Kristen Ziesmer, Sports Dietitian - Alcohol Guide During the Holiday Season

Alcohol Guide During the Holiday Season

There’s more alcohol around during the holiday season, which isn’t great for your waist line.

This alcohol guide will help you navigate your way through January to choose your drinks wisely.

What are the best and the worst alcoholic drinks when watching your weight? First the obvious: Alcohol is not a weight-loss aid. The more alcohol you drink, the more weight loss may slow down, as the body burns the alcohol before anything else.

With that said, there is a huge difference between different kinds of drinks – some are pretty ok, some are a disaster! Hello, beer…

The short version: wine is much lower in carbs than beer. So most low carbers, or those who want to watch that waistline, would be wise to choose wine. Pure spirits like whiskey and vodka contain (relatively) zero carbs, but watch out for sweet drinks – they may contain massive amounts of sugar.

Alcohol Guide During the Holiday Season


All the numbers are the grams of carbs per typical serving – like one glass of wine or one draft beer.

Looking for other tips to survive the holiday season without gaining 10 pounds? Check out this video blog: Balancing Nutrition and Health Over the Holidays.


Even when you are watching those carbohydrates to promote weight loss you can probably have a glass of wine fairly regularly.

Note that dry wines contain less than 0.5 grams of sugar per glass. The other carbs are miscellaneous remains from the fermentation process, like glycerol (which is broken off from that fatty acid), that should have only small effects on blood sugar or insulin levels.

Sweet dessert wines, however, contain much more sugar. Just stay away from those.


Beer is a problem. Oh the justification I will go through in my head to convince myself I deserve that IPA. In reality, beer is the worst form of alcohol in terms of weight maintenance or weight loss. There’s a reason people talk about “beer bellies”. There are tons of rapidly digestible carbohydrates in beer – it’s been called liquid bread (yuck!). For that reason, unfortunately, most beers are a disaster for weight control and should be avoided.

Not all is lost though! Below is a guide of some low carb beers that won’t mitigate your goals of losing weight as drastically as those traditional beers (that actually taste great).

Alcohol Guide During the Holiday Season



The numbers above are the grams of carbs in one 12 oz. bottle of beer (355 ml).

There are huge differences between different brands, but most contain too many carbs to drink on a strict low-carb diet or weight loss lifestyle. Even on a more liberal diet it would be wise to keep beer drinking as an occasional thing.

The exception is very light American beers. Many of them contain few carbs, so if you like them you are in luck (also void of taste buds…).


The numbers are grams of carbs per drink, e.g. what you’ll get if you order one of these in a bar. When it comes to drinks it’s pretty straightforward. Pure spirits like whiskey, brandy, cognac, vodka, tequila contains zero carbs and won’t impact your weight after a Saturday evening watching football on the couch.

However, avoid sugar-sweetened drinks. Note that the popular drink Gin & Tonic is full of sugar, 16 grams – a common mistake. Switch to vodka, soda water and lime instead, and you get zero carbs! My favorite is a high quality vodka, water, lemon and lime wedge over ice. Refreshing!

The worst option of all is to mix alcohol with soda or juice. That ends up as a sugar bomb. Hello, type 2 diabetes!

Alcohol Guide During the Holiday Season

Alcopops / Wine Coolers

Numbers are grams of carbs (sugar) per bottle.

So how about alcopops / wine coolers? They’re just like regular soda with alcohol in it, and should be avoided by everyone who wants to avoid drinking massive amounts of sugar.

Alcohol Guide During the Holiday Season


Want to avoid the “Holiday 10”?  That’s what I call the traditional 10-pound weight gain from Halloween and continues through the New Year.

Contact me any time to schedule a free 15-minute consultation, so we can discuss your particular situation and goals.

To get started and learn more, click HERE to schedule your FREE no obligation consultation! I’d love to talk to you and find out more about your goals and show you how I can help you get better at your sport and /or get healthier. Virtual Consultations available in the comfort of your home!

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