- Low-carb wines: What to drink on a low-carb diet?
- If you are on a special dieting program, such as Keto or any other low-carb regime, you might find yourself asking if you can enjoy a glass of wine with your nutrition plan? The answer is yes, you can. Just be careful which one!
- Can you enjoy alcohol on a low-carb/keto diet?
- How many carbs does a glass of wine have?
- What Is Crystal Light?
- The Problems With Crystal Light
- Other Chemicals in Crystal Light
- Does Crystal Light Fit Into a Ketogenic Diet?
- Healthier Keto-Friendly Drinks
- Is Crystal Light Bad for You? Yes, It Is
- 7 Drinks You Can Enjoy on the Keto Diet
- The 5 Best and Worst Alcoholic Drinks to Sip on the Keto Diet
- Low Carb Drinks for Spring: Healthy Drinks to Keep You Refreshed
- A Guide to Low Carb Alcohol: Beer, Wine and Cocktails
- Keto Wines, Spirits and Beers
- Low Carb Wines
- Low Carb Spirits and Specialty Cocktails
- Low Carb Beer
- Guidelines for Alcohol Consumption on a Low Carb or Ketogenic Diet
- Guide to Low Carb Alcohol — Top 26 Drinks + What to Avoid
- Low Carb Alcohol Options
- Low Carb Wine
- Low Carb Liquor
- Low Carb Drinks to Avoid
- Low Carb Alcoholic Drinks Recipes
- Best Keto Drinks For Mixers
- How to Order Keto Alcohol at a Bar
- Can You Drink Alcohol on a Low Carb Diet?
- Low Carb and Alcohol – What to Watch Out For…
- 8 of the Best Keto-Friendly Drinks
- Keto drinks – the best and the worst
Low-carb wines: What to drink on a low-carb diet?
If you are on a special dieting program, such as Keto or any other low-carb regime, you might find yourself asking if you can enjoy a glass of wine with your nutrition plan? The answer is yes, you can. Just be careful which one!
Wines are low-carb beverages in general, but we have to be aware of the fact that alcohol is toxic to our bodies. When we ingest alcohol, our metabolism works his way to digest it – as soon as possible. In other words, our body stops the fat-burning processes in order to get rid of the alcohol we consumed. That means that drinking alcohol in excess can stall weight loss.
The numbers represent grams of carbs per typical serving – Source: dietdoctor.com
Note that the sweetness in wines alters the total grams of carbs, so be careful to choose dry versions of wines.
Can you enjoy alcohol on a low-carb/keto diet?
Moderately yes, but you have to be careful to choose a low-carb alcoholic drink. This includes dry and semi-dry wines, clear spirits like vodka, rum, whiskey, etc. Be careful about the sugar content, especially in cocktails or some beers that have higher carb content than a glass of wine.
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How many carbs does a glass of wine have?
A standard wine serving is 5 oz / 1,5 dcl. A glass of dry red or dry white wine will have 3-4 grams of carbs.
Late harvested wines, dessert wines and fortified wines like Port have significantly higher levels of carbohydrates – up to 20 grams per serving. The safest is to stick with dry and semi-dry wines and to watch out for your weight-losing progress.
We are all different and our bodies will respond accordingly. If you aren’t losing weight, the best is to cut back on alcohol.
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If you’ve searched for low-carb alternatives to your favorite fruity soft drinks, you may have come across a variety of powdered drinks, including Crystal Light. Developed by Kraft Foods, Crystal Light is a low-calorie, gluten-free, powdered beverage targeted at people who are interested in weight loss and healthy living.
But is Crystal Light bad for you?
Like other processed foods, Crystal Light is not as beneficial as it may seem. Read on to get the facts about this popular diet drink.
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What Is Crystal Light?
Crystal Light is a powdered water flavoring sold in different sizes: regular size, smaller variety packs called Crystal Light On The Go, and the more recent Crystal Light Pure, which is supposed to be lower in artificial ingredients.
This popular add-in for drinking water comes in artificial flavors such as orange, lemonade, cherry pomegranate, raspberry lemonade, and kiwi strawberry. The different flavors are part of the attraction since drinking nothing but plain water while dieting can grow old fast.
While it’s heavily marketed as a healthy beverage, it can be extremely sweet. Most varieties of Crystal Light contain artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose, and acesulfame potassium (Ace-K) — and may include regular sugar (depending on the specific product).
On the surface, the macros look impressive. Most Crystal Light flavors contain:
- 10 calories per serving
- 0 grams of carbs
- 0 grams of fat
- 0 grams of protein
It sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it is.
The Problems With Crystal Light
Unfortunately, artificial colors, preservatives, and sweeteners in Crystal Light can be damaging to your health.
