By Dr Peter Kadile
Every year, my patients use the holiday season as an excuse or “free pass” not to watch their diet so they can enjoy the Christmas parties, cookies, candy and sweets that are a mainstay of December. When January comes, it’s not unusual for patients to see me to “get back in shape” because they overdid it during the holidays. I just wanted to give some dietary information about a few holiday treats so you know what you may be getting into at the next holiday party.
This holiday classic may contain a lot of fruit, but it also has plenty of sugar, butter, corn syrup and sometimes alcohol such as rum. A slice of fruitcake may contain up to 410 calories and 13 grams of fat.
The Yule log associated with dessert is mainly composed of chocolate, heavy cream, butter and sponge cake. Some recipes may also include pecans and coconut. A grocery bought cake mix may contain up to 420 calories and 47 grams of sugar!
Traditional eggnog recipes consist of milk, sugar, raw eggs, and spices, usually nutmeg. Cream or gelatin may be added along with alcohol such as bourbon. One cup of eggnog can have up to 343 calories and 21 grams of sugar. The store bought eggnog in a carton will usually contain artificial sweeteners and preservatives.
This party favorite is a mixed drink made of liquor and water with sugar and spices, served hot. The liquor can be bourbon, brandy, rum or whiskey. Depending on the type of alcohol used and spices, an eight ounce serving may be 150-180 calories.
The gingerbread man always makes an appearance at Christmas parties. The amount of calories in a cookie is dependent on its size, but the gingerbread cookie is very calorie dense with about 114 calories per ounce. The gingerbread man may contain up to 22 grams of sugar!
I certainly don’t want to put a damper on your holiday season by discussing the nutritional value of some Christmas treats. Just remember, everything in moderation. A little bit of dietary discipline this month may mean less weight that needs to come off in January. Enjoy! I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!