Can alcohol be part of a healthy lifestyle? This post will teach you how you can fit your favorite cocktails into your lifestyle plus 7 go-to alcoholic drinks to look for.
The holidays are over and everyone is scrambling to get back in shape. Everyone seems to have the same new year resolution: “I’m breaking up with alcohol.”
In a sense, it is a smart decision. After all, alcohol is made of empty calories, which means that they do not contain any significant nutrients are but high in calories (Yikes!). In fact, your favorite margarita might be doing you more damage than a piece of cookie!
If you’re to trying to lose weight, giving alcohol up might seem like a surefire way to shed the extra pounds. Since a lot of alcoholic drinks are indeed high in calories, it’s easy to see why people may easily jump to this conclusion.
But, don’t worry, this is the part where I tell you that you don’t have to give anything up! There are numerous low-calorie alcoholic drinks that you can sip on without breaking your progress.
For a heathy lifestyle to work, you don’t have to deprive yourself or ditch your next night out with friends!
But for now, let’s take a look at why exactly alcohol affects weight loss.
How Does Alcohol Affect Weight Loss?
- Alcoholic drinks are usually high in (empty) calories. It’s easy to underestimate the number of calories you are drinking (especially when you are already inebriated!). And since all these calories are empty calories ( yes, those greens in your mojito don’t count!) they don’t have any nutritional value at all. Alcohol already has calories; a shot of vodka contains 85 to 124 calories. But usually, people mix it with juice and soda, which contain even more calories, sugars, and carbs.
- Alcohol can lead to snacking. Raise your hand if you agree that food just hits differently when you’re intoxicated? Think double cheeseburger, fries, and a milkshake. The downside is it can lead to excess calories and weight gain.
- It leads to an alcoholic fatty liver. Did you know that the liver also plays a role in the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins? When you consume an excessive amount of alcohol your body will focus on breaking down the alcohol instead of burning fat. This can damage your liver and affect the way your body metabolizes and stores energy from food.
All too often we don’t realize that days when we indulge in cocktails, wine and beer are actually damaging to our health and weight loss goals.
Can I Drink Alcohol While Fasting?
There’s been a growing interest in intermittent fasting because of the many health benefits it has such as weight loss, fat burning, and reduced inflammation.
Intermittent Fasting is a dietary plan that involves alternating fasting and eating periods. While in your fasting period, you can’t consume any calories. Therefore, you shouldn’t be drinking any alcohol. But, when you are on your feeding window, you can drink alcohol as part of your daily calorie intake. Though, it’s always best to do so in moderation.
How Much Alcohol Should I Drink Daily?
It depends. As I mentioned in my post on “Is Wine Fattening?” for women, it is considered that one drink per day is safe. On the other hand for men, the number of drinks is two per day.
Examples of one drink are as follows:
- Beer: 12 fluid ounces (355 milliliters)
- Wine: 5 fluid ounces (148 milliliters)
- Distilled spirits (80 proof): 1.5 fluid ounces (44 milliliters)
According to the National Institutes of Health, the maximum amount of wine safe for a woman to drink is 4 ounces, and for a man, 8 ounces. Once a man reaches 65, the maximum should be the same as women. Note, there are sites and research documents that cite 5 ounces as a standard size for a glass of wine.
So the bottom line is that you can drink daily as long as it’s a healthy amount of alcohol. Though, just because you “can” doesn’t mean you “should,” especially every day.
7 Healthy Alcoholic Drinks
Next time you’re out and looking for a healthier alcoholic drink, choose from one of these”
- Dry Wine (Red or White)
- Calories: 84 to 90 calories per glass
- Not all wines are created equally, so make sure you choose wisely. Most of the sugar from the grape has been converted to alcohol during the fermentation process. Nevertheless, wine still contains a certain amount of calories. It varies depending on the sweetness of the grape you choose, but a glass of red or white wine ranges on average from 84 to 90 calories. So steer away from sweet wines and opt for dry ones instead since they have less than one gram of sugar per ounce.
- Ultra Brut Champagne
- Calories: 65 per glass
- Champagne is a sparkling white wine that has fewer calories than your favorite bottle of wine. But if you really want to stick to your calorie intake choose ultra brut champagne. “Ultra Brut” is basically the same as “no added sugar” which means that it has fewer calories (which lowers your chances also of getting the dreaded hangover the next day.) Just because this has a lower calorie count doesn’t mean you can drink it as a mimosa, remember that anything you add to your alcohol most likely doubles the sugar content!
- Vodka Soda
- Calories: 96 per glass
- Ordering this crowd-favorite sweet mixer will actually cut down your calories sipped for the night. This drink is definitely a good choice for people who are watching their weight. Since soda is simply carbonated water with zero calories, so most of the calories you get comes from the vodka. Adding a squeeze of lime can give you more flavor if you’re craving for a refreshing twist!
- Calories: 168 calories per glass
- If you’re a rum drinker and in the mood for a refreshing cocktail but don’t want the sugar bombs that come with the usual cocktails, a mojito is your best best. This Cuban classic has fresh muddled mint and lime. Although sometimes bartenders would add more than a splash of sugar. So just make sure they go easy on the syrup or you can even request them to leave it out altogether and just add extra mint.
- Whiskey on the Rocks
- Calories: 105 calories per glass
- Craving for something with hard spirits? Whiskey on the rocks will give you an option without the added sugars. Drinking spirits on the rocks will help you avoid any further calorie intake since it’s basically a shot of whiskey and some ice.
- Bloody Mary
- Calories: 125 calories per glass
- If you’re a brunch lover ( just like me!) then a bloody mary is a drink that you’ll surely enjoy without breaking your diet. Skip the mimosa and order this alcohol mixed with tomato juice instead. Not only does it have less sugar, but it’s also packed with vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin A. If you want to skip the alcohol and the calories it comes with, order a virgin mary mocktail instead. It only has 29 calories per serving!
- Calories: 166 calories per glass
- A Paloma is a tangy pink drink, made with grapefruit and lime juice, it’s basically like a margarita without the extra calories. Grab one of these for an after-five refreshment without worrying about the sugar content.
As you can see, cutting alcohol out completely from your diet isn’t the only way to stay on track. There are many alternatives that can be easily adapted into your health journey that doesn’t deprive you of booze.
Just be mindful of the amount of alcohol you drink and don’t forget to stay hydrated.