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How to Enjoy Alcohol While Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle

Author: Medifast California

July 21, 2017

How to Enjoy Alcohol While Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle

Author: Medifast California

July 21, 2017

For some people, there is nothing better than a glass of red wine at the end of a long day or an ice-cold beer at a baseball game. You can responsibly enjoy alcohol as part of your lifestyle; however, regular consumption can contribute to weight gain and make it more difficult to lose weight.


Regardless of your drink of choice, alcohol has absolutely no nutritional value and is high in sugar and calories. Overindulging can cause you to take in more calories than you intend and eventually gain weight.  The best way to minimize the risk of weight gain from alcohol use is, of course, to completely abstain from using alcohol completely. If, however, you wish to continue drinking, finding skinny versions of your favorite drinks can help minimize the calorie and sugar impact.


If beer is your drink, you used to be at the mercy of the beer makers, as an average beer could easily be a couple hundred calories. As the demand for low-calorie beers has increased, many beer manufacturers have responded with healthier options. Try these low-cal beers instead of your go-to brew:


  • Sam Adams Light – 119 calories
  • Bud Light – 110 calories
  • Guinness – 125 calories
  • Miller Genuine Draft 64 – 64 calories
  • Miller Light –96 calories
  • Brooklyn Dry Irish Stout – 117 calories
  • Kona Brewing Company Island Lager – 144.6 calories



Research has shown that some types of alcohol, specifically wine, may have some important health benefits like reducing the risk of dementia, heart disease and colon cancer. Despite these potential health benefits, wine is still not great for weight loss.


The number of calories in a 5 oz glass depends on the sugar content and the type of wine. Generally speaking, white wines and dry wines have less alcohol and sugar by volume and therefore, fewer calories. Dessert wines tend to be the highest in sugar content and calorie count.


One major problem with drinking wine is that there are no nutritional labels on a bottle of wine, so it can be near impossible to make a healthy choice. Alcohol has around 7 calories per gram, which you can use to approximate calories.  To do this, look at the ABV, or alcohol by volume, percentage. A lower ABV generally corresponds to a lower calorie count, while a higher ABV represents a higher calorie count.

A glass of bubbly champagne may seem like a good choice because it’s light and bubbly, but it may also contain a lot of added sugar. Look for the “brut nature” or “brut zero” notation, which indicates that there is very little added sugar in the champagne.


In addition, Skinnygirl Cocktails also features its own wine collection, which has amazing low-cal varieties of whites, reds, rose and sparkling wines.


The biggest calorie range—and the biggest potential for overindulging—is with liquor and liquor drinks.  The issue isn’t necessarily with the alcohol itself, but with the juices and sodas that are added to it. A single margarita can run around 500 calories, and a frozen pina colada can sometimes be up to 800 or so calories – each!


To lower the calorie count, you can make adjustments to your mixers, or even eliminate them all together. Avoid using juices and sodas, or try using soda water instead. Give these alternatives try!


  • A tequila on the rocks with a splash of lime instead of a margarita


  • A vodka or gin martini – Try it dry, which means there is less vermouth and more liquor. Around 175 calories.


  • A mojito – Believe it or not this drink will only set you back around 170 calories!


  • An old-fashioned – A mix of bourbon with a dash of bitters and a little sugar. This cocktail is only around 150 calories.


  • Gin and tonics – Tonic water has only around 10 calories an ounce. This is a great cocktail for a low-calorie count.


  • Vodka soda – Made with zero calorie soda water, this drink will help you counteract some of the dehydration that occurs with drinking alcohol. You can even add a splash of grenadine for a fruity flavor.


  • Rum and diet soda – Rum and cokes are a staple. Swap out the soda for a lower calorie alternative.


More Tips

Here are 3 other things you can do to help reduce your calories when drinking alcohol:

  • Make sure to stay hydrated. Try alternating your drinks with water, which can also slow down your rate of drinking. This can help you drink less over the course of the evening.
  • Eat first. If you start drinking with a full stomach, you’ll be less likely to over drink, and even more unlikely to indulge on snacks later on in the night. If you know that you tend to make poor food choices when drinking, have a healthy snack ready to go. Throw some nuts in your pocket book, or a protein bar in your pocket. You may be less likely to grab that pizza or dessert if you already have something ready to eat.
  • Make a plan before you start. If you know that your plan is to have 2 drinks with dinner, you’ll be more likely to stop after those two drinks. Simply planning a night out with friends increases the risk that you’ll lose track of how much and what you are drinking.


The bottom line is that moderation is key, no matter how low the calorie count is on your favorite diet-friendly alcoholic beverage. Drinking 5 glasses of wine will still run you close to 1,000 calories, depending on the type of wine you are drinking. And even if you think that you’ll never drink 5 glasses of wine, the ounces can quickly add up, especially if you aren’t measuring out your servings.


Alcohol doesn’t have to be on the forbidden list once you decide to lose weight or make some healthy lifestyle changes. It may mean, however, that you make a few adjustments to your routine.

About the Author:

Medifast California
The team at Medifast California
The team at Medifast California is committed to practicing what they preach. Experts in nutrition, health, counseling and exercise, they have the experience and tools to offer the support you need when you need it!

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