Not all alcoholic drinks are created equal — especially in terms of their calorie content.<br><br> MyHealthNewsDaily asked Ruth Frechman, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, to weigh in on the nutritional values of five drinks commonly sipped when the temperatures dip.
<i>What's in it?</i><br><br> Hot chocolate mix or chocolate bits, milk and spirits such as Irish cream or hazelnut liqueur<br><br> <i>Is it healthy?</i><br><br> "Hot chocolate is a lot of sugar. And depending [on] what type of milk it's made with — water, whole milk — that's a lot of fat calories," Frechman said. Processed hot chocolate is generally really <a href="http://www.myhealthnewsdaily.com/254-milkshake-like-cocaine-for-overeaters.html">high in sugar</a>. "If you go to one of the chain coffee stores, [they serve] full-loaded hot chocolate. It's lot of calories, even before you add the alcohol."
<i>What's in it?</i><br><br> Rum, apple cider<br><br> <i>Is it healthy?</i><br><br> "If you're talking healthy, you have some health benefits from apple cider, since there are antioxidants in apple cider. But if you're <a href="http://www.myhealthnewsdaily.com/394-1-in-3-americans-will-have-diabetes-by-2050.html">diabetic</a> , it has a lot of sugar," Frechman said.<br><br> However, mixing rum with cideris healthier than mixing it with soda, she said. "Just a straight distilled liquor — that's about 100 calories per shot — and then the apple cider, it wouldn't be too bad as far as a drink goes."
<i>What's in it?</i><br><br> Whiskey or brandy, hot water, honey, lemon and cloves<br><br> <i>Is it healthy?</i><br><br> "A hot toddy wouldn't be too bad, since the [mix-ins] don't contain that many calories," Frechman said.
<i>What's in it?</i><br><br> Champagne and juice<br><br> <i>Is it healthy?</i><br><br> "If you mix the champagne with orange <a href="http://www.myhealthnewsdaily.com/490-fructose-increases-women-gout-risk-101110.html">juice</a>, you're getting vitamin C and nutrients there. But you would just double the calories [of the juice] because of the calories from the alcohol," Frechman said.
<i>What's in it?</i><br><br> Whiskey, coffee, sugar and heavy cream.<br><br> <i>Is it healthy?</i><br><br> "When you order those in a bar, it would come with full cream , which has a lot of fat calories," Frechman said.<br><br> There are about 20 calories in a tablespoon of half-and-half, she said. "If you're making an Irish coffee, and you're pouring in the cream, that can be 100 calories just from the cream. And that's saturated fat, not the good kind of fat." And stirring in a packet of sugar adds another 10 calories.<br><br> "So something like that, you'd want to watch the fat calories and the type of calories," she said.<br><br> <b>Pass it on</b>: Think of the nutritional components in your favorite wintry drink before you take a sip.<br><br> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.myhealthnewsdaily.com/727-more-healthful-new-years-eve-drinks.html">3 Ways to Make Your New Year's Eve Drinks Healthier</a> <li><a href="http://www.myhealthnewsdaily.com/682-red-wine-cranberries-good-for-teeth.html">Cheers! Red Wine, Cranberries Are Good For Your Teeth</a> <li><a href="http://www.livescience.com/culture/oktoberfest-ten-intoxicating-beer-facts-101102.html">Raise Your Glass: 10 Intoxicating Beer Facts</a> </ul> Follow MyHealthNewsDaily staff writer Amanda Chan on Twitter <a href="http://www.twitter.com/amandalchan">@AmandaLChan</a>.