For example, take a look at the ingredient label for Crystal Light Classic Orange: citric acid, calcium phosphate, maltodextrin, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), aspartame, maltitol, and less than 2% of: natural flavor, calcium carbonate, magnesium oxide, acesulfame potassium (Ace-K), xanthan and cellulose gums, soy lecithin, artificial color, yellow 5, and red 40.
Those are a lot of ingredients in what’s supposed to be a healthy beverage mix. In this product alone, there are three different types of sweeteners.
Aspartame is one of the worst offenders.
A list of the most common symptoms associated with aspartame consumption includes headaches, dizziness, depression, fatigue, irritability, weight gain, rashes, anxiety, memory loss, joint pain, and even the possible loss of taste. A study also found aspartame to be carcinogenic in rodents.
Sucralose (also known as Splenda) is another sweetener found in some Crystal Light drink mix versions. Splenda was once considered a harmless sugar substitute, but now research has uncovered more about its damaging effects.
While it used to be marketed as a natural sugar alternative, it’s just chlorinated sugar. Some of the harmful side effects of excessive sugar consumption include digestion issues, disruption of your body’s ability to absorb medication, elevated risk of headaches, and increased risk of allergies.
Other Chemicals in Crystal Light
Some Crystal Light flavors include potassium citrate and sodium citrate.
Potassium citrate is most commonly found in citrus flavors like grapefruit, orange, and lemon.
Its ability to increase the mineral density of bones makes potassium citrate an effective treatment for osteoporosis.
Potassium citrate is used as a drug to help reduce calcium oxalate crystals in those who get gout and kidney stones.
Along with those benefits comes some risk of side effects, such as stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea — not counting the possible skin irritation.
Sodium citrate has the same benefits as potassium citrate but doesn’t have side effects at the levels found in soft drinks.
Some Crystal Light flavors have a warning for phenylketonurics that the drink mix contains phenylalanine. People with phenylketonuria (PKU) have an inherited inability to break down phenylalanine, which is an essential amino acid and also a precursor for tyrosine, dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, and melanin.
Found in just about everything that contains protein or aspartame, phenylalanine can cause brain damage or even death for those who have the disorder.
So, is Crystal Light bad for you? Well, it certainly isn’t good for you.
Does Crystal Light Fit Into a Ketogenic Diet?
When it comes to deciding whether or not Crystal Light is keto-friendly, there are a few factors to consider.
Given its nutritional profile, Crystal Light technically fits into your keto macros. Its lack of carbohydrates allows you to drink a typical serving and maintain a ketogenic state.
But is Crystal Light good for you? You can see it’s not a healthy option as far as keto-friendly drinks go.
Despite being low-carb, Crystal Light contains artificial ingredients that can harm your health.
Many people switch to a keto lifestyle to reduce inflammation, have higher energy, and experience weight loss. But low-carb foods filled with artificial ingredients (like aspartame) can hold you back from enjoying health benefits, since they can increase your risk of diseases, adverse reactions, and allergies.
So, even if this low-calorie drink is technically keto, it doesn’t fit into a healthy ketogenic diet.
Healthier Keto-Friendly Drinks
Water and sparkling water are obvious alternatives to Crystal Light, but there are more options than that.
You can drink coffee on keto, even if you love creamer. Simply choose a keto-friendly creamer or use something like Perfect Keto Base for creamer in coffee-complementing flavors like chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and salted caramel.
Green or black tea are other keto-friendly drink options. Iced green tea, sweetened with a stevia-based sweetener such as Truvia, can be refreshing when you’re overheated.
It can be difficult to hit your protein goals when on keto, especially when you’re just starting out, so a protein shake is good just about any time. You might think you don’t need much protein if you’re not building muscle, but it’s not true.
You need to eat adequate protein to increase the hormones that trigger satiety and reduce the hunger hormone, ghrelin. Getting adequate amounts of protein increases the number of calories you burn around the clock.
The thermic effect of protein is higher than that of carbs or fat, which means your body must burn more calories to digest and metabolize it. Additionally, consuming enough protein helps maintain your new body weight after fat loss.
If you work out, you’ll love the boost of a protein shake about 30 minutes beforehand. You’re not locked into a chocolate shake either (though they are good). Perfect Keto has protein powder in vanilla flavor too.
Is Crystal Light Bad for You? Yes, It Is
While most soft drinks available today are harmful and not keto-friendly, it’s still possible to find some that won’t kick you out of ketosis — Crystal Light is one of them.
However, this artificially flavored drink contains damaging ingredients that make it incompatible with a healthy diet. In other words, there are much better things you could be drinking.
So, although Crystal Light is keto-friendly, it’s not suitable for a healthy ketogenic diet.
