Best and Worst Drinks for Losing Weight

A nice relaxing drink at the end of the day or with a meal might be just what you are looking forward to. But be careful as you could be adding too many calories.


Many of us watch what we eat but not what we drink when on a diet.

That’s a mistake because on average we drink one out of five of our daily calories.

Choosing the right drinks can tweak your metabolism, curb your appetite, and help cut calories but which ones can help and which can hinder?

Hinderer: Soft drinks

Every time you drink a can or a bottle of these, you get hundreds of empty calories.

Switching to diet soft drinks is an obvious way to cut calories, but the research is mixed on whether this switch leads to weight loss. Some studies show a short-term benefit but others find diet drinkers gain weight.

The artificial sweeteners in diet drinks have their own drawbacks so check what your drink contains.

Helper: Water

Replacing carbonated soft drinks with water will cut hundreds of calories a day. Drinking two glasses of water before a meal may also help you feel full faster, so you don’t eat as much.

Drinking enough water can have a positive effect on your metabolism.

Jury’s out: Fruit juice

Juice can have as many calories as soft drinks, but it has more nutrients. This presents a dilemma: you want the vitamins and antioxidants without all the extra sugar.

Look for 100% fruit juice and steer clear of juice drinks that have added sweeteners. Check the nutrition label for the percentage of real juice.

You can also slash calories by diluting the juice with water, rather than drinking it neat. I have been doing this for years, and it is certainly helpful, and can also be useful in retraining a sweet tooth.

Helper: Vegetable juice

Vegetable juice is as nutritious as fruit juice, but with about half the calories and can have a lot more salt so always check the label. This is particularly true if you have high blood pressure because the higher the daily salt intake, the higher the systolic blood pressure.

One cup of tomato juice has 41 calories, compared to 122 calories for orange juice. Choosing juice with pulp provides some fibre, too, which may help control hunger.

Jury’s out: Smoothies

Blend a banana, strawberries, and blueberries into a frothy smoothie, and you’ve got a delicious drink.

Make your own, so you can control the ingredients: use skimmed milk (or an alternative like almond milk) and fresh or frozen fruit are all you need.

If ordering a smoothie outside, check the ingredients as they may include ice cream, honey, or other sweeteners that boost the calorie count sky-high.

Jury’s out: Low-fat milk

Eating calcium-rich foods is good for your muscles and nerves, helps blood vessels move blood throughout your body and  release hormones that affect many functions.

You need Vitamin D to help your body absorb calcium and some research shows that drinking higher amounts of milk or eating other dairy foods can help with weight loss.

For the best all-around benefits, stick to skimmed or low-fat milk.

Hinderer: Energy drinks

Most sports and energy drinks are calorie bombs. They may have more added nutrients, but you can find the same vitamins and minerals in low-calorie foods.

When you’re working on weight loss, stay hydrated with water rather than sports drinks, unless you need the extra nutrients because you’re exercising hard and sweating a lot.

Helper: Black coffee

When you need a shot of caffeine, coffee is a better choice than caffeinated or energy drinks. Black coffee has around 5 calories a cup and rich in antioxidants.

Studies have shown that drinking 3 to 4 cups a day may improve mood and concentration, and may also lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer.

Hinderer: Speciality coffees

Once you add cream, flavoured syrups, or a topping of whipped cream, your mug of black coffee is full of fat and sugar.

Specialty coffees can have up to 600 calories per cup: possibly more than an entire meal! If you don’t like your coffee black, add a little almond or skimmed milk to keep the calorie count low.

One cup of almond milk contains only 39 calories, which is half that of skimmed milk

Helper: Green Tea

Green tea is an excellent choice when you’re looking for a little boost. Not only is it calorie-free but some research suggests green tea extract may stimulate weight loss.

It’s not clear exactly how that works, but caffeine and micronutrients called catechins may each play a role. The benefit appears to last only a few hours, so it may help to drink green tea at least twice a day.

Hinderer: Alcopops and wine mixers

These may sound light and airy, but they are heavy on calories. They are flavoured alcoholic beverages with relatively low alcohol content (e.g., 3–7% alcohol by volume).

However, a 12-ounce drink containing wine can have 190-315 calories. Normal wine is not exactly a diet drink either, with 100 calories in a 5-ounce glass.

A low-calorie alternative is a wine spritzer: Mix a dash of wine with some sparkling or soda water.

Hinderer: Cocktails

A shot of most spirits has fewer calories than wine or wine mixers, but once you add a mixer or cream, watch out.

An 8-ounce white Russian made with cream has 715 calories. A less fattening option is to mix rum or vodka with soda.

If your favourite is Pina Colada this recipe will cut the calories. Instead of the the sugary coconut milk mix, measure one shot of coconut rum, add fresh strawberries, a splash of agave syrup, and blend with ice.

You get a tall, 12-ounce tropical cocktail for about the same calories as in a handful of pretzel twists.

Berry Daiquiri is a favourite drink but runs around 145 calories. Cut that by using fresh or frozen strawberries and you get intense berry flavour for just 50 calories, compared with 255 calories in berries frozen with syrup.

Add rum, ice, and if you need more sweetness then use something like Stevia, a natural sugar substitute. Blend into a slim and delicious frozen concoction.

Gin and tonic is a timeless classic drink, but did you know that tonic water has nearly as many calories as carbonated soft drinks?

Switch to diet tonic water for a skinny version of this favourite cocktail or try soda water instead with a squeeze of lime juice.

Helper: Skinny cocktail ingredients

Choose fresh 100% juice rather than mixes
Switch soft drink mixers and try sparkling water, or soda
Fewer ingredients mean fewer calories.
Check how much you drink for your waistline and health

Hinderer: Skinny cocktail no no’s

Don’t add cream spirits or liqueurs. They double the calories in a cocktail
Don’t use several shots in one drink. A Long Island iced tea has seven ingredients and 700 calories!
Don’t order an after-dinner drink, which is often sweet
Don’t have a sweet dessert wine, which has about 40 calories more than ordinary wine

Helper: Low alcohol wine and beer

OK, drinking wine or beer is not really going to help you lose weight, but switching to a low calorie/low alcohol version can help.

Non-alcoholic wine is easily the lowest in calories, with just 9 calories a glass against 109-120 calories of a normal wine.

If beer is more your thing, then a 12-ounce serving has about 100 calories, compared to 150 calories for normal beer.

Helpful information 

I hope these tips have helped and if you want more information on a good weight loss diet that could also increase your energy levels, then this article is what you need.