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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
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.
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 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.
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:
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 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|
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|
|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|
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|
|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|
|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.
- 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.