7 Drinks You Can Enjoy on the Keto Diet
The ketogenic diet is all about achieving ketosis, a metabolic state that burns fat for fuel, instead of carbohydrates or protein. To remain in that heightened fat-torching state, you need to limit your carb intake to 5-10% of your total calories. For most women, that translates to about 25-40 grams of carbs per day (about the amount in a single English muffin, or one glass of fruit juice)—which is why followers of the diet need to be so careful not only about what they eat, but what they drink too. To help you choose your sips wisely, here’s a list of seven keto-friendly drinks that’ll make it a little easier to meet your carb cap.
Water with lemon or lime
Still or sparking zero-calorie, zero-carb water is always going to be a dieter’s best choice. But go ahead and add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime to your glass. The sour juices have a negligible amounts of carbs. What’s more, drinking water before meals has been shown to be an effective way to help curb appetite.
Diet soda and other diet beverages
Most diet sodas and beverages sweetened with sugar substitutes have zero grams of carbs. Some keto purists may claim sugar subs are not actually keto-friendly, because they believe the sweet stuff increases cravings for carbs. But there is no evidence to suggest using carb-free sugar substitutes will interfere with your weight-loss efforts. (What’s more, many packaged keto snacks and foods made with carb-free sweeteners actually make it easier to stick to a keto lifestyle longer, so you can lose weight and keep it off.)
When selecting a diet drink, check the Nutrition Facts panel to make sure it contains less than 5 grams total sugars or 20 calories from carbs. Of course, you’ll need to count any carbohydrates in these beverages against your allotted daily carb budget.
Keep in mind that as a general rule, diet beverages that are clear have fewer questionable ingredients. There are also diet beverages, like Zevia, that are sweetened with all-natural stevia.
RELATED: 9 Fruits You Can Actually Eat on the Keto Diet
Coffee and tea (with cream, coconut oil, or butter)
If you like a dollop of butter whipped into your morning cup of Joe, you’ll be happy to learn that bulletproof coffee is indeed keto-friendly. When you blend fat like butter or coconut oil or heavy cream into your coffee or tea, you’re not adding carbs.
If you prefer a more traditional cup of coffee or tea, you’ll need to drink it either plain (or with sugar substitutes) and with very little milk since milk contributes some carbs.
On the keto diet you can drink some milk without disrupting ketosis. A ½ cup of milk has 6 grams of carbs (24 calories) while providing plenty of protein (4 grams), and much-needed nutrients like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin D.
RELATED: 5 Supplements You Should Take If You’re on the Keto Diet
Unsweetened almond milk has around 30 calories per 8-ounce serving and no sugar, making it a great option for those following a keto lifestyle. Look for brands that are fortified with calcium and vitamins A and D.
While many smoothies are super sugary thanks to the fruit and milk base, a quick Google search of “keto smoothie” or “low-carb smoothie” will return millions of recipes. The best way to keep carbs low and taste and satisfaction high is to make your smoothie base with fats like nut butters, avocado, or coconut oil. Then add in some low-carb veggies like leafy greens, cucumbers, celery or beets, and smaller amounts of fruits like berries, apples or pears. If you need liquid, use ice, water or unsweetened almond milk.
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The 5 Best and Worst Alcoholic Drinks to Sip on the Keto Diet
A ketogenic diet is one built on very limited amounts of carbs, often 20 to 50 grams (g) of net carbs per day. (Net carbs is grams of total carbohydrates minus fiber grams.) That is not a lot, and because alcohol is known for containing carbs, you might think that you can’t drink on a keto diet.
If you like the occasional glass of wine, you’re in luck: “Yes, you can drink alcohol on a keto diet,” says April Murray, RD, founder of Orange County Nutrition Coaching in Costa Mesa, California.
RELATED: 8 of the Best Keto-Friendly Drinks
Because the amount of carbs varies so much between hard liquor, mixed drinks, beer, and wine, choosing the right one matters when it comes to keeping your body in ketosis, a state where your body is burning fat for its primary fuel rather than carbohydrates. “Alcohol can be keto-friendly, but too much can slow down your weight loss progress,” says Lauren Weiss, PhD, a keto nutritionist in La Jolla, California. “When you’re on a low-carb, high-fat diet, your liver metabolism changes because glycogen stores in your body have been depleted. When you drink alcohol, your body may use the alcohol for energy instead of fat,” she says. If that happens too often, it can stall your progress.
For general health guidelines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends adults drink alcohol moderately. That’s defined as one standard drink per day for women and two standard drinks per day for men. A standard drink is equivalent to 12 ounces (oz) of beer, 5 oz of wine, or 1.5 oz of liquor.
RELATED: A Detailed Guide to Ordering Fast Food on the Keto Diet
Yet for keto dieters, having a drink every day is going to be too much. “While an occasional drink is okay, drinking daily may slow down the fat-burning process,” says Dr. Weiss. Alcohol, after all, is empty calories — and when it comes to maximizing your nutrition on a keto diet, alcohol should be limited.
