Can I Drink Alcohol on a Diet?

Last Editorial Review: 8/11/2017

Ask the experts

I love to drink, but I'm trying to diet. Are there any alcoholic beverages that I can drink without gaining weight?

Doctor's response

To begin with, the dietary guidelines for alcohol consumption are:

  • Those who choose to drink alcoholic beverages should do so sensibly and in moderation-defined as the consumption of up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.
  • Alcoholic beverages should not be consumed by some individuals, including those who cannot restrict their alcohol intake, women of childbearing age who may become pregnant, pregnant and lactating women, children and adolescents, individuals taking medications that can interact with alcohol, and those with specific medical conditions.
  • Alcoholic beverages should be avoided by individuals engaging in activities that require attention, skill, or coordination, such as driving or operating machinery.

If you do choose to drink, and want to lose weight, here are some tips:

  • Try not to drink on an empty stomach. Alcohol can lower your blood sugar, which can increase your hunger. Make sure that you have food in your stomach first.
  • Avoid drinks with juice or cola. Use diet cola or flavored seltzers instead to save lots of calories.
  • Try to limit the number of different kinds of liquor that there are in the drinks that you have. The more liquor, the more calories.
  • Instead of a full glass of wine, have a wine spritzer. Half the wine means half the calories.
  • Lite beer is lite because there are fewer calories, so choose that instead.
  • Look up the calories in the drinks that you have to see how much they "cost" you.

Research has shown that liquid calories do not satisfy us the way that calories from food does. On top of that, the calories are considered "empty" calories because you are not getting a lot of nutrients in the beverage. It's important to keep alcohol as a treat and factor in the calories from it that way. Do not replace food with alcohol as a way of cutting calories.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Medically reviewed by Robert Bargar, MD; Board Certification in Public Health & General Preventive Medicine


"Overview of the risks and benefits of alcohol consumption"