When it comes to dieting, many people opt to cut out alcohol altogether. However, for those who still want to enjoy a drink on occasion, it’s important to know which alcoholic beverages are better choices when trying to lose weight. In this article, we’ll explore the world of alcoholic drinks when dieting and provide some helpful tips and recommendations for those looking to indulge without sabotaging their progress.
When it comes to dieting, many people wonder whether they can still indulge in their favorite alcoholic drinks. With the rise of health-conscious lifestyles, the effects of alcohol on weight loss and overall health have come under scrutiny. In this article, we will explore the relationship between alcoholic drinks and dieting and provide tips for making smarter choices when it comes to enjoying a drink or two while trying to shed some pounds.
Understanding Calories in Alcoholic Drinks
Before we dive into specific drink recommendations, it’s important to understand why some alcoholic beverages are better choices than others when dieting. The main factor to consider is calories. Alcohol is high in calories, with 7 calories per gram. This is more than carbs and protein (4 calories per gram) and only slightly less than fat (9 calories per gram). Additionally, many alcoholic drinks are mixed with high-calorie mixers, further increasing their caloric content.
Recommended Daily Caloric Intake
According to the USDA, the recommended daily caloric intake for adults ranges from 1,600 to 2,400 calories, depending on age, sex, and physical activity level. However, when trying to lose weight, it’s important to create a calorie deficit by consuming fewer calories than you burn. This deficit can be achieved through a combination of diet and exercise, with a goal of losing 1-2 pounds per week.
Understanding Alcohol Content
Another factor to consider when choosing alcoholic drinks is alcohol content. Alcohol content is measured in “proof,” which is twice the percentage of alcohol by volume (ABV). For example, a drink that is 80 proof is 40% ABV. The higher the proof, the more alcohol the drink contains. This means that high-proof drinks not only have more calories but can also lead to quicker intoxication and impaired decision-making, potentially leading to poor food choices.
Best Alcoholic Drinks When Dieting
Now that we understand the calorie and alcohol content of alcoholic drinks, let’s explore some of the best options for those looking to indulge while dieting.
One key takeaway from this text is that it is possible to enjoy alcoholic drinks while dieting, as long as you choose low-calorie options and consume in moderation. It’s important to be mindful of the calories and alcohol content in each drink, as well as the mixers used. Additionally, drinking water alongside alcoholic beverages and planning ahead can help maintain a healthy diet while still indulging in a drink or two.
Wine is a great option for those watching their weight, as it is generally lower in calories than other alcoholic beverages. A 5-ounce glass of red or white wine contains around 120 calories, while a 3.5-ounce serving of champagne contains around 85 calories. Additionally, red wine has been shown to have health benefits such as reducing the risk of heart disease.
Beer is often associated with weight gain, but there are many lighter options available. Light beer typically contains around 100 calories per 12-ounce serving, making it a better choice than regular beer, which can contain upwards of 150 calories per serving. However, it’s important to note that light beer still contains alcohol and should be consumed in moderation.
Cocktails can be a high-calorie choice due to the use of sugary mixers. However, there are ways to enjoy a cocktail while watching your weight. Opt for drinks made with low-calorie mixers such as club soda or diet soda, and avoid drinks made with juice or syrup. Additionally, choose drinks that are low in alcohol content, such as a vodka soda or a gin and tonic.
Spirits such as vodka, gin, and tequila are all low in calories and can be a good choice when dieting. A 1.5-ounce serving of vodka or gin contains around 100 calories, while a 1.5-ounce serving of tequila contains around 97 calories. However, it’s important to note that spirits are often mixed with high-calorie mixers, so be sure to choose low-calorie options.
For those who want to enjoy a drink without the alcohol, mocktails can be a great option. Mocktails are non-alcoholic drinks made with fruit juices, soda, and other mixers. They can be just as delicious as their alcoholic counterparts and are often lower in calories.
Tips for Drinking When Dieting
While it’s possible to enjoy alcoholic drinks when dieting, it’s important to do so in moderation and with some tips in mind.
Drinking water alongside alcoholic beverages can help keep you hydrated and prevent overconsumption. Aim to drink a glass of water for every alcoholic drink you have.
Watch Your Serving Sizes
Be mindful of serving sizes when drinking. Stick to one standard serving per hour, and avoid drinking on an empty stomach.
Avoid Late-Night Drinking
Drinking late at night can disrupt sleep and lead to poor food choices. Aim to finish your last drink at least a few hours before bedtime.
Be Mindful of Mixers
As previously mentioned, many alcoholic drinks are mixed with high-calorie mixers. Opt for low-calorie options such as club soda or diet soda, or choose drinks that don’t require mixers at all.
If you know you’ll be drinking, plan ahead by eating a healthy meal beforehand and budgeting for the calories in your drinks. Additionally, consider choosing a designated driver or taking a taxi or ride-share service to and from your destination.
FAQs – Alcoholic Drinks When Dieting
Can I drink alcohol while on a diet?
Technically, you can drink alcohol while on a diet, but it’s important to keep in mind that alcohol is high in calories. Additionally, alcohol can impair your judgment and increase your likelihood of making poor food choices. If you must drink alcohol, try to drink in moderation and choose drinks that are lower in calories. For example, drink a glass of wine instead of a mixed drink or beer, or drink a light beer instead of a regular one.
What are the best low-calorie alcoholic drinks?
There are several low-calorie alcoholic drinks to choose from if you’re on a diet. Some popular options include vodka and soda, gin and tonic, light beer, champagne, and wine spritzers. Additionally, many light beers and low-calorie wines are widely available these days. It’s worth noting, however, that some mixed drinks can be very high in calories, so it’s important to research the calorie content of any mixed drink you’re considering drinking.
Is it better to avoid alcohol altogether when dieting?
If alcohol is an important part of your social life or you simply enjoy drinking, you don’t need to avoid alcohol altogether when you’re dieting. However, it’s important to remember that alcohol can sabotage your weight loss efforts if you’re not careful. If you’re going to drink alcohol while on a diet, be mindful of the calorie content of the drinks you’re consuming and choose low-calorie options whenever possible.
How can I limit my alcohol intake while dieting?
If you’re worried about consuming too many calories from alcohol while on a diet, there are several strategies you can use to limit your intake. First, try to limit the number of drinks you consume in a sitting. Second, alternate alcoholic drinks with glasses of water, which will help you stay hydrated and may help to reduce your overall alcohol intake. Finally, consider sticking to low-calorie drinks like light beer or wine, and avoid high-calorie mixed drinks.