When you do drink, follow these expert-approved guidelines for the best and worst alcohol choices:
Low Carb Drinks for Spring: Healthy Drinks to Keep You Refreshed
Spring weather means it’s time to put down the mug of hot chocolate and pick up a glass of something cool and refreshing. Enjoying healthy drinks is an excellent way to stay hydrated as well as provide your body with important nutrients it needs.
There are plenty of low carb drinks that will not only keep you cool this spring, but can also contribute to low carb weight loss. Try out some of Atkins’ favorite healthy low carb drinks below (they’re allowed in all phases of Atkins) and discover how refreshing low carb weight loss can be:
If you’re looking for a morning pick-me-up, try one of these low carb drinks. They’re cheaper than heading to your local coffee shop, but equally delicious!
- Coffee Frappé – This coffee-shop essential uses vanilla protein powder for a sweet, low carb way to start your day.
- Iced Chai Tea – If you’re more of a tea person than a coffee person, try this low carb spiced chai treat.
Drinks to Satisfy Your Fruit & Veggie Craving
Increase your produce intake with these healthy veggie and fruit-flavored drinks.
- Raspberry-Lime Fizz – Mix raspberry syrup and lime juice for a tart, sweet combo that tastes just as good as it looks.
- Avocado Gazpacho Smoothie – If you think goat cheese and avocados are only for salads, think again! They’re also amazing in this savory low carb smoothie.
- Coconut Vanilla Shake – Not all milkshakes are unhealthy; this version uses coconut milk and protein powder instead of ice cream.
Drinks to Cool You Off Instantly
Spring can get toasty, so make sure you’re constantly drinking to stay hydrated! One of these chilled low carb drinks is sure to do the trick.
- Iced Mint Tea – Iced tea is definitely a spring and summer drink, and the twist of mint in this recipe adds great flavor.
- Pina Colada – This non-alcoholic classic is a fun way to cool off on a warm spring day.
- Lemonade – Avoid store-bought lemonades that are often high in sugar and make this low carb version at home instead.
Sweet Drinks for Dessert
Skip the high-carb cookies and try one of Atkins’ low carb drinks for a sweet but healthy twist on dessert.
- Root Beer Float – Made with sugar-free syrups, heavy cream and seltzer water, this old-fashioned drink tastes indulgent while still being low carb.
- Chocolate-Cream Frosty – This low carb twist on a fast food favorite is sure to satisfy any chocolate craving.
Don’t let high carb drinks ruin your diet this spring; stick with Atkins low carb drinks to keep your body refreshed and on the path to healthy weight loss. And make sure to check out our recipe database to find additional healthy drinks and low carb recipes.
A Guide to Low Carb Alcohol: Beer, Wine and Cocktails
Alcohol can be enjoyed as part of your low carb lifestyle. As with most things, only add it if it’s right for you and make wise choices if you choose to fill your cup. Although alcohol provides calories, and sometimes carbs, without satiety, there are many low carb options that can be consumed in moderation. If you make sure to choose dry wines and spirits as well as sugar-free mixers, you can still enjoy low carb and keto-friendly variations of your favorite drinks, like a rum and diet coke or a Moscow Mule made with diet ginger beer.
Keto Wines, Spirits and Beers
Reference this chart to ensure you’re on track.
Low Carb Wines
Acceptable low carb wines:
Opt for dry wines. These wines tend to have 1-2 grams of carbs per 5 ounces.
Although wine originates from sweet grape juice, which contains about 30 grams of sugar per 4 oz, yeast fermentation turns that sugar into alcohol— so a higher alcohol content means that more of the sugar has fermented into alcohol. Check the label and select wines of at least 12% alcohol by volume (ABV).
Here are some common dry wines (with roughly 1-2g carbs per 5oz):
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Pinot Noir
- Sauvignon Blanc
Low carb wines you should avoid: Avoid dessert wines like ports, madeiras, sauternes, and most sherries. Because fermentation is stopped earlier, they tend to have a high sugar content.Riesling, sparkling wines and gewürztraminer can be dry or sweet, so be cautious with these varieties.
Low Carb Spirits and Specialty Cocktails
Acceptable low carb cocktails:The distilling process removes almost all of the sugar from the original mix. Consume it ‘straight’ or if you use a mixer, be sure it’s a sugar-free, low carb mixer.Here are some acceptable options when consumed straight:
- Whiskey (Bourbon, Rye, Scotch)
- Cognac and Brandy
You can drink your liquor straight, or you can use a sugar-free, low carb mixer such as:
- Diet soda
- Crystal Lite
- Diet tonic
- Club Soda or soda water
- Zero-calorie seltzers
- Iced tea (no sugar)
- Sugar-free juice
Here are a few of our favorite mixed drink recipes.
