5 Best Types of Alcohol for Weight Loss
1. Red Wine (105 Calories per 5 oz Serving)
Enjoying a glass of red wine with dinner has long been considered a “healthy” move because of its purported heart-healthy benefits. According to Harvard Health Publishing, the idea can be traced back to the 1980s. And though there’s never been a long-term randomized trial that proved some of these claims, a dry red wine (like a cabernet sauvignon or Syrah) is one of the lower-calorie adult beverages you can reach for, Zanini says. A 5-ounce (oz) glass of red wine has about 105 calories, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
2. Light Beer (96 to 100 Calories per 12 oz Serving)
If you’re in the mood for beer, go light. It’s another low-calorie option, Zanini says. You’ll save about 40 to 55 calories per 12 oz serving, compared with a regular beer, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
3. Dry Vermouth (105 Calories per 3 oz Serving)
A 3 oz serving of dry vermouth contains 105 calories, according to MedlinePlus. And while you’ll generally find it mixed into a martini or a Manhattan, you can save calories by sipping it neat. The reasonable calorie count isn’t the only reason to reach for it. Some research has found that dry vermouth contains significantly more polyphenols than white wine. Polyphenols are naturally occurring compounds in plants that have been shown to help regulate metabolism, weight, and chronic disease, according to a study published 2018 in Frontiers in Nutrition. Keep in mind, however, that there haven’t been any peer-reviewed human studies on the health benefits of drinking dry vermouth, so it’s unclear whether this possible benefit outweighs the general risks of drinking alcohol.
4. Booze on the Rocks (About 100 Calories per 1.5 oz Serving)
Whether you’re into vodka or tequila, gin or whiskey, there’s no real difference in calories or carbohydrates — they all have about 100 calories in a 1.5 oz serving, according to MedlinePlus. Your best bet when sipping alcohol is to have it straight, or with sparkling water or club soda, Zanini suggests. That’s because a whiskey drink, for example, can quickly go from a 100-calorie drink to 300-plus when you add sugary, high-calorie mixers.
5. Champagne (85 Calories per 4 oz Serving)
You’ll save about 35 calories per serving by choosing bubbly over a sweet white wine, according to MedlinePlus. A 4 oz glass of champagne has 85 calories. And while that might not sound like much, it’s also possible that you’ll feel fuller and turn down that second drink as a result of the carbonation. Previous research found that women reported feeling more full after drinking sparkling water, compared with flat.
3 Worst Types of Alcohol for Weight Loss
1. Sugary Cocktails (500 Calories per 8 oz Serving)
Fancy mixed drinks might sound tasty, but they’re often loaded with calories. A Long Island iced tea, for example, will set you back about 500 calories in one 8 oz glass, according to the Cleveland Clinic. That’s more calories than you’ll find in a double cheeseburger from McDonald’s.
2. Frozen Beach Drinks (280 Calories per 5 oz Serving)
A sunny beach day may make you crave strawberry daiquiris and piña coladas — but watch out if slimming down your waistline is a goal. According to the Cleveland Clinic, both daiquiris and piña coladas have about 280 calories per 5 oz serving.
3. Craft Beer (170 Calories per 12 oz Serving)
A 12-ounce craft beer runs about 170 calories (or more), according to MedlinePlus. The reason for this difference, compared with commercial beers, is that craft beers often have extra ingredients and carbs that amp up their flavor. Though the latter may lead you to drink less than you would when sitting with a light beer, ultimately craft beers tend to have higher alcohol content, and more alcohol means more calories.
An Alternative to Booze for Anyone Looking to Lose Weight
Keep in mind: Mocktails are always an option. Going liquor-free is the ultimate way to cut back on alcohol calories. But you’ll still need to keep an eye on what’s going into the mocktails and choose a low-calorie — or better yet, no-calorie — water or sparkling water drink with lime, Kostro Miller suggests. If you do choose to drink alcohol on a given night, she says it’s a good idea to alternate between an alcoholic and nonalcoholic drink to keep your calorie intake in check. “This will spread out the calories from alcohol and keep you hydrated,” she says.