Beer, Spirits, And Wine: Which Is Worse For Your Waistline?

Whether it's a glass of wine after a long day, a couple of beers while watching a sporting event, or a happy hour with friends, drinking alcohol has become a popular pastime. When consumed in moderation, alcohol can have potential health benefits (per Mayo Clinic). There are also studies suggesting that some alcoholic beverages may be healthier than others.

According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, red wine is linked to having more cardiovascular benefits than beer or spirits. Red wine has a heart-healthy reputation due to antioxidants that may help prevent coronary artery disease (via Mayo Clinic). Other alcoholic beverages may have their benefits too. Research shows that moderate amounts of any type of alcohol can benefit the body, including reducing the risk of ischemic stroke and potentially even diabetes. No matter what kind of booze you choose, doctors emphasize that it should be consumed responsibly. Serving suggestions for healthy adults include up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men (per Center for Disease Control and Prevention). Overconsumption can lead to health risks like certain cancers, high blood pressure, liver disease, heart muscle damage, and alcoholism.

Can you still drink alcohol while trying to lose weight?

It's possible to enjoy alcohol and maintain your physique or even lose weight, but it's important to stay mindful so the calories don't cost you. According to Healthline, alcohol is made up of "empty calories," meaning it provides limited nutrients. Calorie content varies depending on the beverage.

The average 12-ounce can of beer has about 155 calories, compared to a 5-ounce serving of red wine that has 125 calories. Liquor typically has the lowest amount of calories, as long as calorie-packed mixers like fruit juice or soda aren't added to it (per Mindbodygreen). The average shot of tequila and vodka contains about 64 calories. Gin has a slightly higher calorie content at about 73 calories per shot. If drinking spirits straight isn't your style, healthy additions to make a mixed drink that won't bust your diet include, diet soda, tonic, lemon, or lime juice. The worst choices are sugary cocktails and frozen drinks like piña coladas and daiquiris, climbing to a whopping 280-500 calories per drink (via Everyday Health).

If weight loss is your goal, cutting out alcohol completely may be something to consider. Registered dietician, Lori Zanini, tells Everyday Health, "It's important to note that alcohol consumption can impact our metabolism and make weight loss more challenging."

A liquor-free option is to opt for mocktails, but you'll still want to watch out for high-calorie mixers. Healthy choices can include mocktails made with low-calorie or zero-calorie beverages like flavored, sparkling water.