Can I Drink Alcohol On A Low-carb Diet?
December is here! Party season will soon be upon us. This is probably the hardest month of the year to stick to your diet. Among many other temptations coming our way, it is certain that there will be plenty of drinking going on. So can you indulge and still stay on your low-carb diet? The good news is, you can – as long as you exercise some basic caution. Carb content of alcohol Fermented drinks are derived from plants that are high in carbs – usually grapes or grains. However, during the fermentation process, most of the sugar is consumed by the yeast bacteria in order to produce actual alcohol. Some sugar may be left over, depending on the type of beverage. So alcohol itself does not get processed as carb by your body, and will not cause a spike in your blood sugar. Calories in alcohol However, alcohol is quite high in calories (7 calories per gram). These calories cannot be stored by your body in the way that excess calories from carbs or fat are. If you have a drink while eating or snacking (which is what tends to happen), your body will first process the calories from alcohol, making it more likely that any excess calories from food will get stored as fat. This is why it’s hard to lose weight if you drink regularly. Best drinks to have on a low-carb diet Carb counts provided below are approximate, as there will be a lot of variance across the board depending on the brand. Red wine is high in antioxidants and very low in sugars. It contains 3-5g of carbs per 5oz glass. Beware of fortified dessert wines such as port – these are quite high in carbs. Dry white wines, including sparkling wines such as champagne are also a good choice, at 2-5g per 5oz glass. White wine contains fewer antioxidants than red wine. Pure spirits such as vodka, brandy and whiskey cont Continue reading >>
Another very common question asked by those new to a Zero Carb diet is: Can I Drink Alcohol on a Zero Carb Diet? There have been many posts about this subject in the Facebook group Zeroing in on Health. I have selected some of the best comments from these discussions and posted them here for easy reference. While occasional or even moderate consumption of dry, non-sweet alcohol might be okay for some people. Those who are new to a Zero Carb diet are strongly encouraged to abstain from it during their initial 30-Day trial. Once you have a clear baseline of how you feel on just meat and water, then you can easily test out other things like dairy or alcohol and get a much better idea of how your body is personally affected by them. … Dr. Paul Mabry: I’m a retired MD with years of low carb ketogenic blogging experience. I’m day 6 on this new and from all my research intuitively beautiful way of eating. There have been some questions about alcohol so I wanted to post this short answer on the basic science of alcohol in layman’s terms which apply equally to low carb and zero carb: Moderate alcohol can be accommodated on the diet. Alcohol is metabolized exclusively in the liver and does not stimulate the release of Insulin which is the big enemy of people like me who suffer from the metabolic syndrome. Things to know if you’re going to drink alcohol is that many forms contain carbs that can torpedo any weight loss. The worst offenders are beers, even lite ones, sweet wines though all wines contain carbs the dry ones contain the least and some drinks like hard cider and lemonade are as bad as drinking Coke. You will have to count carbs if you consume these. Drinks like Rum, Scotch, Whiskey and Vodka have zero carbs if you drink them with water. However, Scotch and Whi Continue reading >>
Ketosis – Advantaged Or Misunderstood State? (part I)
As The Eating Academy approaches its first birthday in about a month, I figured it was as good a time as any to put together some thoughts on a subject I get asked about with great frequency. (For those wondering when I’ll get to Part X of The Straight Dope on Cholesterol, the answer is, “hopefully before the end of the year.”) A few months ago I was planning a post along the lines of “the 10 things you need to know about ketosis,” but I’m now thinking that might be putting the proverbial cart before the horse. So, let’s start with a more fundamental set of questions. In part I of this post I will see to it (assuming you read it) that you’ll know more about ketosis than just about anyone, including your doctor or the majority of “experts” out there writing about this topic. Before we begin, a disclaimer in order: If you want to actually understand this topic, you must invest the time and mental energy to do so. You really have to get into the details. Obviously, I love the details and probably read 5 or 6 scientific papers every week on this topic (and others). I don’t expect the casual reader to want to do this, and I view it as my role to synthesize this information and present it to you. But this is not a bumper-sticker issue. I know it’s trendy to make blanket statements – ketosis is “unnatural,” for example, or ketosis is “superior” – but such statements mean nothing if you don’t understand the biochemistry and evolution of our species. So, let’s agree to let the unsubstantiated statements and bumper stickers reside in the world of political debates and opinion-based discussions. For this reason, I’ve deliberately broken this post down and only included this content (i.e., background) for Part I. What is ketosis? Ketosis is Continue reading >>