Low carb cocktails you should avoid:
Most flavored varieties of liquor (i.e., caramel vodka, kahlua, fireball) are high in sugar.
Low Carb Beer
Acceptable low carb beers:
‘Light-beer’ will provide 5-10 grams of carbs per 12-ounce serving. The lightest beers, like Michelob Ultra, provide 2-5 grams of carbs.
Low carb beers you should avoid:
Most beers should be avoided entirely or consumed minimally if you’re limiting your carbohydrate intake. Made from malted grains such as barley, rice, or wheat; beer contains varying amounts of carbs depending upon the amount of malted grain added and the extent of the fermentation. Most light-colored beers contain 12-15 grams of carbs per serving, and dark beers tend to contain considerably more.
Guidelines for Alcohol Consumption on a Low Carb or Ketogenic Diet
If you choose to enjoy alcohol as part of your low carb plan, follow these simple rules:
- Add alcohol only if if does not stall your weight loss or impact your metabolic health.
- Choose dry wines, champagnes, and spirits and (very) low carb beer. Remember to only mix with sugar-free options.
- Limit your consumption. Too many drinks can not only add up in calories from the alcohol but also limit your ability to steer clear of the dessert tray or reaching for snacks when you’re not hungry. Know the size of your pour and be aware of your limit!
Guide to Low Carb Alcohol — Top 26 Drinks + What to Avoid
Shockingly, there are plenty of low carb alcohol options to enjoy while sticking to a low carb meal plan!
Because reality is, the majority of us enjoy a drink from time to time, and being on a low carb eating plan or following a low carb way of life, doesn’t mean you have to kiss you social life goodbye. So no matter what your poison is, this guide to low carb alcohol has got you covered! From the carbs in beer, to the carbs in wine, to the carbs in mixed drinks, here’s everything you need to know about keto alcohol, so you can choose your drinks wisely and stay on low carb track!
And for those of you who aren’t a fan of vodka soda or whiskey on the rocks, I’ve got an awesome collection of low carb alcoholic drinks to share with you…
Let’s dive in! Use this table of contents to find the section you’re looking for:
Low Carb Alcohol Options
Here’s a quick glance at the carbs in alcohol — Keep in mind, these can be worked up into all sorts of lip smackingly delicious low carb cocktails! But we’ll start with the basics…
The top low carb alcohol options are:
- Liquor, such as Tequila, Gin, Vodka, Whiskey. On the rocks, neat, with a diet soda or seltzer: 0 grams of carbs per shot.
- Red Wine, such as Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah all have under 4 carbs per 5 oz glass.
- White Wine, such as Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc have right around 3 carbs per 5 oz.
- Champagne. A 5 oz glass contains only 2 carbs.
- Beer, such as Bud Select 55: 1.80 carbs, Michelob Ultra: 2.60 carbs, Miller Lite: 3.20 carbs.
Now let’s dive in further, because as you can imagine, there’s a lot more to the carbs in alcohol than just these basic drinks…
Low Carb Wine
Believe it or not, wine is relatively low carb in nature, and personally, I couldn’t be happier about it! Most red wines fall between 3 and 4 carbs per glass—which is pretty minimal, especially if you’re treating yourself.
The problem with carbs here isn’t so much standard red or white low carb wine, rather the ultra sweet varieties, like port. So stick with the options below for the best low carb alcohol choices…
For a 5 oz serving, the best low carb red wines are:
For the same 5 oz serving, the best low carb white wines are:
- Chardonnay: 123 calories, 3.18 carbs
- Pinot Gris: 122 calories, 3.03 carbs
- Sauvignon Blanc: 119 calories, 3.01 carbs
Champagne is also another great low carb alcohol choice — A 5 oz glass has got about 100 calories and 2 carbs.
Wines that are higher in carbs include:
- Burgundy: 127 calories, 5.46 carbs
- Riesling: 118 calories, 5.54 carbs
- Dessert Wines. A few types of dessert wines are Sherry and Muscat… typical serving size for these is 3.5 oz, which will run you are 165 calories, 14.10 carbs
- Fortified Wines. Fortified wines have a distilled spirit (like brandy) added to them. They tend to be much sweeter—a few varieties are Port, Sherry, Marsala and Vermouth.
Most of us would assume that the phrase “low carb beer” sounds like a total oxymoron, especially considering it’s made from water, grains, hops and yeast — basically liquid bread!
But fear not my friends, if beer is the low carb alcohol you’re craving, there are some choices that’ll give you that coveted beer fix. Fair warning, if you’re a heavy-duty beer drinker, you may find the lowest carb beer choices less than impressive.
