A Complete Guide to Alcohol for Low-Carb and Keto Diets

alcohol

Low-carb diets are useful in enhancing weight loss and other health practices. While alcohol has negative and positive impacts on your health. The type of alcohol and quantity taken determines how it will affect your body. For instance, alcohol enhances the burning of the Keto diet, which benefits the body.

How Does Alcohol affect fat burning and Ketosis?

Alcohol is a macronutrient for fats, proteins, and carbs. It provides calories necessary for the ketosis process. Wine and beer have polyphenols (antioxidants) which have some nutrient value. Alcohol temporarily stops the Ketosis when it is ingested since the liver tries to get rid of it immediately.

Avoiding alcohol helps in fats breakdown. Alcohol provides some calories which inhibit other fats from being digested. Most people who are on weight loss programs find it beneficial when they avoid drinking.

Carbs and Calories content in Alcohol

Pure alcohol does not have any carbs. However, it provides twice amount of calories as carbs and proteins. Fats have lower calories content.

Calories per gram:

Proteins: 4 calories

Carbs: 4 calories

Fats: 9 calories

Alcohol: 7 calories

A standard drink contains about 14 grams of pure alcohol and 100 calories from alcohol.

1.5 fluid ounces (44 ml) of hard liquor

12 ounces (350 ml) of regular beer

5 fluid ounces (150) of wine

8-9 ounces (240-265 ml) of malt liquor

 

Carb and Calorie Content of Different Alcohol Beverages

 

Wine

Dry wine provides 3-6 grams of carbs and 115-130 calories per 5-ounce (150 ml) serving. Some skinny brands may have their carb content reduced by half. If you are carb intolerant, ensure you read the carb content.

Sweet dessert wine has 20 grams of carb or more. While in most cases, white wine has high carb content than red wine, some red brands have higher carb content.

Beer

Most beers have higher carb and calories as compared to wines and non-flavored alcohol. Light beer has lower carb content.

Here is a case of average carb and calorie count for 12-ounce (350 ml) serving of light and regular beer

Regular beer: 12.6 g net carbs, 153 kcal 

Light beer: 5.8 g net carbs, 103 kcal 

Ultra-light beer: 23 g net carbs, 96 kcal 

Liqueurs

Liqueurs are distilled beverages flavored with sugar, fruits, herbs, and spices.  They have lower alcohol content, but a higher carb count. Popular brands include Bailey’s, Sambuca and Kahlua. The average carbs range between 6 g to 25.5 g per 1.5 ounces (44 ml). Check out the content in other 33 popular brands here.

Distilled Beverages

Unflavored distilled alcohols include; vodka, whiskey, Gin, Brandy, Rum, Tequila, and cognac. They have zero carb count but varying levels of calories.

For gin, rum, vodka, or whiskey with 40%, ABV has 97 calories.

Same beverages with 50% and above ABV have 124 calories.

Drinking Guide for Keto or Low Carb Dieters

When it comes to weight loss or management, not all alcohol is good. Here are some safety tips for effective ketosis or low-carb lifestyle:

Low-Carb Wine

Wine with less than 5 grams of carbs per serving is best for your health. Wine with 11.6% ABV, the alcohol content ranges from 5.5%- 14.5%. Here is a table showing different wine brands with their carb, calories, and alcohol counts:

 

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Dry Wine Serving size Net Carbs (grams) Calories (kcal) Average ABV (%)
Champagne, Brut 5 oz (150 ml) 4 110 12
Cava, Brut 5 oz (150 ml) 4 115 13
Champagne, Extra Dry 5 oz (150 ml) 5 113 12
Prosecco, Dry 5 oz (150 ml) 5 108 11
Pinot Blanc 5 oz (150 ml) 2.9 119 12
Sauvignon Blanc 5 oz (150 ml) 3 119 12
Pinot Grigio 5 oz (150 ml) 3 122 12
Chardonnay 5 oz (150 ml) 3.2 123 12
Gewürztraminer 5 oz (150 ml) 3.8 119 12
Semillon 5 oz (150 ml) 4.6 121 12
Chenin Blanc 5 oz (150 ml) 4.9 118 12
Riesling 5 oz (150 ml) 5.6 118 12
Pinot Noir 5 oz (150 ml) 3.4 121 12
Cabernet Sauvignon 5 oz (150 ml) 3.8 122 12
Merlot 5 oz (150 ml) 3.8 125 12
Red Zinfandel 5 oz (150 ml) 4.2 129 12
Claret 5 oz (150 ml) 4.4 122 12
Burgundy 5 oz (150 ml) 5.5 127 12
Rosé 5 oz (150 ml) 5.8 126 12
Vermouth, extra dry 1.5 oz (45 ml) 0.3 38 15