Ketosis And Alcohol
When it comes to the ketogenic lifestyle, there are lots of confusing and conflicting opinions floating around, and they can lead to all kinds of mistakes. One of those confusing areas is how alcohol fits into a ketogenic lifestyle. Hopefully, after you read this, you’ll have a pretty good understanding and some tools to use to make informed decisions along the way. First off, not all alcoholic beverages are the same. Alcohol is the same across the board; it’s a macronutrient with seven calories per gram, so that’s the starting point. It’s a byproduct of fermentation. Essentially, a sugar compound is acted upon by yeast and the yeast produces alcohol and carbon dioxide. Depending on the type of sugar compound, you get different kinds of alcoholic beverages. Hard liquor, or spirits, takes the process a little further and adds distillation. That is, essentially, the process of “boiling off” the alcohol and then re-condensing (as it cools) it into more a more concentrated form. When you something marketed as “Distilled 9 times”, that just means they went through the boiling and condensing process nine times. Okay, so that’s where alcohol comes from, but that’s not all there is to it. Like said, the type of sugar compound determines the type of alcohol. For example, beer is made with, basically four ingredients. Barley, hops, water, and yeast. Barley is the primary ingredient, it’s where the sugar (maltose) comes from for the yeast. It’s also very similar to wheat. It’s a very bad carb. And it’s the reason that some people call beer “liquid bread”. It is far too rich in carbohydrates, not just the sugars, but the other “glutenous carbs”. So it’s a definite no for Ketovangelists. Beer does not fit into a ketogenic lifestyle. (Sidenote: A Continue reading >>
Alcohol On A Low Carb, Keto Diet!
For years, I’ve read countless dieting books that prohibited me from drinking alcohol. Actually, it’s probably the first thing that many “diet gurus” say to cut out of your diet and for (somewhat) good reason. Alcohol gets a bad reputation because it’s basically empty calories. In an ideal world, sure. I’ll give up alcohol to lose weight. But let’s get serious. I’m 23 years old and I very much enjoy a tasty alcoholic beverage (or 5) and a wild night out on the town with my friends. 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. Liquor 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 (order a double? Double the nutritional stats). Approved spirits on a keto, low carb diet include: Vodka (Three Olives, Absolut, Grey Goose, etc.) Rum (Captain Morgan, etc) Gin (Tanqueray, Beefeater, etc) Tequila Whiskey (Jack Daniel’s, etc.) Scotch Brandy Cognac (Hennessy, 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 carbohydrates. My spirit of choice is generally a nice gin (with soda water& lime) or cognac (with diet cola). I’ve been known to drink a fair share of Hennessy. 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 Continue reading >>
Keto Diet Alcohol Guide: Is Booze Okay If It’s Low Carb?
If you’re a boozy babe, you’re likely to ask the million dollar question: “Can I drink alcohol on the keto diet?” This keto diet alcohol guide will point you in the right direction. First, to answer your question: yes, you most certainly can have alcohol on the keto diet. That’s right, not all booze has carbohydrates in it! Most spirits have 0 carbs. Take a shot or four two of vodka, tequila, or gin and you’re still sitting well below your daily carb limit. A glass of white wine, like pinot or sauvignon blanc, only has about 3 net carbohydrates per serving. For the most part, you’re SOL with beer due to the gluten and high carb count. You’ll see in the table below that you can technically make some light beers fit your macros (IIFYM-style), but I’m going to go ahead and give beer a big thumbs down as a keto-approved beverage. In fact, I have a whole comprehensive list of alcoholic beverages sorted by carb count at the bottom of this post if you want to jump to the nitty gritty details of alcohol nutrition data. (CLICK HERE TO SKIP STRAIGHT TO THE KETO ALCOHOL LIST) But before you run off and get white girl wasted with celebratory low carb drinks, there’s a few things you should know about drinking alcohol while you’re in ketosis. I will admit right here and now that alcohol is by far my biggest vice. While my days of telling strangers I love them, sobbing uncontrollably over nothing, and woo-ing too loudly at concerts are over, I do still enjoy a good cocktail (Exhibit A: Vodka Mojito Recipe and Exhibit B: Kamikaze Shot Recipe, two of the keto diet alcohol drink recipes you’ll find on this site). This is a judgement-free zone. The upcoming lecture is just as much for myself as it is for you. The Obligatory Buzz-Kill Alcohol is not a nutrient. Boo Continue reading >>
Ketosis & Alcohol, What Are The Impacts?
