Nutrition Articles

Diet-Friendly Alcohol Choices

Choose Wisely to Stay On Track

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Beer: Raise Your Glass with Care
Beer is the next best choice for dieters with, about 150 calories per 12-ounce serving. Choosing light beers will drop your caloric intake without sacrificing much flavor, but keep in mind that it can be hard to estimate your intake when pouring from a pitcher or into an oversized beer mug.

Here is the nutritional information for different types of beer:

 
Beer Calories Per Ounce Carbs Per 12-oz Serving
"Light" Beer 9 0.5 g 108 calories, 6 g carbs
Draft Beer 12 1.1 g 144 calories, 13.2 g carbs
Lager 14 1.1 g 168 calories, 13.2 g carbs
Ale 18 1.1 g 216 calories, 13.2 g carbs

Liqueur: Small but Potent
Sometimes the words "cordial" and "liqueur" are used interchangeably since both drinks are flavored, very sweet and often served as (or with) dessert. Liqueurs can be served alone, over ice, with coffee, or mixed with cream or other mixers. Adding mixers will increase the calorie and fat content of your drink. Whether served alone or in a cocktail, one liqueur serving is about 1.5 ounces. While tasty, liqueurs pack the most calories per ounce, so enjoy them sparingly.

Here is the nutritional information for common liqueurs:

 
Liqueur
Calories Per Ounce   
Carbs Per 1.5-oz Serving
Chocolate Liqueur 103 11 g 155 calories, 17 g carbs
Mint Liqueur 103 11 g 155 calories, 17 g carbs
Peppermint Liqueur 103 11 g 155 calories, 17 g carbs
Strawberry Liqueur 103 11 g 155 calories, 17 g carbs

If you budget your calories carefully, you can safely afford to have a drink or two on a special occasion. But beware—drinking loosens your inhibitions and may make you eat without thinking. From a health standpoint, calories aren't the only thing to consider. Practice moderation (no more than one drink daily for women and no more than two drinks daily for men) and consider other potential health benefits of different types of alcohol.

Most health experts recommend the following hierarchy when choosing alcohol based on potential health benefits (such as antioxidant content): choose red wine over white wine; choose wine over beer; choose darker-colored beers over lighter-colored beers; and choose beer over liquor and liqueur.
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About The Author

Leanne Beattie Leanne Beattie
A freelance writer, marketing consultant and life coach, Leanne often writes about health and nutrition. See all of Leanne's articles.

Member Comments

  • RKTHETEXGAL
    Hey dont forget a 'skinny girl' margarita...its 100calories and 4 g of carbs per 4 oz serving. This is per spark peoples nutrition tracker. Love these!
    :) - 3/14/2014 6:41:30 PM
  • I personally couldn't drink diet pop and alcohol . Recently I am not so sure alcohol is OK from a Biblical perspective. - 3/13/2014 9:00:30 PM
  • Here's something I have never understood and would appreciate an expert opinion: If a drink like vodka has no carbs, what does that mean if you are a diabetic and not worried so much about the calories? - 1/31/2014 6:47:10 AM
  • SUZEEFM
    The calories for wine on here are less than I'd read somewhere previously. Thanks! - 1/30/2014 1:53:39 PM
  • I am printing this blog out and keeping it forever. Thank You - 1/30/2014 9:05:50 AM
  • I'm printing the chart out and putting it in my purse. It'll be nice to have when I go out to celebrate my birthday tomorrow night. Perfect timing! Thanks :) - 1/30/2014 7:33:27 AM
  • The carb content in an alcoholic drink is for ingredients that are not alcohol per se. Like in the wine chart, you'll notice that the white wines have zero carbs: no grape skins, but the red wines have some carbs: food value from the grape skin content.
    - 12/7/2013 5:03:14 PM
  • Here's a question I have always had...how can hard liquor, an alcohol, be '0' carbs? I never understood this when a friend, who is carb counting but not calorie counting, tells me that liquor is ok for him. What's the science on this? - 12/6/2013 6:49:41 AM
  • This article contradicts itself. It first lists a Manhattan as 153 calories per 3.3 ounces, then in another chart it lists a Manhattan as 130 calories per 3.3 ounces. Check your facts and edit your articles Sparkpeople! - 12/5/2013 10:44:56 AM
  • Great article, but I have to wonder about some of the "typical servings." For example, I have never been served a 3.3 oz margarita. - 12/5/2013 8:05:32 AM
  • Frankly, having a glass of wine with dinner is a pleasure I greatly enjoy, but have found that it can sabotage my "best laid plans." I may have only one glass of wine, but the wine seems to perk up my appetite and let down my inhibitions, and before you know it, I have eaten more than I planned! - 10/1/2013 6:31:46 PM
  • MARILYNK426
    You forgot to include gluten free beer. Many of us are having to live by this diet and I have found this beer to be much more diet friendly. While researching this, I have found hard cider to be very high in sugar content. - 6/13/2013 3:04:59 PM
  • I made a great choice for a diet/alcohol drink. Please understand...I would NEVER suggest that others follow my lead...enjoy life..have a drink..have fun! BUT..for the last 8 years I have chosen non alcholic beverages and diet soda.Now this is just me...I enjoy my life and everything much better..I get enjoyment vicariously when my friends drink..and when I'm around everyone has a designated driver! CHEERS! Scott. - 6/13/2013 4:11:54 AM
  • MATTIOI
    I really like rum and diet coke as a healthy drink for my nights out. I thought this site was pretty neat for keeping me in the know about the booze calories I am putting in my body: http://calories-i
    n-alcohol.com/ - 4/16/2013 10:45:21 AM
  • Not such a good idea to mix diet soda with alcohol. See the following article regarding research being done by a psychology professor where I work (Dr. Cecile Marczinski at Northern Kentucky University).

    http://abcnews.
    go.com/Health
    /diet-soda-po
    tent-alcohol-
    mixer/story?id=18411329 - 3/16/2013 9:20:47 PM

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