Published November 26, 2020

Holiday Alcohol & Weight Loss

by Helen M. Ryan
Helen with santa hat at museum

So, can drinking alcohol prevent weight loss?

I'm not here to rain on your holiday parade. Really. I love a little shot of Jack Daniels Southern Peach when I can't sleep myself.

For the holidays, though... I'm not a drinker. I do go crazy for desserts and candy sometimes (OK - often - around Christmas).

Some people prefer imbibing around the h̶e̶l̶l̶i̶d̶a̶y̶s̶ holidays. Nothing wrong with a little wine, beer, or vodka. Balance, baby.


…even if you are a little careful to not overeat during the (loooong) holiday season, alcohol can throw your weight loss off course. On its own. Like a (non)helpful Elf.

It doesn’t seem like a lot, but those calories can sure add up fast. One glass of wine becomes three. One beer becomes four. And ya’ know…hello, calories.

A 5 oz. glass of red wine (who drinks just 5 ounces?) is 123 calories. But a more realistic 250ml glass is about 220 calories. Maybe you have three glasses. That’s 660 calories. Before food.

If you are on a 1,400-calorie diet, that’s almost half your calorie intake for the day.

But you don’t have to give it all up. Budget for it.

If you know you’re going to want a glass of wine or a cocktail with your meal, skip the dessert. Or skip the bread. Skip the food/drinks you don’t really love so you can have what you do love.

So what are some lower calorie drink options?

  • Crook & Marker Spiked Sodas, 80 calories per
  • White Claw Hard Seltzer, 100 calories per
  • Barefoot Hard Seltzer, 60 calories per
  • Vodka with soda water, 60-90 calories per half to full shot (add a splash of cranberry juice for a festive few extra calories)
  • Whiskey, 100 calories per shot (spruce it up with different add-ins)
  • Ouzo, 91 calories per shot (so good and tastes like licorice)
  • Gin and Tonic, 150 calories (less if you use sugar free, but I’m not a fan of diet sodas)
  • Dry white with light alcohol (6 oz.), 115-140 calories
  • Red wine with light alcohol (6 oz), 135-165 calories

Don't wait until January. You can still lose weight and feel better over the holiday season. No one feels great with a sugar or alcohol hangover.

PHOTO: Polish Vodka Museum, Warsaw, Poland