The question is oftern asked, “If you are going to go out and have a drink or two with friends, which drink is the best when you’re on a fat loss program? Would it be wine or a vodka mixed with soda? Is champagne better or worse than the other two?”

For a complete list of the calories contained if your favorite alcohol drink click here.

If your goal is to get leaner then the question “which alcohol is best?” is not conducive to you achieving it.

Your quest for the “best drink” therefore assumes that:
(a) you ARE going to drink and
(b) a best choice exists.

If you asked, “how much damage would I do to my body and how much would I slow down my results if I drank drinking during my fat burning program?” you might get a different feeling towards alcohol. This type of question presupposes that there WILL be a down side, it’s only a question of how bad it will be.

If you think about the consequences of drinking, instead of how you can best “get away with it,” it may change your emotional outlook towards alcohol.

Athletes asking about alcohol and fat loss are usually seeking some kind of justification for their drinking.
Instead of providing you such “permission” it is useful instead if you consider:

  1. On fat loss programs, drinking alcohol is not recommended at all because alcohol suppresses fat oxidation and adds unnecessary calories to your diet, which either displaces nutritious calories or erases your caloric deficit.
  2. For lifelong maintenance, it is recommended that if you choose to drink, that’s fine, but only if you do so in moderation (1-2 drinks a day is considered moderation according to most health authorities)
  3. Daily drinking is not recommended as part of a fitness lifestyle, because daily drinking can become habit forming. It is preferable if you can limit drinking to weekends, holidays and/or special occasions.
  4. Try and ALWAYS be cognizant of the calories that are added to your diet through alcohol and above all else know how many calories are in your drinks.

If someone really MUST know which alcohol is worst on a fat burning program, then it would be the one with the most calories. Conversely, the lesser of evils would be the drinks with fewer calories.

For example, that would mean choosing light beers over regular beers. Bass Ale and Sam Adams lager both contain 160 calories per bottle. Guinness extra Stout packs 176 calories per bottle. By comparison, Amstel light contains only 99 calories, Michelob Ultra has 95 calories and Beck’s Premier Light has 64 calories (Beck’s pulled off that feat simply by lowering the alcohol content).

Champagne has about 96 calories per 4 oz glass. White wine such as chardonnay has about the same caloric content as champagne.

Any pure distilled liquor will contain about 65 calories per fluid ounce at 80 proof. When mixed with other calorie containing liquids, the calorie count goes up. A 6 ounce screwdriver will give you about 130 calories. A whiskey sour about 169 calories. Naturally, mixed drinks may contain even more calories due to the sugar in the drink mixes. A margarita is one of the worst, with an 8-ouncer packing about 500 calories and a huge dollop of sugar! A couple of those with your cheese Nachos and enchiladas, refried beans, sour cream and guacaomole, and you’ve just knocked back about two days worth of calories in one meal!

For a complete list of the calories contained if your favorite alcohol drink click here.

Fat loss is first and foremost a matter of calories in vs calories out, so the calorie counts are what you look at first.

If you wanted other criteria to judge the “best” alcoholic drink, you could also look at whether there is any health value, as in red wine, or whether there are any nutrients in the drink, such as what you might find in the vegetable juice of a bloody mary or the orange juice in a screwdriver. However, I think that’s a pretty moot point when you consider the far superior way to get those same nutrients: eat whole vegetables and oranges.

The fact is, you can certainly get leaner while drinking, as long as you stay in a caloric deficit, but that doesn’t mean it’s the smartest thing to do for your body and your health.

Successful weight loss is all about oxidizing (or burning), more calories than you eat. When they go on a diet, many people choose low-calorie alcoholic drinks, mainly because they contain fewer alcohol calories than their regular counterparts.

However, drinking too much has a far more damaging effect than you can predict simply by looking at the number of alcohol calories in a drink. Not only does it reduce the number of fat calories you burn, alcohol can increase your appetite and lower your testosterone levels for up to 24 hours after you finish drinking.

According to conventional wisdom, the infamous “beer belly” is caused by excess alcohol calories being stored as fat. Yet, less than five percent of the alcohol calories you drink are turned into fat. Rather, the main effect of alcohol is to reduce the amount of fat your body burns for energy.

Some evidence for this comes from research carried in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Eight men were given two drinks of vodka and sugar-free lemonade separated by 30 minutes. Each drink contained just under 90 calories. Fat metabolism was measured before and after consumption of the drink. For several hours after drinking the vodka, whole body lipid oxidation (a measure of how much fat your body is burning) dropped by a massive 73%.

Rather than getting stored as fat, the main fate of alcohol is conversion into a substance called acetate. In fact, blood levels of acetate after drinking the vodka were 2.5 times higher than normal. And it appears this sharp rise in acetate puts the brakes on fat loss.