Your best low carb beer choices are going to be:
- Bud Select 55: 55 calories, 1.80 carbs
- Michelob Ultra: 95 calories, 2.60 carbs
- Bud Select: 99 calories, 3.09 carbs
- Miller Lite: 96 calories, 3.20 carbs
- Busch Light: 95 calories, 3.20 carbs
- Becks: 64 calories, 3.20 carbs
- Bud Light Platinum: 137 calories, 4.40 carbs
- Bud Light: 103 calories, 4.60 carbs
- Keystone Light: 101 calories, 4.70 carbs
- Coors Light: 102 calories, 5 carbs
- Corona Light: 99 calories, 5 carbs
Your highest carb beer choices include:
Another beer-esk drink to watch out for is cider—with 199 calories per serving, and 21.02 carbs, it’s no wonder why this drink tastes so sweet!
As you can see, beers range in carb counts pretty dramatically, and unfortunately for us watching our carbs, nutritional data isn’t printed on the back of every can. When in doubt, stick to the low carb beers listed above.
Low Carb Liquor
Liquor lovers, rejoice! Straight liquor typically has no carbs, or a nominal amount. Order low carb alcohol neat or on the rocks and you’ll find it relatively easy to stick to your guns.
As far as low carb liquor goes, you’ve got zero carbs in:
- Tequila: 96 calories, no carbs
- Gin: 110 calories, no carbs
- Rum: 110 calories, no carbs
- Vodka: 110 calories, no carbs
- Whiskey: 110 calories, no carbs
The reason you have no carbs in gin, no carbs in tequila, and no carbs in rum is due the fermentation process, which essentially converts carbohydrates into ethyl alcohol via yeast enzymes.
Low Carb Drinks to Avoid
Now, liqueurs are another story — Despite their similar names, these two low carb drinks are completely different products. Liqueurs are sweetened spirits infused with a range of flavors. Many start with a base of whiskey, rum, or brandy, then they’re sweetened with ingredients like sugar syrup.
Because there’s a wide range of flavors and additives present in liqueurs — think coffee-esque Kahlua, almond-y Amaretto, Bailey’s, and everything sweet and fruity — carb counts differ tremendously. But as a general reference:
- Kahlua (1.6 oz): 144 calories, 22 carbs
- Crème de Menthe (1.5 oz): 186 calories, 20.80 carbs
Now back to liquor. When it comes to carbs, it isn’t the liquor you’ve got to watch out for, rather the mixers… Juices, sodas, all manner of sugary cocktails are what you need to watch out for.
Low Carb Alcoholic Drinks Recipes
If you’re mixing things up yourself, you can afford to get a little more creative with your low carb alcoholic drinks! There are tons of ingredient that’ll help take boring low carb alcohol up a few notches, without sugar.
Here are my favorite low carb alcohol cocktails to shake up:
- Low Carb Margarita
- Low Carb Whiskey Sour
- Keto Martini
- Low Carb Mulled Wine
- Keto Mojito
- Keto Old Fashioned
- Keto Eggnog
- Strawberry Skinny Margarita
- Keto White Russian
- Chocolate Low Carb Martini
Best Keto Drinks For Mixers
Here are some of the tastiest keto drinks, perfect for your very own keto alcoholic drink, or low carb non alcoholic drink recipes:
1. Diet sodas
Flavors: Most regular sodas can be found in a diet version.
Flavors: Cola, Ginger, Root Beer, Cream Soda, Dr. Zevia, Orange, Grape, Etc.
Flavors: Tons! I love the Watermelon, Coconut, Strawberry Lemonade and Mango
4. Flavored Sparkling Waters
Flavors: Depends where you purchase from. Traditional flavors are lemon and lime—boring—I live for the Trader Joe’s flavors, they’re always coming up with new and delicious ones. Perrier makes and awesome pink grapefruit I love as well.
Tip: Since these don’t add sweetness to your drink, top off your cocktail with some low carb fruits or stevia drops.
5. True Lime + True Lemon
Flavors: Currently addicted to their Mango Orange flavor. They’ve also got Watermelon, Limeade, Lemonade, Black Cherry Limeade, Raspberry Lemonade, Peach Lemonade, Wildberry Lemonade, Etc.
6. Crystal Light
Flavors: Lemonade, Pink Lemonade, Orange, Fruit Punch, Etc.
7. Keto Chocolate Milk, or Keto Hot Chocolate!
In addition to low carb drinks, here are some tasty low carb foods you may choose to incorporate in your cocktails:
- Spritz of Lemon, Orange or Lime. A hint of keto fruits.
- “Twist” of Lemon, Orange or Lime Peel
- Muddled Berries. Keto fruits like berries add a nice sweetness without artificial sugars.
- Low carb vegetables.
- Pickle juice. Since there are no carbs in scotch, pour a glass on the rocks with pickle juice to chase, yum!
