The Drinks Most (and Least) Likely to Give You a Beer Gut and Man Boobs
The internet was rocked a couple years ago when Vice Munchies scared us all into believing the phytoestrogen-laden hops in our craft beer were giving us man boobs. Most of us didn't need to click on the bait to know drinking was already responsible for our growing heft. Still, those countless late nights at the bar fueled by loaded nachos and bleu cheese-dunked buffalo wings—not to mention a total lack of push-ups in our daily lives—made controlling for hops and hops alone a near impossibility.
So forget asking loopy herbalists if phytoestrogen is making you so damn busty. Just ask me. As a glutton, a heavy drinker, and a narcissist, I've spent far too much time figuring out how to (try to) remain trim without cutting out any booze. Here are my non-scientific but very well-tested thoughts on what should be a part of your drinking diet and what probably shouldn't.
Lite on calories, lite on flavor, litest on alcohol. Often served in "buckets" or "pitchers." Next thing you know, you've downed a good dozen, you're barely buzzed, and you have so much fizzy swill inside you, your belly looks an inflated whoopie cushion. It does not taste great, nor is it less filling, which is probably why those commercials aren't on the air any more. And if you're under 30, you have no idea what I'm talking about.
It has so many more calories than you even realize. Like a Dairy Queen Blizzard-level of calories in each "proper" glassware serving. Luckily, you're allowed to spend much of your drinking time simply smelling craft beer or thoroughly discussing it, which acts as a decent governor against over-consumption and potential weight gain.
Most people only order fancy cocktails so they can do a photo shoot with the drink before loading it up on Instagram to solicit a whole lotta likes from strangers. Even if you drink these Boulevardiers or Clover Clubs, your next calorie-packed round always takes a good thirty minutes from the time you order it to the time the bartender does one final flourish with an orange swath and actually presents it to you.
It's distilled corn juice, which is kind of like drinking your veggies. Furthermore, bourbon works well neat, with a splash of water, or, at most, a single ice cube. Does ice have calories? Nope. Thus, bourbon = lo-cal.
Many single malts are so intense that once someone uncorks a bottle you can smell its smokiness from across the room. Good. Smell isn't caloric. Stick with the peat-heavy Islay region for extra weight loss.
Good for you.
Wait... Maybe this is the one that is good for you. Shit. Okay, I know one color of wine is good and lo-cal, the other terrible and totally packed with sugar. Or maybe they both are. Then again, insufferable wine connoisseurs are usually trim. Moving on...
Beloved by men who wear tank tops to nightclubs. And why not? It's like drinking a Mexican cactus. How can that be bad for your six-pack abs? Actually, it's surprisingly awful because any time you drink tequila, a never-ending bowl of tortilla chips somehow magically appears in front of you.
Flavorless, odorless, and low in calories, it will completely sap you of all your interesting-person qualities. Now, you're the skinny, good-looking bore sipping a vodka soda with a twist. Actually, I could live with that.
A much better choice of clear spirit. It's like flavored vodka except the flavors are juniper and other oddball botanicals instead of "Citron," "Ohranj," and birthday cake. Are botanicals caloric? Have you ever had a juniper birthday cake? But avoid adding tonic water, which seems healthy but somehow has more calories than a Mountain Dew Baja Blast.
Vastly underrated as a diet libation. Gluten-free? Check. Low-carb? Uh, probably. Cool bars never have any available, so you'll be forced to drink a Coke Zero instead? Bingo.
Long a staple of medieval fairs and LARPing competitions where the average imbiber packs a BMI double their age. But don't think it's the mead causing that! Like cider, mead is typically gluten-free. It's alcoholic honey! And that's, like, kinda healthy.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.