Drinking alcohol in moderation benefits your health and your diet. Before you start running down the street with an Atkins bar and a bottle, there are a few things you should know.
- The good and bad news about alcohol
- How to drink on a low carb diet
- Low carb alcohol list: wine, liquor, beer, mixers
Thinking of drinking on low carb? Your low carb diet already protects you from some of alcohol’s negative effects.
Use our low carb alcohol quick list to keep those carbs in check.
It’s all here. The good news (there’s plenty), the bad news and the safest way to drink on your diet.
One warning: Please don’t go crazy. Hangovers on low carb are nightmarish. Ask around.
Alcohol and Low Carb Diets
First, the Bad News
Like fructose, alcohol is a toxin and horrible for your liver.
Studies show alcohol damages the liver more when high amounts of polyunsaturated fat is also being consumed.
Thankfully, the low carb diet is already very low in polyunsaturated fat, adding some protection from the damage of alcohol on the liver.
Warnings for Low Carbers
- Ketosis lowers your alcohol tolerance, so drink slowly.
- Alcohol disrupts coordination and fine motor skills, and causes a loss of inhibitions. Remember that time when…
Of course you don’t. Be careful.
- While drinking alcohol, food cravings and temptations are more difficult to resist.
- Alcohol acts as a diuretic, causing dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.
Can I Drink on a Low Carb Diet?
Once you are stable on your diet it is perfectly fine to drink in moderation.
Be aware of the carbs and calories in your drink, and the slowing effect it has on fat burning.
Your body has no mechanism to store the energy in alcohol, so you will metabolize the calories in alcohol first.
While your body is metabolizing alcohol, it is NOT metabolizing fat.
Consuming alcohol will not knock you out of ketosis completely, but it will delay the results.
Alcohol and Gluten
Wine and beer are direct products of sugar or starch fermentation.
- Wine comes from plants like grapes, and beer comes from grains like barley or wheat.
- Barley contains gluten protein- not the best choice on a low carb diet.
Liquor is the product of fermentation followed by distillation, making the alcohol content higher.
Liquor often comes from grain fermentation, but the distillation process eliminates any residues or proteins from the grains, making them entirely gluten-free.
Low Carb Alcohol: The Good News
- Moderate alcohol consumption improves insulin sensitivity.
- Alcohol lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Red wines contain cancer-preventing antioxidants.
- Alcohol lowers the risk of infection with helicobacter pylori, bacteria that causes ulcers.
- Occasional low carb alcohol consumption is a way to relax and celebrate during social events.
Low Carb Alcohol List
Whether you like liquor, wine or beer, there are many delicious low carb alcohol choices.
Below are four Atkins low carb alcohol lists to help you make fast decisions at the store or when you’re out on the town.
Low Carb Cocktails
You’ll be happy to know that most straight, unflavored alcohol is low carb, as in zero carb. How about zero carb plus a jolt of antioxidants?
- Research reports impressive antioxidant activity in bourbon whiskey, brandy and cognac.
- Whiskey aged in wood barrels has higher phenol levels and more ellagic acid (a free radical fighter) than red wine.
- A study found one serving of agave-based tequila consumed daily for 30 days decreased insulin sensitivity.
Carbs in Liquor
(1 Jigger/1.5 oz., Unflavored, 80 proof)
Vodka, Gin, Whiskey, Scotch, Rum, Tequila, Brandy, Cognac:
96 calories, 0 carbs
Water, Diet Tonic Water or Diet Soda:
0 calories, 0 carbs
Dry: 1.4 carbs (To lower carbs, order it extra dry.)
Sweet: 4.5 carbs
Calories vary – check the bottle
Low Carb Drink Mixers
Making cocktails with triple sec, Bailey’s, Grand Marnier or other non-straight-alcohol substances?
Carbs in drink mixers add up quickly.
Use this low carb alcohol mixers list to count the carbs and make better choices before you mix that drink.