 

Beer

Low-carb beer has less than 3 grams of carb per bottle. Always check for gluten label on the beer bottle if you are on a gluten-free lifestyle.

 

Low-Carb Beer Serving size Net Carbs (grams) Calories (kcal) Average ABV
Bud Select 55 12 oz (350 ml) 1.9 55 2.4
DAB Low Carb 12 oz (350 ml) 2 92 4.9
Martens Low Carb 11.2 oz (330 ml) 2.1 96 5
Rock Green Light 12 oz (350 ml) 2.4 85 3.6
Accel 12 oz (350 ml) 2.4 82 4
Rhinebecker Extra 12 oz (350 ml) 2.5 106 5
Michelob Ultra 12 oz (350 ml) 2.6 95 4.2
Busch Light 12 oz (350 ml) 2.6 95 4.1
IC Light 12 oz (350 ml) 2.8 95 4.2
Honey Almond Light 12 oz (350 ml) 2.8 96 4.2
IC Light 12 oz (350 ml) 2.8 95 4.1
Honey Almond Light 12 oz (350 ml) 2.8 96 4.2
Carolina Light 12 oz (350 ml) 3 85 3.5
Skinny Brands Lager 11.2 oz (330 ml) 3 89 4
Bud Select 12 oz (350 ml) 3.1 99 4.3
Miller Lite 12 oz (350 ml) 3.2 96 4.5
Miller 64 12 oz (350 ml) 2.4 64 2.8
Bitburger Light 12 oz (350 ml) 3.5 89 2.8
Corona Light 12 oz (350 ml) 5 99 3.2
Amstel Light 12 oz (350 ml) 5 95 3.5
Keystone Light 12 oz (350 ml) 5 104 4.1
Amstel Light 12 oz (350 ml) 5 102 4.2

Low-Carb Cider & Cider Seltzer Water

Some ciders are low-carb rated and are perfect for your lifestyle.

Low-Carb Cider Serving size Net Carbs (grams) Calories (kcal) Average ABV
Skinny Brands Cider 16.9 oz (500 ml) 2.5 149 5
Magners Blonde 11.2 oz (330 ml) 2.6 93 4.5
Truly Spiked 12 oz (350 ml) 2 100 5
White Claw 12 oz (350 ml) 2 100 5
Nauti Seltzer 12 oz (350 ml) 5 110 5
Spiked Seltzer 12 oz (350 ml) 5 140 6

 

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Distilled Beverages

Distilled Beverages Serving size Net Carbs (grams) Calories (kcal) Average ABV
Vodka 1.5 oz (45 ml) 96 40
Whiskey & Scotch 1.5 oz (45 ml) 96 40
Tequila 1.5 oz (45 ml) 96 40
Gin 1.5 oz (45 ml) 96-115 40-47
Rum 1.5 oz (45 ml) 72-105 30-40
Brandy 1.5 oz (45 ml) 103 40
Cognac 1.5 oz (45 ml) 0-3 103 40
Absinthe 1.5 oz (45 ml) 108-180 45-74
Slivovitz 1.5 oz (45 ml) 96-168 40-70

Low Crab Mixers

Club soda, lime, and sparkling water are commonly used mixers for hard alcohols. Tonic water should be avoided since it has a high carb count. It contains nearly 11 grams of carb. If you prefer using tonic water, you should consider lighter beverages.

 

You can use unsweetened soda, or cucumber to flavor your cocktail. Water enhancers such as lemon and orange peel come in handy. Bitters make cocktails very tasty through flavoring.

Low-carb lime batinda can be used in milk cocktails.

