Have you ever seen an alcoholic or just someone who drinks a lot and thought to yourself “how does that guy stay so thin while drinking so much?” Beer and alcohol—especially when mixed with juice or soda—is packed with calories. Is there any way to drink and enjoy a night on the town while keeping your caloric intake to a minimum?
There are in fact ways to drink while on a diet and consume very few calories, but you need to choose your drinks wisely. First, you need to choose an alcoholic spirit with the least amount of calories. Vodka or gin is a good choice, generally containing 40% alcohol and between 95 and 100 calories per 1.5 oz. serving. Tequila also hovers around the 100 calorie and 40% alcohol per serving mark, with whiskey following close behind with around 100 -110 calories and 40-45% alcohol per serving. Another good option is rum, with Captain Morgan rum and Malibu rum containing 86 calories and 35% alcohol for the former and 81 calories and 21% alcohol per serving for the latter.
If you tend to shy away from hard liquor, there are some beers that contain about the same amount of calories in a 12 oz. serving. Light lagers such as Bud Light and Coors Light have 110 and 102 calories and 4.2% alcohol per serving, with Amstel Light coming in at 95 calories and 3.5% alcohol. Straight lagers like Heineken have more calories and alcohol with about 150 calories and around 5% alcohol per serving. Dark stouts like Guinness, Murphy’s, and Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout pack more calories per serving with anywhere between 128 and 171 calories per serving and 4-5% alcohol.
You will likely want to avoid ciders and other malt beverages if you’re counting your calories and trying to maintain your weight while drinking. Woodchuck Amber and Angry Orchard ciders have about 200 calories and 5% alcohol per serving, with Magners containing much less at 125 calories per serving but with only 4.5% alcohol. Malt-based beverages like Smirnoff Ice and Mike’s Hard Lemonade come in at nearly 250 calories with 5% alcohol with Four Loko being the worst of all with 337 calories and 12% alcohol per 12 oz. serving.
If hard liquor has too much alcohol for you and beer doesn’t provide enough, a good balance is wine. A 5 oz. serving of red wine has about 14% alcohol and only 120 calories. White wine, on the other hand, has a little less alcohol, usually around 12.5% per serving and around110 calories.
If you’re mixing your drinks, remember to choose your mix wisely. The more complicated the drink, the more calories it will contain. Lime juice will add about 24 calories per serving, and simple syrup will add 54 calories per serving. Juices will add another 100 or more calories per serving, and soda will add another 100-150 calories. As you can see, mixed drinks might go down easier but you’re adding a lot of empty calories.
To keep your calories to a minimum when you’re drinking hard liquor, choose to drink the alcohol straight on the rocks if you can handle it, or use club soda or diet pop as a mixer, as both have zero calories. Furthermore, remember to drink a glass of water in between each drink to keep your body hydrated. It will likely make the next day a little more tolerable since the major cause of a hangover is dehydration.