The Lowest Calorie Alcohol Options to Drink on a Diet (And Which to Avoid)

Alcohol has long been a social lubricant, helping people to mingle for a millennia.

However, beer, wine and liquor are increasingly under the spotlight for providing "empty calories", meaning they deliver energy but very few nutrients.

But while forgoing liquor altogether may be ideal if losing weight is your health goal, if you must indulge, registered dieticians recommend opting for certain alcoholic beverages over others — and moderation is key.

Sarah Rueven, founder of Rooted Wellness, told Newsweek: "Moderate consumption of alcohol is associated with a reduced risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, hypertension, type two diabetes, and more."

She added: "Moderation is generally defined as one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men."

Here's how to balance your nutrition with the lowest calorie alcohol options that won't destroy your diet.

Can You Drink Alcohol On a Diet?

Amy Gorin, an inclusive plant-based dietitian, suggests you "absolutely can" drink alcohol on a diet in moderation.

She told Newsweek: "You just have to make room for it in your day. So for instance, if you're wanting to lose weight, you likely won't want to reach for dessert, alcohol, and a high-calorie snack every day.

"Choose one, and choose an option, that's moderation: I wouldn't suggest going for a frozen alcoholic beverage that can contain up to 800 calories.

"Rather, I'd opt for something like a glass of wine or a light beer."

Young friends drinking beer
Alcohol does not have to be completely avoided if you're trying to lose weight. ViewApart/Getty Images

And while the negatives of drinking too much are well documented, Toby Amidor, award-winning nutrition expert and best selling author of The Family Immunity Cookbook, points out there are health benefits associated with the occasional tipple.

She told Newsweek: "If you choose to drink, there have been shown that alcohol in moderation (as defined above) can have some health benefits.

"For example, dietary silicon, found in beer, is important for the growth and development of bone and connective tissues.

"One study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that moderate drinkers were 38 percent less likely to have osteoporosis than non-drinkers, while another study published in Osteoporosis International found that moderate drinkers had a 20 percent lower risk of hip fractures than non-drinkers.

"It has been suggested that beer's dietary silicon may be responsible for part of these bone-protecting effects. There also seems to be an association between red wine and heart health.

"A review published in Circulation found that consuming red wine in moderation may lower the risk of dying from heart disease."

Lowest Calorie Beer

Keri Gans, nutrition consultant, and author of The Small Change Diet, believes there are plenty of options available.

She told Newsweek: "Your best bet when choosing a low-calorie beer is to go with the "light" beers and they are all around 100 calories per 12oz serving, for example Heineken Light at 99 calories per bottle.

"What is innately great about any beer is that if you choose one in a bottle (or can) you automatically have a single serving."

friends clinking by glasses with various alcoholic
Friends clinking by glasses with various alcoholic cocktails. Ilnur Khisamutdinov/Getty Images

Lowest Calorie Wine

Keri Gans suggests the ancient tradition of drinking the produce of crushed grapes is a good solution.

She said: "With wine, almost all types are 123 calories per 5 ounces, Riesling a little lower at 120 calories or a sparkling Brut at 110 calories.

"What really is the bottom line with wine is the size of the glass and the size of the pour. One serving of wine is considered five ounces, not an entire goblet."

wine
Alcohol, such as wine, is not typically included in traditional macro counting because it is not an essential nutrient. BrianAJackson/Getty Images

Lowest Calorie Cocktails

Keri Gans said: "Eight proof vodka, gin, rum or whiskey all have around 97 calories per 1.5 ounce or a shot.

"The best way to enjoy a cocktail if you are looking to lose weight is to stick to one single shot either on the rocks, with a splash of juice, slice of lemon, lime or cucumber, or with seltzer.

"For example, some good choices would be a vodka and seltzer with a slice of lime or a scotch on the rocks splash of water."

Lowest Calorie Liquor

ighest Calorie Drinks Dieters Should Stay Away
Alcohol is a source of empty calories. Getty Images

Gans told Newsweek: "Sometimes the lowest calorie choice is the one you will actually drink the least of.

"For example, if you love wine and easily have 2-3 glasses at a time, you should try switching to a drink that you are more likely to sip, such as scotch on the rocks or an extra dry martini."

Highest Calorie Drinks Dieters Should Avoid

Sugary drinks, including sweetened alcohol, are one of the unhealthiest choices in available in stores.

Sweetened drinks are strongly associated with weight gain and can have disastrous health effects when consumed in excess.

Even though sugary drinks contain a lot of calories, your brain doesn't register them like solid food.

Liquid sugar calories don't make you feel full, and you won't eat less food to compensate. Instead, you end up adding these calories on top of your normal intake.