After a low calorie vodka to sip on this summer? Well, you're in the right place. If you're aiming for healthy, sustainable weight loss then re-evaluating the alcohol you consume is essential. Swapping sugary cocktails, beer, and wine for a drink made with this clear, grainy spirit may help you achieve your goal.
That's not to say that choosing vodka - which contains the fewest calories of all alcoholic beverages - makes your drink of choice actively 'healthy'. Indeed, it's important to remember the link between drinking alcohol and the risk of serious adverse health conditions like high blood pressure, heart and liver disease, stroke, and many forms of cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend women have no more than one drink per day, while the NHS are a little clearer and suggests no more than 14 units a week (25ml shot of vodka = 1 unit).
If you plan to engage in mindful drinking this weekend - which means building a healthier relationship with alcohol so that you drink in moderation - then vodka makes a great basis for a refreshing beverage. As we'll explain, the spirit serves as one of the lowest calorie alcohol options out there, and we've also called on an expert to share what to consider when balancing drinking with weight loss.
What is low calorie vodka?
On average, one 1oz (30ml) 'shot' of vodka will measure in at significantly below a hundred calories. Now, that's not insignificant, if you're striving to lose one stone in a month, because it will easily add up over time to a lot of extra calories saved from your drinks order or on a night out. Gin, tequila and sambuca all generally contain far more for the same amount.
Why is checking in with your drinking - and consumption of spirits in particular - so important if healthy, sustainable weight loss is your goal? "Alcohol affects your ability to lose weight in many ways," says Rachel Clarkson, a nutrigenomic dietitian and Doctify-reviewed specialist. "Most spirits do not contain any nutritional value, meaning there are no macro or micro-nutrients. All the calories in spirits are purely from alcohol."
How this relates to fat loss and losing weight without dieting excessively is as follows: "When you consume alcoholic drinks like spirits, the body will preferentially break down the alcohol for energy, instead of any glucose or stored fat. This can slow down the weight loss process because if your body is frequently using alcohol for energy, it will never be able to burn the stored fat which is what leads to weight loss."
Clarkson, who is also the founder of The DNA Dietitian, adds: "The other way alcohol affects your ability to lose weight is that we are not able to make good food choices while drinking, which can also hinder weight loss."
However, that's not to say you need to stick exclusively to low calorie non-alcoholic drinks in a can on a gorgeous summer's day. "I believe moderate alcohol consumption can fit during a weight loss journey, In fact, if you plan to continue drinking in the future, it is essential to learn healthy drinking habits to ensure you are able to maintain your lost weight long term," insists Clarkson.
"It is important to choose more weight loss-friendly, lower carbohydrate alcohol options like spirits and dry wine. Additionally, looking to lower calorie mixers to reduce the overall energy content of your drink can be useful."
There are a number of low calorie cocktails and low calorie alcoholic drinks in a can now available, but if you fancy making your own drink then vodka's low calorie content makes it a great place to start - here are some options to stock up on...
Low calorie vodka options
1. Absolut Vodka
You'll likely already be acquainted with Absolut Vodka, which is one of the most iconic vodka brands in the world and is produced in Sweden. It famously comes in a variety of flavors, from raspberry to vanilla, but choose the original option and it contains just 66 calories per 1oz (30ml) serving.
2. Grey Goose Vodka
Another well-known, but slightly more luxurious choice is Grey Goose Vodka. The French brand makes its smooth spirit from just two ingredients and distills it before bottling. Much like Absolut, it has 66 calories per 1oz (30ml) serving.
3. Belvedere Vodka
If you're after another high-end choice, then Belvedere Vodka works mighty fine. The Polish brand, which has been operating for 600 years, quadruple distills its drink - which contains a still-impressive 69 calories per 1oz (30ml) serving.
4. Smirnoff Vodka
As the largest vodka brand in the world, Smirnoff Vodka is present on most supermarket and bar shelves, making it an easily accessible choice. It's also the lowest calorie vodka of all the low calorie vodka on this list at 62 calories for a 1oz (30ml) serving.
5. Cîroc Vodka
Cîroc Vodka is a low calorie vodka made from French grapes in a process inspired by wine production. The fresh, crisp result is a product that contains 69 calories per 1oz (30ml) serving.
6. Effen Vodka
The Dutch brand Effen Vodka chill-distill and carbon filter their vodka before blending it with spring water to create their premium offering. There are 64 calories per 1oz (30ml) serving.
7. Svedka Vodka
As its name suggests, Svedka Vodka hails from Sweden. This low calorie vodka is known for its fun flavored options - from strawberry lemonade to cucumber lime - but its original version contains 70 calories per 1oz (30ml).
8. Tito's Vodka
Tito's Vodka is produced in Texas, where it's still handmade in old-fashioned pot stills. It contains 70 calories per 1oz (30ml) serving, much like Svedka.
9. Ketel One Vodka
Another popular option is Ketel One Vodka, which is produced in a Dutch distillery that is more than 300 years old. Their finely-tuned recipe contains 69 calories per 1oz (30ml) serving.
10. Stolichnaya Vodka
Often nicknamed 'stoli', the Stolichnaya Vodka brand has been produced for more than 65 years in Latvia. Its wheat and rye grain-based recipe contains 69 calories per 1oz (30ml) serving.
11. Deep Eddy Vodka
Last but not least is Deep Eddy Vodka, which is a gluten-free brand of vodka inspired by the oldest swimming hole in Austin, Texas. Distilled 10 times over, it contains an estimated 70 calories per 1oz (30ml) serving.
Why is vodka so low in calories?
It's all in the ingredients. Vodka is made from just ethanol and water, which provide no sugar, carbs, fiber, cholesterol, fat, sodium, vitamins or minerals. This means that all of the calories come from the alcohol it contains.
"Different alcoholic drinks contain different calories because of the production process," explains Clarkson. "Every gram of alcohol contains seven calories, but different alcoholic drinks contain different quantities of alcohol and carbohydrates - depending on the fermentation process - which causes the calorie content to differ."
This is the reason why the calorie content of certain vodkas will differ slightly. It's also important to be aware that the flavored vodka options, which are tastier, will contain more calories as they have been infused with sugary syrups that are added after the fermentation and distilling process - which won't be helping your blood sugar cravings.
Low calorie vodka mixers to try
If you want to add a bit of flavor to your vodka (we totally get you) then there are some ways to make the spirit more interesting without sabotaging your recommended daily sugar intake. Try adding your bottle of choice to these mixtures for refreshing results...
- Vodka soda cocktail - 1oz vodka, can of soda, squeeze of lemon = 131 calories
- Vodka cranberry cocktail - 1oz vodka, 2oz cranberry juice, 2oz soda, lime wedge = 162 calories
- Vodka tonic - 1oz vodka, 4oz diet tonic water, lime wedge = 128 calories
- Vodka orange - 1oz vodka, cup of orange juice = 250 calories
- Vodka lemonade - 1oz vodka, can of lemonade = 310 calories
- Vodka diet coke - 1oz vodka, can of diet coke = 138 calories