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Drinking on Keto to Improve Your Diet

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 or keto diet
  • Alcohol lists: wine, liquor, beer, mixers

Yes, low carb beer.



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.


Alcohol, Keto and Low Carb Diets

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.


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 Keto Diet?

Yes, but…

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.


The Good News

  • Moderate low carb 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 mixer berries

Keto 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.


Keto 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

Martini Lovers:

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.)

Mixer/Liqueur: Carbs: Description:
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 alcohol wine. Close up of wine glasses.

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


White Wine

(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


Low carb beer on Atkins, mugs collide.

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

almost zero carb meal plan and holiday recipes ebook

Enter deep ketosis, break your stall, recover from your cheat day, or reset your diet in three days using this aggressive technique, first made famous by Dr. Robert Atkins over 40 years ago.


Science-Backed and Powerful

The Almost Zero Carb Meal Plan is a powerful tool, allowing metabolically-resistant dieters to reach deep nutritional ketosis quickly.

What happens when you follow the plan? Incredibly rapid fat loss.


Ditch the Nervous Carb Counting

Choose from 150+ easy recipes and food combos (with special macros and almost no carbs), plus a special Holiday Recipe section!

  • Break your toughest diet stall.
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  • Recover from an accidental cheat.
  • Avoid plateau completely: Use once a month.
  • Reach a deeper state of ketosis over the weekend.
  • Finally access and burn stubborn, stored fat.
  • Restart or reset your low carb or keto diet.
  • Add healthy fats effortlessly.
  • Decrease hunger naturally.
  • Sharpen your sense of portion control.


Drinking on Keto to Improve Your Diet

If You’re Doing Everything (but Nothing’s Working)…

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Category: Strategy