contain 300-plus calories in one 12-ounce bottle.

Make over your drink: First order of business—make sure you stick to the recommended one alcoholic drink per day for women, and two for men. Now that that's out of the way, if you like beer, you can opt for light versions to save half the carbs and 50 calories per brew, says Clerkin. Other options: Guinness (126 calories) or Sierra Nevada Nooner Pilsner (161 calories) and Summerfest (158 calories). If you want something fruity, opt for a radler, a mix of beer and fruit soda, which keeps alcohol content low. A Stiegl-Radler Grapefruit is 125 calories per 12-ounce bottle.

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Alcohol appears to reduce levels of a protective respiratory gas, study finds

HealthDay News
August 06, 2016

FRIDAY, Aug. 5, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Heavy drinking may increase the risk of lung problems, a new study suggests.

"Alcohol appears to disrupt the healthy balance in the lung," said study lead author Dr. Majid Afshar, of Loyola University Chicago. He is an assistant professor in the division of pulmonary and critical care medicine and department of public health sciences.

Afshar's team analyzed data from more than 12,000 American adults. The researchers found that heavy drinkers (more than one drink a day for women and more than two drinks a day for men) and people who binge-drink at least once a month had less nitric oxide in their exhaled breath than non-drinkers. Binge-drinking is consuming four or more drinks per occasion for women and five or more drinks for men.

Also, the researchers found that the more alcohol heavy drinkers consumed, the lower the level of nitric oxide.

Nitric oxide helps protect the lungs against certain types of harmful bacteria, the researchers explained. The study is the first to find a link between excessive drinking and nitric oxide, according to the researchers.

The findings were published recently in the journal Chest.

In asthma patients, nitric oxide levels in exhaled breath give a good indication of how well their medication is working. Excessive drinking might complicate the results of such tests, the researchers said.

"Lung doctors may need to take this into consideration," Afshar said in a university news release. He added that further research is needed to learn more about the interaction between alcohol and nitric oxide in the airways.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has more about alcohol and health.