The first advice you normally hear when starting a diet is to give up alcohol. It makes sense: Alcohol has seven calories per gram, higher than everything except pure fat, which is nine calories per gram. But just like eating moderate amounts of good fat won’t make you gain weight, you may not have to close the liquor cabinet for good. An alcohol study in 2015 found that “light to moderate alcohol intake is not associated with weight gain or changes in waist circumference.” There’s hope.
The study clarifies that limiting yourself to two drinks per day will keep the pounds from creeping on. It also found that beer drinkers had a higher likelihood to gain weight from alcohol. There are a few diets out there that understand this and want people to have a little fun while getting in shape. Here are five diets that won’t make you give up alcohol.
Weight Watchers allows people to factor in alcohol when budgeting out their SmartPoints, the system that the diet uses to keep track of calories. The amount of points in each drink varies, but the rankings make sense when you think about what goes into a cocktail. Something like a Vodka Soda is the least amount of points, followed by cocktails high in alcohol but low in sugary mixers like a Martini. Sadly, most tiki drinks are no-gos.
The Keto diet has quickly gained popularity, especially this year. It essentially tells people to cut out sugar and carbs, and to eat more fat. It also allows alcohol, as long as said alcohol doesn’t have residual sugars. That pretty much limits your options to full proof spirits and cocktails made with said spirits. Highballs, shots, and even Bloody Marys and the drink’s many variations are Keto friendly (so long as there’s no added sugar in your Bloody Mary mix).
The Jenny Craig diet relies on smaller portions, not the elimination of food and beverage groups altogether. You don’t have to give up anything; you just have to consume it in pre-approved portions. A small after work drink is better than no after work drink.
This diet is based on the TV show of the same name, and the six week program can seem a little extreme. Luckily, it’s not extreme about alcohol limitations. The Biggest Loser diet allows 200 calories of “extras,” and alcohol can be that extra if you decide to skip dessert. Just make sure to find a drink that’s less than 200 calories.
Volumetrics works on the premise that people eat the same weight of food regardless of what type of food they’re eating. Eating a pound of vegetables has a lot less calories than a pound of meat, so people should eat a higher volume of low calorie food in order to consume less calories, all without eating less food. The diet allows people to treat alcohol much the same way. Things like a Tequila Soda is less dense, while sips like the Old Fashioned are considered high-density because they contain a lot of sugar.