Healthy Alcoholic Drinks: How to Have Fun Without Getting a Beer Belly

by Darrin on August 6, 2010

healthy alcoholic drinksYeah, we all want to look sexier, more powerful, increase energy levels, and live longer. But when we guys TRY to get our health together in pursuit of these goals, a few common roadblocks keep turning up. One of these obstacles is cutting back on the booze.

As luck would have it, you can lose fat, build muscle, AND get your drink on, if you know how to do it correctly – go easy on the sauce and stick with healthy alcoholic drinks.

The Benefits and Hazards of Booze

Research has found that moderate consumption of alcohol is beneficial to your health. It increases insulin sensitivity and raises HDL (good) cholesterol, amongst many other perks.

Of course, you can go too far with drinking. Calling your ex at three in the morning is bad enough, but when you get into a bar fight or start driving on the wrong side of the freeway, you are putting yourself in a tight spot.

So remember this one rule: Have a couple drinks, but keep it classy. (Okay, okay. Cut loose every now and then. Just don’t do anything that will put you or someone else in danger.)

Sugar: A Terrible Drinking Buddy

If you rarely drink, it probably doesn’t matter what you have when you do. But for those of us who like to indulge a bit more, there is one villain that we need to be ever-vigilant of: sugar.

Once upon a time, men liked their drinks stiff. These days, we think the mark of a good drink is when you can’t taste the alcohol. Unfortunately, in order to do this, bartenders must load the drink up with sugar and syrups to mask it.

Sugar and other refined carbohydrates lead to chronically elevated insulin, which in turn causes your body to store fat away 24/7. I shouldn’t need to tell you that this is a very BAD thing. In order to enjoy healthy alcoholic drinks, we need to cowboy up and take all the girly, fruity stuff out of it.

In other words, drink what James Bond would drink, not the stars of Sex in the City.

The Basics

So, if the biggest thing we need to worry about is the mixers, it stands to reason that the straight stuff should be best. Here’s some good choices:

  • Wine
  • Shots (no fruity stuff!)
  • Whiskey on the rocks

I didn’t include beer here because it packs such a caloric punch. Normally, I don’t worry about calories, but it seems like when you drink your energy in liquid form, your body doesn’t respond by feeling full like if you ate solid food. But I will recommend Guinness as a tasty and surprisingly low-calorie beer. If you just can’t give up your favorite microbrew, make sure you moderate it. They don’t call it a beer gut for nothing!

A Tasty Drink That Will Keep You Lean

I’m sure not everyone can handle shots of hard liquor or whiskey on the rocks, so let’s make a mixed drink that tastes good, won’t make you grow fat, and won’t knock you flat on your ass:

  1. Fill a glass with ice.
  2. Add a shot of liquor (whiskey, gin, tequila, etc).
  3. Top the glass off with soda water.
  4. Add a squeeze of fresh lime.

There ya go! A simple, quick, and refreshing drink. You can get it at any bar, and you don’t need to be well-stocked to make it at home.

The Cocktails

Like I said earlier, guys today are sissies when it comes to drinking compared to their grandparents. You can always go “old-school” and rest assured that you aren’t drinking too much sugar water. Here’s a few you can’t go wrong with:

  • Martini
  • Manhattan
  • Bloody Mary
  • Sidecar

While alcoholic drinks should in no way be considered “health food,” it certainly won’t hurt you to imbibe now and then, especially when you stick with these healthy alcoholic drinks. Life’s too short to avoid the things you enjoy, so let me raise my glass in toast. Cheers!


Kevin - Dharma Fitness Path August 6, 2010 at 8:46 am

You’re definitely right about the sugars. I’m more of a beer guy (Guinness, microbrews, etc) but I enjoy an occasional whiskey and coke. I’ve slowly started to move to a whiskey on the rocks instead. Excellent post.

Dave - Fitness Training Tips August 6, 2010 at 11:45 am

Some good tips on reducing the impact of alcoholic drinks. Not sure if you’ve read it, but Martin Berkham at Leangains had an interesting take alcohol, fat loss, and muscle growth.

