Are There Diet-friendly Alcohol Choices?

Dieting Woman Holding Wine GlassWhether you enjoy having a few glasses of wine with dinner, or a six-pack of beer during every ball game, you may have noticed that your boozing isn’t conducive to keeping a slim waistline. If regular exercise isn’t your cup of tea or you only eat vegetables that have been deep fried, then you’ve probably noticed this problem even more.

Of course, unless interacting with the modern world isn’t your thing, or you thought the term “light beer” referred to its weight, you likely know that most alcoholic drinks are packed with calories. It doesn’t help that most people enjoy eating salty snacks while they drink, before inhaling a cheeseburger at 2:00 a.m. when they’re tanked. Then, there’s also the fact that most people are a bottomless pit that can only be filled with greasy food when they’re hung over.

So, whether you’ve noticed that your favorite pair of sweatpants aren’t so “roomy” any longer, or your friend recently asked you “When’s the last time you worked out?”, it may be time to shed a few pounds. If you don’t plan on giving up booze to do so, however, then you’re probably wondering if there are diet-friendly alcohol choices.  The good news is that, yes, there are.

What are your options if you love beer?

The term “beer gut” didn’t become part of the common vernacular because you’re tummy hurts after you’ve had a few brews. Instead, it refers to the large stomach that spills out and over the pants of a person who has never met a beer they didn’t like. That’s not to say, of course, that beer hasn’t been known to enlarge other regions of the human body.

Yes, although beer is one of humanity’s greatest discoveries, unfortunately it’s not shy with the calories. For example, your average 12-ounce glass of lager has nearly 170 calories, while a tasty ale could have more than 200! If you can toss back six or seven beers in a night, then it doesn’t take long before the calories really start to add up.

This is why the beer industry has gone to great lengths to produce “light beer.” It’s also why beverages like Coors Light and Bud Light are some of the top-selling brews on the market. Many light beers have just less than 100 calories, and you can even find some low-carb ones that have less than 75. Whether they taste as good as regular beer, well, that’s another matter.

Can you have a glass, or three, of wine with dinner?

While you don’t often hear people saying their buddy has a “wine gut,” the sad truth is that many wines also have a fair amount of calories. So, if you enjoy having a couple glasses of vino with dinner, and then perhaps one or two more afterwards, you could be adding well over 400 calories to your daily intake. Wine’s not as fattening as beer, but it’s not exactly slimming either.

The good news is that there are certain types of wine that are better for the waistline than others. If you’re a fan of Chardonnays or Zinfandels, then you’ll be glad to know that a five-ounce glass of these wines typically has around 120 calories or less. If you love to pop bottles of “bubbly”, then you’ll be thrilled to learn that drier types of champagne are low in calories, and a five-ounce glass will likely have less than 100.

If a bottle of red is more your thing, or it suits today’s dinner menu better, than you should know that most red wines have around the same amount of calories as white wine. For example, a nice five-ounce glass of Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot will probably add approximately 125 calories to your daily intake. A delicious Pinot Noir might set your diet back around 120 calories.

If you really like wine and have a tendency to drink it as fast as your water, then think about ordering or making a white wine spritzer. Sure, adding soda water to a nice glass of wine may alter its taste dramatically, but since you’ll be sipping it from a much bigger glass, maybe it will take longer to finish.

Is hard liquor easy on the thighs?

To say it’s easy might be stretching it, but in terms of keeping your calorie intake to a minimum, then hard liquor is the way to go. That is, of course, assuming you’re not a hardcore boozer who downs a bottle of whiskey and still heads out for more “Happy Hour” beverages daily. If that’s you, then you have more pressing issues than whether your waistline has increased by a few inches.

Most of the spirits you know and love―like vodka, scotch, gin, and rum, for example―have around 70 calories per ounce. So, if you order a double on the rocks (which always sounds super cool by the way) then you’re looking at approximately 140 calories. Of course, if you add sugar-filled soda or juice into the equation, then it won’t be such a diet-friendly drink after all.