Which Alcohol is Best? (And How to Limit Excessive Drinking)

college diet, freshman 15 avoid, college weightloss

This post is for those over 21 years old! Please drink responsibly.


What is the best type of alcohol to have?

Can I drink and still manage my weight or lose weight?

These are all excellent questions - and I hear them all the time! Don’t worry - I got you. Here’s all the recommendations -

1. What are the best drinks to get?

I personally think the research is strongest for a diet low in added sugar. Therefore, my recommendation is to drink any alcohol you prefer, but without added sugar mixers if possible. Some examples include:

  • Wine

  • Champagne or prosecco or cava

  • Light beer 

  • Hard alcohol + seltzer or water (e.g. vodka soda)


An important note: Don’t be confused by “tonic water”! Seltzer, or sparkling water, is simply water with bubbles in it. I also don’t mean here the sparkling waters with alcohol in them already - while those can definitely be fine in certain situations, they do typically contain added sugar.

Tonic water, on the other hand, is sugary sparkling water, very similar to Sprite or 7Up.

2. What are the calorie differences with various alcohols?

Here’s the run-down!

White Wine (per 5oz alcohol in a regular glass)

  • General white wine: 121 calories

  • Chardonnay, white: 119 calories

  • Pinot Grigio: 122 calories

  • Savignon Blanc: 120 calories

Red Wine (per 5oz alcohol in a regular glass)

  • General red wine: 125 calories

  • Merlot: 118 calories

  • Pinot Noir: 116 calories

  • Cabernet Sauvignon: 122 calories

  • Malbec: 122 calories

Rose Wine (per 5oz alcohol in a regular glass)

  • General Rose: 118 calories

Sparkling Wine (per 4oz alcohol in a flute)

  • Cava/ Brut: 89 calories

  • Champagne: 91 calories

Light Beer (per 12oz alcohol in a bottle)

  • General Light Beer: 103 calories

  • Bud Light: 110 calories

  • Coors Light: 102 calories

  • Busch Light: 95 calories

  • Bud Light Lime: 116 calories

  • Yuengling Light: 98 calories

  • Keystone Light: 123 calories

Regular Beer (per 12oz alcohol in a bottle)

  • General Beer: 153 calories

  • Budweiser: 145 calories

  • Yuengling: 135 calories

Hard Alcohol (per 1oz hard alcohol - can include additional seltzer, water, or a diet drink)

  • Vodka Soda: 64 calories

  • Rum + Diet Coke: 64 calories

  • Tequila Soda with lime: 64 calories

As you can see, these drinks are all fairly similar in calories (except for the hard alcohol). I’d recommend sticking with the alcohol you like the best - so you can truly enjoy yourself.

However, if you know you’re going to be drinking a lot of e.g. beer at a tailgate, it may be a good idea to stick with a lower calorie option.

3. Tricks

I also have some great tricks to help manage what you’re drinking throughout the day or night event. Here they are!

Staying hydrated so that you’re not hung over the next day – and make (often) poor food decisions!

Alternate with water or seltzer

By this I mean:

  • 1 drink of alcohol

  • 1 drink of seltzer/ water (not a spiked seltzer, just plain sparkling water)

  • 1 drink of alcohol

  • 1 drink of seltzer/ water

You can even put a wedge of lime in your glass of seltzer or water if you want to make it look like alcohol!


Have the first drink of the night as seltzer or water

This way, you can “set the tone” of the evening. You are the one in control, and aren’t going to overdo it!


Make weak drinks

This works especially well if you’re at a friend’s house or somewhere where you can be more in control of what goes into your glass.

If you’re making a vodka soda, for example, pour a half-shot and fill the rest with seltzer or water. Add some lime wedges if you need more of a taste!

Pour half glasses

Another good trick if you have more control, or aren’t paying for every single drink (e.g. you’re at a friend’s house, at a wedding, etc.) is to pour yourself half glasses - and continue with the alternating trick of 1 alcohol drink, 1 seltzer, 1 alcohol drink, etc. This can help slow you down!  

Decide how many drinks you’re going to have for the week (ahead of time)

A good trick is to decide how many drinks you’re going to have ahead of time for the week (on a regular basis) - and then distribute them however you like, or how your social life is looking for that week.

For example, if I know I typically have a beer with Zak on Thursday nights, and maybe I’ll have 2 drinks on Friday or Saturday night, my maximum # of drinks could be 4 for the week (to give myself a little leeway).

Important note: the drinks do NOT role over! :) If I only had 3 drinks this week, it doesn’t mean I get 5 drinks the next week (if my max is 4!).

4. Alright. Things didn’t go as planned. I’m hungover. Help!

If you are hungover, try some greasy eggs & bacon rather than pancakes or fries. You’ll still get the fried taste, but without the extra carbs.

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