Can You Drink Alcohol on a Low-Carb Diet?
Whether you're just starting a low-carb diet or have been watching your carb intake for a while, it can be tricky to know how alcohol fits in. But, we're here to help answer your questions about drinking while watching your carbs. The short answer is yes, you can still have some alcohol on any diet. Read on to find out what type of alcohol is best, how many carbohydrates are in different drinks and how alcohol can fit if you are on a very low-carb diet, like the ketogenic diet, or have diabetes.
What is a low-carb diet?
A low-carb diet is any diet that is lower in carbohydrates than what is generally recommended (see our low-carb diet meal plans). The Dietary Guidelines recommend that 45-65% of calories come from carbohydrates. So any diet with less than 45% of calories from carbs is considered low-carb. This may include Atkins, the ketogenic diet or a diet designed for someone who has diabetes.
Can you drink alcohol if you're eating low-carb?
Yes. If you're just worried about carbs, you can definitely drink alcohol on a low-carb diet. Simply count the carbohydrates in the drinks into your daily carb count. Beer has more carbs than wine, 13 grams versus 3-5 grams in a typical serving of each (see our picks for 10 low-carb wines). Cocktails also can have a lot of carbohydrates due to sugary mixers like juice and simple syrup. But liquor is carb-free. Flavored liqueurs, like Grand Marnier or Irish cream, are sweetened and so they do contain extra sugars and carbohydrate. What can be frustrating about alcohol is that it doesn't have a nutrition label, so it can be a little harder to figure out how it fits into your diet.