9 Low-Calorie Alcoholic Drinks for Weight Loss

Weight loss efforts can include a lighter drinking experience with various low-calorie alcoholic drinks.

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by
Chelsea Rae Bourgeois, MS, RD
— Signos
Health writer
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Updated by

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Science-based and reviewed

Published:
July 19, 2024
November 27, 2023
— Updated:

Table of Contents

Many alcoholic drinks contain more calories than expected, which can affect your day’s calorie count and contribute to gradual weight gain. Every gram of alcohol contains seven calories, almost as many as a gram of fat. However, many of the hidden calories are found in the mixers, which often include carbohydrates and added sugar.

But if your health and wellness goals include weight loss, you don’t have to eliminate those classic cocktails just yet. Many low-calorie alcoholic drinks can fit into a well-balanced diet without skewing your calorie intake.

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What is the Lowest Calorie Alcohol?

Because the standard drink contains roughly 14 grams (g) of pure alcohol content, most alcoholic drinks have the same calorie content per serving—around 100 calories. Still, while the calories may not vary between alcohols, the standard serving sizes do. Approximately 14 g of alcohol are found in:1

  • 12 ounces (oz) of regular beer
  • 5 oz of wine
  • 1.5 oz of distilled spirits

However, it’s usually not the alcohol itself that derails your calorie intake but rather the added ingredients. Simple syrups, fruit juices, creme, and margarita mixes can significantly increase the calorie load of your mixed drink.

Low-Calorie Alcoholic Drinks

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While alcoholic beverages should be consumed safely in moderation, there are several low-calorie options that won’t sabotage your weight loss efforts. So, what are the best low-calorie alcoholic drinks?

Here are 10 of the lowest-calorie alcoholic drinks to consider when the occasion calls for it:

Champagne

Champagne, or sparkling wine, can be a great low-cal option for those looking to cut calories at their next brunch. However, the calorie content can vary among the different types of champagne. Opt for dry varieties like brut champagne to keep the sugar content low.

There are 85 calories in 4 oz of champagne, making it a more calorie-friendly beverage than many white and red wines.2 Plus, the bubbles make it a satisfying and festive drink.

Mimosa

The mimosa is a staple for many brunch celebrations. Since it’s a Prosecco-based drink, it’s typically one of the lower-calorie options on the menu. Of course, the calorie content of mimosas will vary, depending on the orange juice to champagne ratio.

As mentioned before, each 4 oz serving of champagne contains 85 calories.1 Then, there are approximately 14 calories in 1 oz of orange juice.3 You can adjust the calorie content of your drink by playing with the mixing ratio. You can also add fresh fruit as a festive garnish.

Gin and Tonic

The gin and tonic is a refreshing drink that combines the fresh, piney taste of gin with the bitter carbonation of tonic water. Use diet tonic water, a calorie-free alternative, to make it a low-calorie drink.

A gin and tonic made with 2 oz of gin and 4 oz of diet tonic water provides 129 calories in total.4,5 Adjust the calorie content by decreasing the amount of gin and increasing the amount of diet tonic water.

Light Beer

Not all beers are created equal. Light beers can be a low-calorie way to enjoy a refreshing, fizzy alcoholic beverage. Light beer contains roughly 50 fewer calories than regular beer, which can be significant when trying to lose weight.

A 12-oz bottle of light beer contains around 103 calories, while the same serving size of regular beer contains 153 calories.6 An easy way to spot a light beer is by its color. Generally, the darker a beer is, the higher its calorie content is.

Martini

A classic martini contains gin and vermouth and is typically topped with lemon wedges or olives on a toothpick. For a low-calorie twist on the classic drink, opt for a dry martini, which uses more gin and less vermouth.

A dry martini that contains 2.5 oz of gin and 0.5 oz of vermouth provides approximately 185 calories.4,7 Add an orange or lemon wedge for a low-calorie garnish.

Mojito

Mojitos are known for their sweet, minty flavor, but with sweetness typically comes sugar—especially in the premade mixes. To make a low-calorie mojito from scratch, ditch the simple syrup and opt for an alternative sweetener like Stevia. If ordering at a restaurant, request less sugar or more ice to reduce calories.

A calorie-friendly mojito provides around 109 calories per 6 oz.8 You can decrease the calories further by increasing the soda water and fresh lime juice in your mixed drink.

Hard Seltzer

Hard seltzers are a low-calorie alternative to classic cocktails and mixed drinks, commonly referred to as skinny alcoholic drinks. They typically come in fruity flavors, but since they’re made with seltzer water and alcohol fermented from cane sugar, they are low in calories. Instead of a calorie-dense piña colada, opt for a coconut-flavored seltzer.