Carbs in Drink Mixers & Liqueurs
(Net carb counts for a 1 oz. serving.)
|Amaretto||17 g||Almond-tasting Italian liqueur made from apricot pits|
|Anisette||11 g||Italian liqueur from anise seed, licorice flavored|
|Baileys||5.5 g||Irish blend of cream and whiskey|
|Carolan’s||6.5 g||Irish blend of cream and whiskey|
|Chambord||11 g||French berry liqueur, tastes like raspberries|
|Chartreuse||pending||French herbal bend of 130 plants + alcohol|
|Cointreau||10 g||Style of curacao, orange flavored alcohol|
|Curacao||9.6 g||Orange flavored alcohol from Caribbean|
|Drambuie||9 g||Scotch whiskey with honey|
|Frangelico||11 g||Italian liqueur made from hazelnuts|
|Grand Marnier||11 g||French brandy-based orange-flavored liqueur|
|Kahlua||17 g||Mexican liqueur with coffee flavor|
|Midori||11 g||Mexican liqueur with honeydew melon flavor|
|Peach Schnapps||12 g||Alcohol distilled from fruit|
|Southern Comfort||3 g||Peach flavored neutral grain alcohol|
|Triple Sec||12.5 g||Style of curacao, orange flavored alcohol|
Low Carb Wine
Almost all wine is naturally low carb.
Red wine in particular has the most health benefits (from polyphenols, antioxidants and age-defying Resveratrol) with the fewest carbs and additives.
Avoid the sweeter, low alcohol wines if you’re looking for a low carb option.
Carbs in Wine
(6 oz. Serving)
Pinot Noir: 121 calories, 3.4 carbs
Merlot: 120 calories, 3.7 carbs
Cabernet: 120 calories, 3.8 carbs
(6 oz. Serving)
Champagne/Sparkling Whites: 96 calories, 1.5 carbs
Pinot Gris/Grigio: 122 calories, 3.2 carbs
Chardonnay: 118 calories, 3.7 carbs
Riesling: 118 calories, 5.5 carbs
Does Low Carb Beer Exist?
Yes – if you find lighter, bitter beers delicious. Most beers have too many carbs per serving to be enjoyed on a regular basis.
Check out the taste test results of 27 low carb beers and a massive 250 beer list to compare alcohol content, calories and carbs.
Easy-to-Find Low Carb Beer
Unfortunately for beer connoisseurs, imported, micro-brewed and complex beers are very high in carbs and calories- especially red, amber or dark beers.
Before you get depressed, there’s still some good news about beer.
Many light beers are safe to drink on a low carb diet. Here are several easy-to-find low carb beers:
(12 oz. Serving)
Bud Select: 55 calories, 1.9 carbs
Rolling Rock Green Light: 92 calories, 2.4 carbs
Miller Genuine Draft: 64 calories, 2.4 carbs
Michelob Ultra: 95 calories, 2.6 carbs
Natural Light: 95 calories, 3.2 carbs
Miller Lite: 96 calories, 3.2 carbs
Michelob Ultra Amber: 114 calories, 3.7 carbs
Amstel Light: 95 calories, 5 carbs
Coors Light: 102 calories, 5 carbs
Bud Light: 110 calories, 6.6 carbs
Did you know your favorite high carb beer can actually help you lose more weight if you save it for a low carb cheat day?
Your Social Life
Being on a low carb diet does not mean the end of your social life. Handled the right way, alcohol and low carb mix beautifully.
Drinking low carb alcohol in moderation is perfectly acceptable if you drink responsibly, count every calorie, stay hydrated and eat healthy low carb snacks.
Almost Zero Carb Meal Plan
The Almost Zero meal plan is three easy days, one aggressive technique, and major fat loss.
The plan is designed to break even the worst stall, and burn off large amounts of stored fat – in 3 days.
- The Technique
- 75 Recipes (60 under 1 net carb)
- Sample Menus
If what you’re doing isn’t working, get the meal plan now.
Keep Calm and Low Carb