The 5 Worst Alcoholic Drinks When You’re Dieting — And Easy Substitutions To Save Calories And Fat

SUMMER means long days, shorter nights and usually more social events and drinking.

However, if you are trying to watch your weight, this excessive alcohol consumption can be a problem as it can provide a fair amount of calories without any nutritional value.


A few simple changes to your beverage intake can make a big difference to your calorie and fat intake

So how can you go out and drink without it having too much of an impact on your waist size?

Georgia Chilton, nutritionist at Fresh Fitness Food, shares the five worst summer drinks from an expert perspective — and what to drink instead.


A beer garden favourite, a pint of beer can be a refreshing summer drink.

However, according to Georgia, a pint can contain between 200 and 300 calories, depending on the type you choose.

“Choose a lower-calorie alternative if your goal is to lose fat,” she says.

Exchange:The market for beer with and without alcohol is booming. There is a huge range of alcohol-free beers available for a fraction of the calories.

Try Corona Extra, which contains 148 calories per bottle, Coors Light which has just 102 calories per 350ml serving, or Lucky Saint, a low-alcohol alternative at just 53 calories per bottle.

Pina colada

A Piña Colada is a beach cocktail that is always worth a photo. Unfortunately, it is one of the most caloric cocktails, with around 300 to 400 calories!

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Georgia says: “They contain coconut cream, which is high in fat and calories, plus pineapple juice, which quickly increases the sugar content.

“A typical serving can contain more than 15 grams of fat, which is almost one-fifth of the recommended intake for women.”

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Exchange: For a similar flavor, try rum and coconut water with a splash of pineapple juice.

“This option is lower in sugar and calories, hydrating thanks to the coconut water, and lower in calories, at about 150 calories per serving,” says Georgia.

A lighter option that is still sweet is alcopops. These vary in calories but contain around 170 calories.

You can make a healthier Piña Colada without the coconut cream


You can make a healthier Piña Colada without the coconut creamSource: Getty


Daiquiris come in a variety of flavors, both frozen and non-frozen.

Georgia says: “They’re about 200 to 300 calories, depending on the size.

“They are often made with ready-made mixes that are known to be high in sugar.

“Given the high added sugar content, you’re likely to experience a rapid spike in your blood sugar levels and then have them drop again, affecting your energy levels and hunger.”

Exchange: Opt for a classic daiquiri with fresh lime juice, a little syrup and rum.

“This version is lower in sugar and calories, about 120 to 150 calories per serving,” says Georgia.

Or, a glass of prosecco (125 ml) contains only 80 calories.

Long Island Iced Tea

Because there are no less than five different types of alcohol in one drink (vodka, white rum, gin, tequila and triple sec), a Long Island Ice Tea has a very high alcohol percentage. That also means a high calorie content.

Depending on how it’s made, one of these spicy drinks can contain over 500 calories!

Georgia says: “On top of the alcohol content, a Long Island Ice Tea is topped off with cola and syrup, which dramatically increases the sugar content.

“You will likely experience a rapid spike and then a drop in your blood sugar levels, which will affect your energy levels and hunger.”

This can lead to you reaching for high-calorie snacks such as chips, fries and burgers while drinking.

Exchange: Georgia recommends drinking a vodka soda with a dash of cola, with the diet version being best.

Georgia says, “This option is significantly lower in calories and sugar, with about 100 to 150 calories per serving.”

A Long Island Ice Tea contains up to five shots of liquor - about 500 calories alone


A Long Island Ice Tea contains up to five shots of liquor – about 500 calories aloneCredit: Alamy

Espresso Martini

Need an espresso martini to pick you up?

While one of these caffeinated cocktails may not be the highest calorie cocktail, at around 200 calories per drink.

But Georgia explains that the combination of alcohol and caffeine can be a problem.

She says: “Taking caffeine and alcohol at the same time has several counterproductive effects, especially because alcohol is a depressant and caffeine is a stimulant.

“These effects include fatigue and sedative effects caused by alcohol, as well as an increased sense of alertness, which can lead to more binge drinking.”

Oh, and don’t forget that alcohol already affects the quality of your sleep. So, when combined with caffeine, it’s not an ideal combination.

Exchange: Getting the bartender to make a cocktail exactly the way you like it isn’t always impossible. Ask if a decaf version is available to lessen the impact of caffeine.

Georgia says: “Also try a sugar-free coffee syrup or use a little less syrup in general.

“This reduces the amount of sugar and calories, preserving the espresso flavor and having less impact on calorie intake.”

Or opt for a seltzer cocktail, like the White Claw Hard Seltzer Black Cherry – a ready-to-drink cocktail with only 95 calories.

It’s made with sparkling water and hydration can give you a boost.

The combination of caffeine and alcohol in an espresso martini can lead to binge drinking, warns Georgia


The combination of caffeine and alcohol in an espresso martini can lead to binge drinking, warns GeorgiaCredit: Alamy

Diet for the next day

A salad won’t make you slim, and one night out won’t make you fat. There will always be ups and downs.

But, as Georgia explains, there are also a few things you can keep in mind when you drink to help limit the impact of alcohol on what you eat the next day.

She says, “Drink water between alcoholic drinks to stay hydrated and reduce your overall alcohol consumption. Make sure you eat a nutritionally balanced meal before drinking to slow down alcohol absorption and reduce your cravings for high-calorie snacks when you eat out.”

She also advises choosing high-quality alcoholic beverages that you really like, rather than cheap, lower-quality drinks.

“Enjoy the flavors of a fine wine, craft beer or a well-made cocktail,” she says.

“This way you appreciate the experience more and consume alcohol in a more meaningful way. It also means you are likely to drink less.”

You can also opt for lower alcohol or non-alcoholic versions of your favorite drinks.

Surprising remedies for a hangover

If you’ve woken up with a groggy head and a stiff body from a day or night of alcohol, you need to nourish your body to regain its strength.

Unhealthy, high-calorie foods can hinder your weight loss efforts and make the hangover worse.

Shona Wilkinson, Nutritionist at Dr.Vegan says: “Excessive alcohol consumption damages your liver. To detox your liver and relieve nasty hangover symptoms such as nausea, headaches and dehydration, try some of the ingredients below.”

Onions and garlic

According to Shona, both foods contain a nutrient called sulfur, which is essential for liver detoxification.

“Toxins in the body basically bind to the sulfur and are then excreted from the body.”

Lemon peel

Adding some lemon zest to a glass of water or grating some lemon zest over your food can help relieve hangover symptoms.

Shona says: “Lemon peel contains a compound called limonene, which helps your body detoxify itself by removing cancer-causing substances from the body.

“There is research to suggest that lemon peel may even be an effective solution for migraines and headaches, as it is a great source of vitamin C.”


It is the substance naringin in grapefruit, which helps protect the liver against all kinds of damage.

Shona says: “There are many medications that do not mix well with grapefruit, so check with your doctor before adding too much grapefruit to your diet if you are taking prescription medications.”

Pickle juice

Strangely enough, pickle juice is packed with electrolytes like sodium and potassium, which Shona says are essential for a number of vital bodily processes.

She says: “Electrolytes help us stay hydrated by regulating the amount of water in our cells so they can function properly.

“If you have a hangover, this is the perfect medicine.”

Plan ahead for the next day and make sure your fridge is stocked with nutritious foods and meals. This will help you avoid buying unhealthy, high-calorie fast food.

Georgia says: “Also plan in some physical activity.

“I don’t recommend going for a 10K run the morning after, but something gentle like a walk or some yoga is a good way to get moving, rather than sitting on the couch.

“Chances are that this will make you feel a lot better and more energetic.”

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