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Can You Still Drink Alcohol and Lose Weight?

Maybe not every sip counts...
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

From sipping on a glass of wine while unwinding after a long day to enjoying an ice-cold mug of beer while watching a sporting event with friends, it is unsurprising that many people enjoy including a boozy beverage in their diet once in a while. But since alcoholic drinks can be loaded with empty calories, those who are trying to lose weight may shy away from knocking back a cold one out of concern that by doing so, they will totally derail their weight goals.

But is it true that you can't drink alcohol and lose weight, or can you still enjoy a cocktail and stick to your health goals?

The good news is that, in conjunction with eating an overall healthy and balanced diet, a once-in-a-while alcoholic drink can be a part of a weight loss plan as long as you pick the right choices. While certain sugar-laden mixed drinks can contain a whopping 700 calories or more per serving (we're looking at you, pina coladas), there are some weight loss-friendly alcoholic drinks that are totally enjoyable to sip.

How to drink alcoholic beverages while still supporting your weight loss goals.

The key to drinking alcohol while trying to lose weight is to, first and foremost, stick to a reasonable portion size.

While it may be tempting to order the extra large margarita on taco Tuesday or take advantage of a two-for-one beer special at happy hour, extra large servings will result in you consuming more alcohol.

Since one gram of alcohol contains seven calories, it doesn't take a mathematician to see how drinking more alcohol can result in overconsumption of calories. In the United States, one "standard" drink contains roughly 14 grams of pure alcohol, which is found in 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.

Along with paying attention to your alcohol portion, if you are a mixed drink lover, you should stick with mixers that are not loaded with added sugar or large quantities of fat. While creamy and chocolatey dessert-like alcoholic drinks are dreamy, they won't do you any favors in the weight loss department. And if you are a canned boozie bevvie aficionado, make sure that the one you are cracking open is free from excessive amounts of added sugars as well.

The best alcoholic beverages to drink during your weight loss diet.

If you are craving an adult beverage, but you don't want to upend your weight loss efforts completely, here are some weight-loss-friendly options to check out.

Spindrift Spiked Mango

Spindrift Spiked Mango
Courtesy of Spindrift

Made with real alphonso mango puree, nothing artificial, and containing fewer than 100 calories per can, this 4% ABV hard seltzer is an utterly satisfying sip on hot days. It is hard to believe that this combo only contains 2 grams of sugar per serving.

Livvy Prickly Pear Lemonade

Livvy Prickly Pear Lemonade
Courtesy of Drink Livvy

Each can of Livvy has 110 calories and is made using natural ingredients like real juice and monk fruit. Unlike many other hard seltzers, this effervescent drink is made with a smooth wine base instead of leaning on malt or cane sugar for alcohol (which also allows them to ship online). There is a blend of four botanicals like ginger root and prickly pear extract in every sip, and it contains 0 grams of added sugar, 2 grams of carbs per can, and it is non-GMO and gluten-free.

Q Mixers Spectacular Bloody Mary

Q Mixers Spectacular Bloody Mary
Courtesy of Q Mixers

A bloody Mary with a crunchy celery stalk can be a lower-calorie mixed drink that is savory and packed with nutrients. Q Mixers Spectacular Bloody Mary Mix is made with ingredients like real tomatoes (which are naturally low in calories) and seven herbs and spices, making it a natural choice for a weight loss-friendly mix. Combine this mix with a one-ounce serving of vodka for a classic drink that is low in calories and high in flavor.

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Atōst Citrus Aperitif

Atōst Citrus Aperitif
Courtesy of Atōst

Aperitifs are drinks that are traditionally consumed before a meal to prepare the palette. Atōst is served like an aperitif but has less than half the sugar of leading competitors (like Aperol), using just a touch of sweet.

Shiner Light Blonde

Shiner Light Blonde
Courtesy of Shiner

For those who like to sip on some suds, Shiner Light Blonde (4.2% ABV) is brewed with the highest quality two-row barley and choice aroma hops. Each bottle or can has only 99 calories, 3.8 grams of carbs, 7 grams of protein, and 0 grams of fat.

Libby White Blend

Libby White Blend
Courtesy of Drink Libby

Wine lovers don't have to forego a welcoming glass of vino. Libby has less alcohol and fewer calories than traditional wines and sparkling wines without containing artificial sugars, ingredients, or flavor additives. Because of its clean ingredients, Libby contains about 75-80 calories per 5-ounce serving, whereas traditional wines contain at least 115-140 calories per serving, depending on the ABV and residual sugar levels.

Juneshine 100 Pineapple Orange Hard Kombucha

Juneshine 100 Pineapple Orange Hard Kombucha

A hard kombucha that has a slightly lower ABV than traditional hard kombucha makes for a lower calorie delicious canned cocktail. Like all kombuchas, this one features live probiotics. And since consuming probiotics may promote a reduction in body weight, leaning on this kombucha cocktail may be a perfect treat for your weight loss journey.

Tequila with Lime

tequila lime

A shot of tequila with a squeeze of lime and served over ice will set you back only 100 calories. Sip on this drink slowly to enjoy the flavor, since the serving is quite small. If the tequila is too strong for your liking, add some sparkling water to the mix to make your sips more palatable.

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FitVine Wine Pinot Noir

FitVine Wine Pinot Noir
Courtesy of FitVine Wine

With less than 1 gram of sugar and under 120 calories per serving, FitVine Wine Pinot Noir can fill the void for red wine lovers who are watching their weight. This wine has less sugar in an entire bottle than what is in one 5-ounce glass of the top 10 wine brands in the US, and it is absolutely satisfying to sip on.

Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD, CLEC
Lauren Manaker is an award-winning registered dietitian, book author, and recipe developer who has been in practice for almost 20 years. Read more about Lauren