The exact number of calories per serving will vary between brands. However, a 12 oz seltzer can contain around 99 calories.9

Vodka Soda

The vodka soda combines vodka with unflavored club soda. An 8 oz serving of the classic cocktail contains around 142 calories.10 Add a splash of flavor with a spritz of fresh lime juice, or garnish your drink with grapefruit or mint.

If you prefer a different taste, you can use flavored sparkling water in place of club soda. However, be mindful of any added sugars.

White Wine Spritzer

A white wine spritzer is one of the best low-calorie alcoholic mixed drinks. It mixes your white wine of choice with a bubbly club soda. You can adjust the calorie content by changing the wine-to-club soda ratio, but the typical 5-oz spritzer contains 3 oz of wine and 72 calories.11 The most common white wines used for a white wine spritzer include Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, or Riesling.

How to Include Alcohol to Maintain a Healthy Weight

No matter your health goals, it’s essential to consume alcohol safely and in moderation. However, to include alcohol in your diet as you pursue weight management, consider these tips:

  1. Choose lower-calorie alcoholic drinks made with little to no added sugar.
  2. Mix your drinks to control the ingredients and portion sizes used when possible. Avoid pre-made mixers that typically contain several grams of sugar per serving.
  3. Sweeten cocktails with healthy alternatives to sugar, such as fresh fruit or non-nutritive sweeteners.
  4. To avoid adding extra calories, enhance the flavor of your mixed drinks with fresh herbs like mint, rosemary, lavender, and basil.
  5. Be mindful of hydration while drinking alcohol—alternate water and alcohol to avoid dehydration. Consider non-alcoholic options as appropriate.  
  6. While drinking, prioritize nutrient-dense foods to help support a healthy metabolism and balanced blood sugar levels. Include foods like lean proteins and complex carbs, and ask your registered dietitian nutritionist for personalized guidance that addresses your health goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

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What Alcohol Has The Least Calories?

All alcohols contain roughly the same amount of calories: 7 calories per gram. The added ingredients and sweeteners increase the calorie content of a mixed drink.

How Many Calories Are In a Bloody Mary?

The total calories will vary depending on the ratio of ingredients, but a bloody mary that mixes 1 oz of vodka with 7 oz of tomato juice contains around 108 calories.12,13

How Does Alcohol Contribute to Weight Gain?

In addition to its calories, alcohol can contribute to weight gain through its effects on hormones and fat metabolism. Alcohol can impair the function of the glands that release hormones related to hunger, appetite control, and stress. Furthermore, when drinking, your liver has to break down alcohol rather than fat, and you may notice weight gain as a result.

What Alcohol Can I Drink On a Diet?

When working an alcoholic drink to a weight loss diet, skip the drinks made with simple syrups and sugar. Opt for low-carb drinks like vodka soda, rum with diet coke, or tequila with fresh lime juice.

Signos: Your Partner in Sipping Smart and Staying Healthy

Sustainable weight loss requires realistic lifestyle changes that honor taste preferences, cultural backgrounds, and social connections. Losing weight cannot be an all-or-nothing effort. So, if you enjoy an alcoholic beverage or a night out with friends every now and then, don’t start rescheduling just yet. Alcohol, when consumed mindfully, can be included in a well-balanced diet that supports your weight loss efforts.

Get expert advice and learn more about healthy dieting and weight loss through Signos’ nutrition articles & tips. Learn more about how nutrition can support healthy habits on Signos’ blog, and find out if Signos is a good fit for you by taking a quick quiz!

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Topics discussed in this article:

References

  1. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Alcohol’s Effects on Health.
  2. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Lower-Calorie Choices for Alcoholic Drinks.
  3. FoodData Central. Orange Juice
  4. FoodData Central. Gin.
  5. FoodData Central. Diet Tonic Water.
  6. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Calorie Count-Alcoholic Beverages.
  7. FoodData Central. Sweet Wine.
  8. FoodData Central. Mojito.
  9. FoodData Central. Hard Seltzer.
  10. FoodData Central. Vodka Soda.
  11. FoodData Central. White Wine.
  12. FoodData Central. Vodka.
  13. FoodData Central. Tomato Juice.

About the author

Chelsea Rae Bourgeois is a registered dietitian nutritionist with several years of experience working in the clinical setting. Once a track and field athlete on a competitive stage, she now finds joy in combining her passions as a health writer to help people embrace their wellness through nutrition and fitness.

View Author Bio

Please note: The Signos team is committed to sharing insightful and actionable health articles that are backed by scientific research, supported by expert reviews, and vetted by experienced health editors. The Signos blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider. Read more about our editorial process and content philosophy here.

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