Bathing suit season is here, and with it are ads for frozen drinks to keep you refreshed and for skinny drinks to keep you looking hot in that teeny tiny bikini. But, how skinny will those “skinny drinks” make you? It comes down to numbers, and a look into the psychology of advertising.
First, the numbers, starting with margaritas. 4oz of margarita mix is ~105 calories and 1 oz of tequila contains ~64 calories. Based on the margarita recipe on the Margaritaville Mix site (6oz mix, 2oz tequila), you’ll consume ~295 calories per drink. With the do-it-yourself peach margarita recipe pictured above (1oz triple sec, 1oz lime juice, 2oz peach nectar, 2oz tequila -serves 1), you’ll have something at least as, and dare I say more, delicious, for ~266 calories (without the peach it will be ~230 calories). This gives you a savings of ~30-65 calories. I know what you’re thinking, that’s not very much. A 6 oz serving of a Skinnygirl margarita is ~213 calories based on the nutrition facts on their website. Jose Cuervo Light Margarita Mix is 140 calories per 6oz serving. This is a more significant calorie savings vs the regular mix, and remember, there are lower calorie maragarita recipes, such as this one for ~200 calories. Which margarita is the better choice?
Here is another number example using wine. Wine is ~125 calories per 5oz, Skinnygirl wine has 100 calories per 5oz. Again, not a big difference in calories. Champagne and sparkling white wines also have ~100 calories per 5oz. Where do all of these numbers leave you when deciding what to drink? With advertising.
The biggest key to what you buy day in and day out is advertising. Many times brand loyalty is developed by growing up with a brand, but when you’re ready to make a change, it’s all about what you see. Advertising plays to your insecurities. For women who want to lose weight the words “low”, “skinny” and of course “diet” are all key words when choosing a product. These terms also unconsciously give consumers the license to eat or drink more, thus negating the lower calorie choice in the first place. The calories in the regular and low calorie versions of the drinks above are not that different, so by allowing yourself 2 low calorie drinks instead of 1 regular drink, the increase in total calories consumed may eventually appear on your waistline. At a party you may allow yourself a few extra appetizers or a larger dessert because you made a “good” choice with your drink, thereby adding even more calories. The same rule applies to diet beverages, think about the food you order when it’s paired with a diet soda.
Advertising is also about product sales, by encouraging you to have more glasses of a “skinny” drink because it’s a theoretically better choice, you are also buying more wine and spending more money. By appearing to help you control your weight these brands are also helping themselves. I haven’t tasted the wines or margarita mixes mentioned above, but what I can say is that many times a smaller portion of a full calorie food can be much more satisfying then a larger portion of an imitator.