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:

 

Dry WineServing sizeNet Carbs (grams)Calories (kcal)Average ABV (%)
Champagne, Brut5 oz (150 ml)411012
Cava, Brut5 oz (150 ml)411513
Champagne, Extra Dry5 oz (150 ml)511312
Prosecco, Dry5 oz (150 ml)510811
Pinot Blanc5 oz (150 ml)2.911912
Sauvignon Blanc5 oz (150 ml)311912
Pinot Grigio5 oz (150 ml)312212
Chardonnay5 oz (150 ml)3.212312
Gewürztraminer5 oz (150 ml)3.811912
Semillon5 oz (150 ml)4.612112
Chenin Blanc5 oz (150 ml)4.911812
Riesling5 oz (150 ml)5.611812
Pinot Noir5 oz (150 ml)3.412112
Cabernet Sauvignon5 oz (150 ml)3.812212
Merlot5 oz (150 ml)3.812512
Red Zinfandel5 oz (150 ml)4.212912
Claret5 oz (150 ml)4.412212
Burgundy5 oz (150 ml)5.512712
Rosé5 oz (150 ml)5.812612
Vermouth, extra dry1.5 oz (45 ml)0.33815

 

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 BeerServing sizeNet Carbs (grams)Calories (kcal)Average ABV
Bud Select 5512 oz (350 ml)1.9552.4
DAB Low Carb12 oz (350 ml)2924.9
Martens Low Carb11.2 oz (330 ml)2.1965
Rock Green Light12 oz (350 ml)2.4853.6
Accel12 oz (350 ml)2.4824
Rhinebecker Extra12 oz (350 ml)2.51065
Michelob Ultra12 oz (350 ml)2.6954.2
Busch Light12 oz (350 ml)2.6954.1
IC Light12 oz (350 ml)2.8954.2
Honey Almond Light12 oz (350 ml)2.8964.2
IC Light12 oz (350 ml)2.8954.1
Honey Almond Light12 oz (350 ml)2.8964.2
Carolina Light12 oz (350 ml)3853.5
Skinny Brands Lager11.2 oz (330 ml)3894
Bud Select12 oz (350 ml)3.1994.3
Miller Lite12 oz (350 ml)3.2964.5
Miller 6412 oz (350 ml)2.4642.8
Bitburger Light12 oz (350 ml)3.5892.8
Corona Light12 oz (350 ml)5993.2
Amstel Light12 oz (350 ml)5953.5
Keystone Light12 oz (350 ml)51044.1
Amstel Light12 oz (350 ml)51024.2

Low-Carb Cider & Cider Seltzer Water

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

Low-Carb CiderServing sizeNet Carbs (grams)Calories (kcal)Average ABV
Skinny Brands Cider16.9 oz (500 ml)2.51495
Magners Blonde11.2 oz (330 ml)2.6934.5
Truly Spiked12 oz (350 ml)21005
White Claw12 oz (350 ml)21005
Nauti Seltzer12 oz (350 ml)51105
Spiked Seltzer12 oz (350 ml)51406

 

Distilled Beverages

Distilled BeveragesServing sizeNet Carbs (grams)Calories (kcal)Average ABV
Vodka1.5 oz (45 ml)9640
Whiskey & Scotch1.5 oz (45 ml)9640
Tequila1.5 oz (45 ml)9640
Gin1.5 oz (45 ml)96-11540-47
Rum1.5 oz (45 ml)72-10530-40
Brandy1.5 oz (45 ml)10340
Cognac1.5 oz (45 ml)0-310340
Absinthe1.5 oz (45 ml)108-18045-74
Slivovitz1.5 oz (45 ml)96-16840-70

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 MixersServing sizeNet Carbs (grams)Calories (kcal)
Sparkling Water (mineral water, seltzer water, club soda)
Unsweetened Flavored Water
Tonic Water, reduced sugar4 oz (120 ml)4.618
Lemon Juice1 tbsp (15 ml)0.83
Lime Juice1 tbsp (15 ml)1.24
Water Enhancers or Flavored Stevia Drops16.9 oz (500 ml)2.5149
Bittersdash0-25-20

 

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

CocktailsServing sizeNet Carbs (grams)Calories (kcal)
Gin Fizz1 cocktail3.2139
Strawberry Margarita1 cocktail8.2133
Spicy Margarita1 cocktail4.5145
Daiquiri1 cocktail3.6108
Coquito1 cocktail4.9379
Pina Colada1 cocktail8.1345
Batida de Coco1 cocktail6.5402
Black Widow1 cocktail4.7166
Raspberry & Blackberry Mojitos1 cocktail4.7159
Moscow Mule1 cocktail2.8139
Mulled Wine1 cocktail4.3122
Eggnog1 cocktail2.6275
Ginger Beer (non-alcoholic)1 cocktail3.716
Baileys Irish Cream1 drink (1.5 fl oz)3.716
Easy Berry Infused Prosecco1 cocktail3.716

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.