Raymond-ZenMyFitness August 6, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Great suggestions to follow … I hardly drink cause I do think it puts my hard efforts to waste but when I do I have changed to similar ideas you have mentioned.
If its beer I like full strength and have found Irish Beer Kilkenny has the lowest Sugar and carbs of any beer … it also not a typf of beer you guzzle quickly which helps.
I stick to straight white spirits neat.. I love Cold Vodka shots and sometimes drink Scotch straight I never use mixers and stay away from the creamy ones.
Ice Cool Topic!

Yavor August 7, 2010 at 12:14 am

Darrin, top post man. I don’t drink very often but must say that when I flush a few beers every night I gain fat… fast!

Darrin August 7, 2010 at 11:02 am


Thanks for dropping by. I do love me a good beer as well. I just make sure to not keep them on hand very often.


I always love Martin’s posts. We have the same philosophy (maximizing your fitness with minimal time investment), so everyone reading this will love his stuff as well! He’s very advanced and technical, whereas my line of thinking is to make it as easy as possible, however. Here’s a link to the article for all y’all: The Truth About Alcohol, Fat Loss, and Muscle Growth.


I’m not a fan of light beers either. (Not a fan of “light” anything!) When I do drink a beer, I never half-ass it and go for the good stuff.


No shame in avoiding alcohol either. Especially when one beer has the tendency to become five beers… (I think we’ve all had those nights before!)

Kelly-Fitness Overhaul August 8, 2010 at 1:08 pm

I’m the sissy of this group, I guess! I love margaritas, not any fruity flavored types, just the regular ones! I like a glass of wine at dinner most nights and a margarita every once in a while!

I wouldn’t make a good James Bond and John Wayne would want to kick my ass! Oh well, you guys still like me, right?
(long silence) Guys. . . . ? Guys? Is anybody there? LOL


Darrin August 8, 2010 at 1:22 pm


Haha. Actually, a traditional margarita is pretty good and is one of my faves as well. At two parts tequila, one part triple sec, and one part lime juice, it’s a lot better than you might realize. However, most people’s idea of a margarita is a huge slushie filled with mostly fruity syrups, with a little bit of tequila thrown in for good measure. Yech. The same thing happened to the daiquiri and it’s also happening to the mojito. So… if you are making the “old school” versions of these drinks, have at it! Otherwise, you might have a hard time finding the real deal at the bar. I think John Wayne would approve.

Kelly-Fitness Overhaul August 8, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Ok, Cool. So, I’m still kind of manly, right?

Alejandro "The Fittest Vegan" August 8, 2010 at 6:36 pm

I’ve gotten into the gin soda lately with limes and it rocks. Great drink. Perfect timing for your post, I’ve been questioning my drinking choices but you just validated them.

Darrin August 8, 2010 at 9:25 pm


Bro, don’t be so modest. You are THE man!

Darrin August 8, 2010 at 9:28 pm


As long as you are drinking in moderation, avoiding sugar, and not doing anything too dumb, there’s definitely no reason to feel guilty about having a drink!

Kelly-Fitness Overhaul August 9, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Yeah, a legend in my own mind!

Alykhan - Fitness Breakout August 9, 2010 at 9:43 pm


I’m actually a huge fan of beer, but I usually stick to light beer and I don’t drink as much as I used to a few years ago. Fortunately for me, drinking suppresses my appetite, so I don’t eat as much.


Darrin August 11, 2010 at 2:24 pm


Drinking beer definitely fills me up as well. Especially when I’m having the good stuff.

Steve - Social Anxiety Treatment Blog September 12, 2010 at 9:34 am


Congratulations on your blog. It looks like it’s going great. I check back every now and again and always find something of interest.

With regards to this post it’s good that you included wine. I went through a period of a few years where I didn’t drink at all, however I got tempted back and now love the occasional glass of a good pinot noir. My social outings wouldn’t be the same without it.


Darrin September 28, 2010 at 5:16 pm


Thanks, man! Glad to see you have your fitness blog up and running now as well!

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