- Sweet Leaf Sweet Drops
How to Order Keto Alcohol at a Bar
At a bar or restaurant, your keto alcohol choices are going to be limited. Your best option will likely be a highball mixed with seltzer or diet soda—think calorie and carb free mixers + your low carb alcohol of choice. Ask your bartender what they carry and what they’d suggest. You never know, they could have diet tonic hiding back there…
The top five low carb mixed drinks to order at a bar are:
Can You Drink Alcohol on a Low Carb Diet?
Drinking alcohol on a low carb diet is up to you, your goals and your health. If you choose to drink, stick to the low carb alcohol options shared above. There are a few additional concerns with drinking on a low carb meal plan…
Low Carb and Alcohol – What to Watch Out For…
No matter what type of alcohol you choose, it’s the other things you need to keep an eye on…
…and I’m not just talking about the mixers, I’m talking about the way alcohol effects our blood sugar, how our bodies react to alcohol when we don’t consume many carbs, and of course the drunken’ munchies — all of which can be a bigger challenge than the alcohol content itself.
The most important key here is moderation.
It’s the same message you’ve heard your whole life, but take this seriously — although I haven’t been able to find any definitive research, common sense and personal experience have lead me to believe that my body reacts differently to alcohol when I eat less carbs. The lower carb I eat, the lower my alcohol tolerance becomes. Be careful, be safe. You know what to do.
Then there’s your blood sugar.
As a diabetic, I’ve discussed consuming alcohol thoroughly with my doctor. Let’s just say the way I drink now has changed dramatically from the way I used to drink. Since this article isn’t about drinking with diabetes, I’m going to assume this isn’t relevant for most, so I’ll keep it brief. The fact is that: “moderate amounts of alcohol may cause blood sugar to rise, excess alcohol can actually decrease your blood sugar level — sometimes causing it to drop into dangerous levels, especially for people with type 1 diabetes” — Web MD
I’m not a doctor, nor am I giving any sort of medical advice. It’s important to discuss with your doctor your personal needs and concerns.
Ugh, last but not least, the drunken munchies and its ugly cousin, the hangover munchies.
When we hit the bottle too hard, alcohol can mess with our blood sugar levels, therefore creating a feeling of hunger. Additionally, alcohol can cause dehydration (it’s a diuretic, which is why you’ll see an increase in trips to the bathroom), which sometimes our brains mistake for hunger signals.
Let’s be real, eating low carb can be hard at times, but it certainly doesn’t mean you need to kiss all of life’s great pleasures goodbye. Thoughtful research and planning are the first steps, so congratulations! Between the spirits, cocktails, beers and wines, if you’re adding low carb alcohol to your low carb shopping list, there are plenty of options to choose from.
I’d love to hear from you! Do you have any low carb alcohol hacks? Whether it’s an herbal seltzer water cocktail or a secret low carb beer you’ve just discovered, let me know in the comments below!
*Unless otherwise noted and linked, all nutritional data was pulled from the USDA Food Composition Database.
8 of the Best Keto-Friendly Drinks
If you’re on a ketogenic diet, you’re super focused on what you’re eating (and especially what you’re not eating). But don’t forget that what you sip can set you up for success, too.
Why Staying Hydrated Is Crucial on the Keto Diet
In the beginning stages of a keto diet, when your body is adapting to severely restricting carbohydrates, your body’s hydration status will shift. After all, your body stores carbohydrates as glycogen, which holds onto water. Exhaust these glycogen stores, and you’re going to dump water weight with it. What’s more, taking out processed foods from your diet — which are traditionally higher in sodium — can also affect your body’s electrolyte and fluid balance because salt can lead to water retention.
“Hydration is difficult for many on the keto diet, especially in the beginning. You need to make sure you’re drinking a lot of water and replenishing electrolytes,” says Kendra Whitmire, a nutritionist and dietitian in Laguna Beach, California, who practices functional and therapeutic nutrition.
RELATED: 8 Steps Beginners Should Take on the Keto Diet
Drinks You Should Try to Avoid on the Keto Diet
Avoid sugar-sweetened drinks (like soda) and fruit juice (even 100 percent juice) because they’re packed with sugar, and thus carbs. Dairy milk is also high in carbs, so it’s not keto-friendly. Skip (or at the very least, limit) diet drinks, too, says Jill Keene, RDN, who’s in private practice in White Plains, New York. Some artificial sweeteners may negatively affect blood sugar, she says.
Is Diet Coke Allowed on Keto?
While beverages such as Diet Coke (or diet soda in general) are technically keto-compliant, they may lead you to crave more. A review published in January 2019 in BMJ suggested these artificially sweetened sips may trick the body into craving the calories and carbs it believes it’s getting from the diet soda. When your body realizes it isn’t, you may make up for it by overeating.
