Many people think that when you go on a low carb diet, you have to give up your social life since you can no longer indulge in your favorite alcoholic drinks. Well, that’s not really true. In fact, there are a number of low carb alcoholic drinks that you can drink when following a low-carb diet, such as the keto diet.
If you’ve been craving for an alcoholic drink yet you are afraid that this might ruin your diet, here’s everything you need to know about drinking alcohol while on low carb.
Health Dangers of Alcohol
Before I get to the different alcoholic drinks that are the best ones to drink while on the diet, there are some important things to keep in mind when it comes to drinking alcohol.
Alcohol and your liver
We all know that alcohol is not good for the liver. Alcohol tends to be absorbed quickly into the blood stream where it’s taken to the liver to be detoxified. Due to genetics and nutrient status some people have better detox capabilities than others so alcohol can end up damaging the liver if it’s not detoxified properly.
The NHS (National Health Service, England) links alcohol drinking as one of the main causes of fatty liver. As stated on their website,
“Drinking a large amount of alcohol, even for just a few days, can lead to a build-up of fats in the liver.”
If you can discipline yourself to drink only a moderate amount of low carb alcoholic drinks, then this should not interfere with your low-carb diet.
Alcohol and cancer
Drinking alcohol can raise your risk of getting cancer. According to Cancer Research UK
Regularly drinking up to a pint of premium beer or a large glass of wine a day can increase the risk of mouth, upper throat, oesophageal (food pipe), breast and bowel cancers.
Alcohol and weight loss
First of all, consuming too much alcohol could slow down your process of losing weight and could undermine the health benefits of a low carb diet. When it’s taken in combination with carbohydrates, fats and proteins it’s the first fuel to be used postponing the fat-burning process and contributing to greater fat storage. It also adds calories.
Alcohol and sleep
People often rely on alcohol to help them fall asleep but the fact is that alcohol interferes with what’s called restorative sleep and it suppresses melatonin, the sleep hormone. You may get to seep easily enough when you drink alcohol but you can wake several hours later and have difficulty in getting back to sleep.
Best Low Carb Alcoholic Drinks
Here are some suggestions when it comes to drinking alcohol in a low carb diet.
Dry Wine – if you’re following a moderately low carb diet, which requires consuming 20 – 50 grams of carbs per day, then you can enjoy dry wines regularly without ruining your diet. However, if you’re still starting the ketogenic diet, which requires very strict low carb consumption in order to get into the ketosis, then you can only drink a glass of wine occasionally.
If you notice that you’re not losing any weight at all, then you might as well cut back on your alcohol consumption. Apart from dry wine, other wine options for low carb are unsweetened and unflavored champagne. These alcoholic drinks typically fall within the 4 to 5 grams net carbs range per serving.
Related reading: How Many Carbs Do You Need To Eat To Lose Weight?
Spirits – all unsweetened and unflavored spirits (liquor) like vodka, gin, brandy, whiskey, and tequila have 0g net carbs in them so they are okay for you to consume. However, liquor drinks that are mixed with juices, soft drinks, and sweeteners must be avoided.
For instance, adding tonic to gin that has zero net carbs could boost its carb content to as much as 16 grams per serving. As much, as possible, avoid mixing orange juices with vodka because this could give you a whopping 28 grams of carbs! You can have lime or soda water in your vodka instead.
Beer – most beer contains a high amount of carbs and this is why most people avoid beer when going on a low carb diet. But there are some light American beers that contain only a small amount of carbs.
Light beers usually have nutrition information on their labels so it’s important that you refer to this before you drink. But then again, just like with the other alcoholic drinks, it is best to consume beer in moderation especially since you’re in the low carb diet.
You don’t really need to totally avoid alcohol when going on a low carb diet for there are certain types of alcohol that are low carb or are completely carb-free. You can go for wine, light beer, or plain liquor, such as gin, whiskey, and vodka. But it’s very important that you limit yourself to 1 to 2 drinks per day because consuming too much alcohol will not only affect your weight loss but will also damage your liver.