 

Here are the contents of some mixers:

Low-Carb Mixers Serving size Net Carbs (grams) Calories (kcal)
Sparkling Water (mineral water, seltzer water, club soda)
Unsweetened Flavored Water
Tonic Water, reduced sugar 4 oz (120 ml) 4.6 18
Lemon Juice 1 tbsp (15 ml) 0.8 3
Lime Juice 1 tbsp (15 ml) 1.2 4
Water Enhancers or Flavored Stevia Drops 16.9 oz (500 ml) 2.5 149
Bitters dash 0-2 5-20

 

Alcoholic Drinks to Avoid

Sweet wine: contains 7 g net carbs per serving. E.g. Muscat/Muscato.

Sweet Sparkling wine: contains 11 g not carbs per serving.

Regular beer, Cider and non-alcoholic beer: they contain over 20 grams carb.

Coolers/Alcopops: have carb content of 30 g-40 g per serving. Wine Coolers, Smirnoff Ice, WKD, Bacardi Breezer, Woody’s.

Dessert wines and forfeited wines: contain 20 g net carbs. Such wines are; Port, Sherry, Madeira, Sweet Vermouth.

Liqueurs: they have over 20 g net carbs per serving. They include; Baileys, Amaretto, Curacao, Aperol, Campari, Cointreau, Southern Comfort Whiskey, Kahlua, Triple Sec, Jagermeister, Peach Schnapps, Malibu, Chambord, Sambuca, Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, Carolan’s, Irish Cream, Anisette, Chartreuse, Grand Marnier, Southern Comfort, Margarita Mix, Drambuie, Midori, 

Hot Alcoholic drinks: they are sweetened with sugar hence high carb content. Examples are Mulled Wine, Irish coffee, and Hot Toddy.

Most Cocktails: Contain 7 g to 40 g cabs per serving. Examples include; Margarita, White Russian, Daiquiri, Cosmopolitan, Pina Colada, Vodka & Juice, etc.

Best Beverages to Order When Drinking Out

Dry wine, sparkling wine, light beer and spirits have low carb count. You can also try these cocktails with low-car and low-calorie;

  • Dry Martini (0.5 oz extra dry vermouth + 2.5 oz gin + olives): 1 g net carbs, 189 kcal
  • Wine Spritzer (5 oz dry wine + sparkling water): 2-5 g net carbs, <120 kcal
  • Gin & Tonic (4 oz reduced sugar Tonic + 1.5 oz gin + ice): 5 g net carbs, 114 kcal
  • “Skinny Bitch” (sparkling water + lemon or lime juice + 1.5 oz vodka + ice): 1 g net carbs, 99 kcal
  • Low-Carb/Skinny Cider: 2-5 g net carbs, <150 kcal

Popular Homemade Keto Beverages

Cocktails Serving size Net Carbs (grams) Calories (kcal)
Gin Fizz 1 cocktail 3.2 139
Strawberry Margarita 1 cocktail 8.2 133
Spicy Margarita 1 cocktail 4.5 145
Daiquiri 1 cocktail 3.6 108
Coquito 1 cocktail 4.9 379
Pina Colada 1 cocktail 8.1 345
Batida de Coco 1 cocktail 6.5 402
Black Widow 1 cocktail 4.7 166
Raspberry & Blackberry Mojitos 1 cocktail 4.7 159
Moscow Mule 1 cocktail 2.8 139
Mulled Wine 1 cocktail 4.3 122
Eggnog 1 cocktail 2.6 275
Ginger Beer (non-alcoholic) 1 cocktail 3.7 16
Baileys Irish Cream 1 drink (1.5 fl oz) 3.7 16
Easy Berry Infused Prosecco 1 cocktail 3.7 16

Other Considerations for Keto Dieters on Their Beverages

Limit your intake to 1-2 drinks to reduce the effects of hangovers. Also drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

Regales of low-carb and calories in the beverages, they may stimulate your appetite.

If your weight loss has stalled, you should cut off alcohol but maintain the Keto diet.

Final Remarks

  • People on keto diet can enjoy alcohol in low amounts.
  • Abstaining from alcohol is effective in weight loss for most keto dieters.
  • The low-carb and calorie amounts vary in different alcoholic drinks. Choose wisely a drink that does not limit your weight loss.
  • Always practice safe and healthy drinking habits whether on low-carb alcohol or not.