From my own experience, I have found drinking while dieting to be a dangerous combination similar to that of drinking and driving.
Alcohol is an inhibitor, most notably a depressant. Alcohol also has the ability to offset your better judgement. Meaning, as hard as it is to stay focused on eating right to obtain your weight loss goals, its even more difficult to do so while you’re drunk. For most, drinking to get drunk is usually followed an unannounced and often uncontrollable urge to binge til your heart’s content (Read: drunk eat). So to avoid this situation it’s often suggested by all dieting professionals to remove alcohol from your life when trying to lose weight.
That’s sound and solid advice that goes well beyond the normal empty calorie reasoning dietitian stand firmly behind. Drinking can lead to the erasing of a lot of hard earned progress, so tread carefully.
In an ideal world, most would give up alcohol to lose weight. But let’s be serious, parties happen, alcohol is a part of most adult gathering and denying yourself that freedom can often lead to rebellion and eventually overindulging.
The beauty of a ketogenic, low carb diet is that you can still enjoy yourself from time-to-time with alcohol and still lose weight! However, there are some guidelines as to what alcohols you can enjoy and those you should avoid.
On average, one shot is the equivalent to about 1.5oz and for these spirits have a nutritional value of 0 carbs and roughly 64 calories. Of course, this will vary depending on how much is actually in your beverage. So if you ordered a double, double the nutritional stats.
Approved spirits on a keto, low carb diet include:
- Vodka (Ciroc, Grey Goose, etc.)
- Rum (Bacardi, Captain Morgan, etc)
- Gin (Tanqueray, Seagrams, etc)
- Tequila (Patron, Jose Cuervo, etc)
- Whiskey (Jack Daniel’s, etc.)
- Cognac (Hennessy, Remy, etc.)
Please note that these are for the original, unflavored versions. For flavored spirits (including flavored vodkas and some dark/coconut rums), always check up on nutritional information before consuming as they often contain more carbohydrates.
My spirit of choice is generally white rum or cognac.
Chasers & Mixers
For mixing or chasing, you have many no sugar, no calorie options
- Diet sodas (Coke Zero, Diet Coke, Diet Ginger Ale)
- Soda water
- Diet tonic water
- Seltzer water
- Sugar-free energy drinks (Red Bull, Monster, etc.)
- Sparkling water (Perrier)
- Crystal Light
I use Coke Zero or Diet Pepsi as my mixers. Another reason I tend to avoid drinking, I gave up soda years ago. But outside of shots, drinking my liquor straight doesn’t appeal to me. A simple Bacardi and Coke or Hennessy and Coke will be suffice. Also, using juices as a mixer opens me up to world of sugary drinks I worked very hard to ween myself off of.
Unfortunately, I am not a wine drinker but there is good news for wine drinkers.
Wine can fit into a low carb, keto diet! I had always figured that since it was made from grapes it would be crawling in sugar, but luckily this isn’t the case! These numbers are based on 5 oz servings.
Red wines to enjoy:
- Merlot: 120 calories, 3.7 carbs
- Pinot Noir: 121 calories, 3.4 carbs
- Cabernet: 120 calories, 3.8 carbs
White wines to enjoy:
- Chardonnay: 118 calories, 3.7 carbs
- Pinot Gris/Grigio: 122 calories, 3.2 carbs
- Riesling: 118 calories, 5.5 carbs
- Champagne/Sparking whites: 96 calories, 1.5 carbs
Honestly, it’s really hard to drink really great beers on a keto, low carb diet. No more craft beers or IPAs. You’re doomed to mostly light beers which generally just leave me longing for something more. Basically, you want to avoid anything red, amber or dark.
Some low carb beer picks include (per 12 oz/bottle):
- Bud Select 55: 55 calories, 1.9 carbs
- MGD 64: 64 calories, 2.4 carbs
- Rolling Rock Green Light: 92 calories, 2.4 carbs
- Michelob Ultra: 95 calories, 2.6 carbs
- Bud Select: 99 calories, 3.1 carbs
- Miller Lite: 96 calories, 3.2 carbs
- Natural Light: 95 calories, 3.2 carbs
- Michelob Ultra Amber: 114 calories, 3.7 carbs
- Coors Light: 102 calories, 5 carbs
- Amstel Light: 95 calories, 5 carbs
- Bud Light: 110 calories, 6.6 carbs
Tips, tricks and what to avoid
- Treat alcohol the same way you treat your cheat meals. Keep them as few and as far between as possible.
- No matter how much I love it, avoid Jagermeister. For one shot, it’s roughly 10 carbs.
- Be wary of food choices while under the influence. You can still get the cheeseburger, but avoid the bun and French fries.
- Avoid fruit juice, shots with fruity tastes (peach schnapps, blue curacao, etc.) as they’re just generally concentrated sources of sugar and carbohydrates.
- Be aware that when consuming alcohol, it is burned first before fat in the body. For some people, this causes a stall. In others, it jump starts weight loss. Test it for yourself and see how your body handles it!
- #1 Rule – After a few weeks of a low carb diet, you will notice your alcohol tolerance is dramatically lower.