Alcohol Guide During The Holiday Season

What are the best and the worst alcoholic drinks when watching our 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, 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.



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


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).




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!





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.

wine coolers If you, or anyone else, wants help when it comes to figuring out the holiday season and avoiding the potential pitfalls associated with those gatherings and parties. Which I call the “holiday 10” – traditionally 10-pound weight gain from Halloween and continues through the New Year. Contact us at Elite Nutrition and Performance where we can help with nutrition counseling, personal training, and a host of other great options to make sure you come out the other side the same way you entered this holiday season.   Schedule a No Obligation Consultation with one of our registered dietitians today!


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