Regardless of whether that effect would hold true on keto, you have a lot of better, tasty drink options. Here are eight great drinks if you’re on this plan:
Keto drinks – the best and the worst
Thirsty on the keto diet? Keeping well hydrated is important to feel your best. What are the best drinks? What drinks should you avoid?
Simple tip: water is wonderful. Whether flat or sparkling, it has no carbs and is a great thirst-quencher. Add a sprinkle of salt if you have keto flu or a headache.
Another great choice is tea or coffee — but don’t add sugar! An occasional glass of wine is okay, too.
This visual guide depicts the best and worst options.
The numbers are the grams of net carbs in a typical serving, such as the size served in a restaurant or amount packaged in a typical can or bottle.1
Drinks with green numbers are good keto options. Drinks with asterisks have some special caveats. Read on for details.
Regarding coffee or tea: just one teaspoon of sugar (one cube) is 4 grams of carbs, which makes it hard to stay below keto’s 20 grams of carbs a day.
Drinking a sugary soft drink on a keto diet is never a good idea, but size truly matters. A large bottle (i.e 33 ounces or 1 liter or more) has more carbs than almost an entire week’s keto allowance.2
A can of soda can kick you out of ketosis for a day, but a large bottle may prevent ketosis for a number of days or even a week. 3
If you have diabetes or insulin resistance, avoid all sugary soft drinks in order to keep your blood glucose stable and improve your health.4
Diet sodas — yay or nay?
Over the last 40 years, diet sodas — without calories or carbs — have had a huge market around the world, promoting the idea that you can have a sugary-tasting beverage without any of the harms and consequences of real sugar. Alas, it is not that simple.
Sweetened with artificial products like aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame K or refined stevia, these diet drinks are not necessarily helpful for sustained weight loss or improved health.
Their problems include maintaining cravings for sweet tastes, which can undermine keto progress and keep sugar addictions in place.5 Acting on the same taste bud sensors as real sugar, they blunt the ability to taste the natural flavors and sweetness of real food. 6 Some sweeteners, such as sucralose, can still cause a blood glucose and insulin response and contribute to fat storage. 7 Observational studies show that drinking diet soft drinks is associated with higher BMIs and higher rates of cardiovascular disease. 8
Other studies have noted that their long term impact on many health factors is still unknown, but that they may alter many body processes, such as metabolism, brain reward systems, appetite regulation, and the microbiome.9
Studies supporting the use of diet soft drinks in weight loss programs are often conducted by the diet drink industry. A 2017 study found that much of the research on artificial sweeteners has been funded by industry and features conflict of interest, research bias, and positive results that cannot be reproduced. 10
Drinking diet soda may or may not be better than drinking sugary soda. However, one thing is certain. If you can cut both out of your daily beverage habits, your health and waistline will likely thank you.
Learn more about artificial sweeteners
Alcohol on keto: yea or nay?
Unlike most diets, which usually forbid all alcohol, the keto diet allows moderate consumption of specific alcoholic beverages.11
Dry red and white wine is fine in moderation. Beer is generally not okay — it is liquid bread — but there are a few low carb beers that can be consumed from time to time. And spirits — like vodka, gin or whiskey — have no carbs at all.
Check out all the various alcoholic drinks that are keto in our keto alcohol guide
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If you really want to obtain ketosis and burn fat for energy instead of carbs, step number one is to curtail your sugar intake. One surefire way to do that is to change the beverages you consume daily. Juice, soda, energy drinks—most of them contain copious amounts of processed sugar. If you’re looking for the best sports drinks for keto, we’ve got you covered.
The key is to stay hydrated, and that means water. It’s the perfect keto beverage; even sparkling water is great, as long as it has zero added sugar. A pinch of salt will help you beat the headaches, body aches, and nausea that can come with the onset of keto—sometimes known as the “keto flu.”
Another great keto drink is coffee or black tea. It’s got caffeine that helps boost energy and focus. Just avoid adding milk or cream. If you must cut your caffeinated morning beverage, try instead a dab of butter for a bulletproof-style coffee.
When you’re adjusting to the low-carb diet that is keto, your body will dump the water weight stored in carbs called glycogen. Losing all this water means it’s more important than ever for active guys to maintain hydration. The best way to do that is to boost your electrolyte intake.
There are all kinds of sports drinks on the market. Look for those that have zero added refined or processed sugar. Sugar means carbs, and carbs will blow ketosis. Sugar also means calories.
Unlike most diets, which usually forbid all alcohol, the keto diet allows moderate consumption of specific alcoholic beverages. Dry red and white wine is fine (in moderation, of course). Low-carb beers can be even consumed from time to time. And spirits—like vodka, gin or whiskey—have no carbs at all. So enjoy what you like, as long as you do it wisely.
Here are some of the best keto sports drinks we’ve found.
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