When on a ketogenic diet or other low carb diets there are many people asking if it is possible to combine ketosis and Alcohol. The simple answer is yes, you can stay in ketosis even though you drink alcohol but you need to be careful what kind of alcohol you drink. You can also not drink alcohol on a regular basis since it will impact your weight loss even though it does not take you out of ketosis. The main reason that alcohol will impact your ketosis is that the body is not able to store the alcohol that you consume. Instead it will start to metabolize the calories in the alcohol first before the body uses any other energy sources. This means that you will not use fat as your main energy source until the alcohol in the body has been used up. Still does not impact ketosis, but your weight loss results. Also when drinking alcohol on ketosis there are some kinds of alcohol that are better than others. Your first choice should be vodka, whiskey or other types of strong alcohol. They contain no or very little carbohydrates. If you do not like to drink strong alcohol then some dry wine is also quite okay. It contains some more carbohydrates but still okay now and then. Beer and other kinds of alcohol you should stay away from if you want to focus on your diet. To help you to know how many calories there are in different types of alcohol you can use this keto alcohol cheat sheet from dietketo.com Red Wines Based on 5oz or 1.5dL. Merlot: 3.7g carbohydrates and 120 calories Pinot Noir: 3.4g carbohydrates and 121 calories Cabernet: 3.8g carbohydrates and 120 calories White Wines Based on 5oz or 1.5dL. Chardonnay: 3.7g carbohydrates and 118 calories Riesling: 5.5g carbohydrates and 118 calories Sparkling whites: 1.5g carbohydrates and 96 calories Beer Based on 12oz or 3.5dL. Mi Continue reading >>
Atkins Diet & Alcohol
On the Atkins diet, you take in a limited amount of carbohydrates a day so you have to count them scrupulously to make sure you don’t exceed your daily quota. Although you’re allowed to drink some alcohol on both variations of this low-carb plan, doing so may hinder your weight-loss efforts. In addition, you need to count the carbs in your wine and cocktails as you would any other carbohydrate-containing food or beverage and figure them into your daily total. Ask your doctor about how alcohol fits into your diet, because it may interact with medications you are taking. Video of the Day Alcohol in the Atkins Diet Induction Phase The Atkins diet consists of two separate diet plans. Atkins 20, the classic Atkins diet, consists of four different phases. The first phase is known as "induction," and it’s the most stringent; on it you consume only 20 to 25 “net” carbs a day. That’s the number you get when you subtract the grams of fiber from the total grams of carbs in a food or beverage. During the induction phase of Atkins 20, which lasts for two weeks, your body goes into ketosis – a metabolic process in which you burn fat for fuel in the absence of carbs. The Atkins diet recommends that you not drink alcohol in these first two weeks, or you’ll risk interfering with your weight loss. Your body burns alcohol before fat; when you drink, you switch out of ketosis temporarily and postpone your progress. The goal in the induction phase is to try to reduce your cravings for foods like sugar, alcohol, wheat and grains and to stabilize your blood sugar for the best weight-loss results. Alcohol in Later Phases of Atkins If you steer clear of alcohol in the first two weeks of Atkins, you will probably make significant progress toward weight loss. In the later phases, Continue reading >>
Drinking On Keto To Improve Your Diet
Drinking alcohol in moderation benefits your health and your diet. Before you start running down the street with an Atkins bar and a bottle, there are a few things you should know. The good and bad news about alcohol How to drink on a low carb or keto diet Alcohol lists: wine, liquor, beer, mixers Yes, low carb beer. Use our low carb alcohol quick list to keep those carbs in check. Alcohol, Keto and Low Carb Diets It’s all here. The good news (there’s plenty), the bad news and the safest way to drink on your diet. One warning: Please don’t go crazy. Hangovers on low carb are nightmarish. Ask around. First, the Bad News Like fructose, alcohol is a toxin and horrible for your liver. Studies show alcohol damages the liver more when high amounts of polyunsaturated fat is also being consumed. Thankfully, the low carb diet is already very low in polyunsaturated fat, adding some protection from the damage of alcohol on the liver. Warnings for Low Carbers Ketosis lowers your alcohol tolerance, so drink slowly. Alcohol disrupts coordination and fine motor skills, and causes a loss of inhibitions. Remember that time when… Of course you don’t. Be careful. While drinking alcohol, food cravings and temptations are more difficult to resist. Alcohol acts as a diuretic, causing dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Can I Drink on a Keto Diet? Yes, but… Once you are stable on your diet it is perfectly fine to drink in moderation. Be aware of the carbs and calories in your drink, and the slowing effect it has on fat burning. Your body has no mechanism to store the energy in alcohol, so you will metabolize the calories in alcohol first. While your body is metabolizing alcohol, it is NOT metabolizing fat. Consuming alcohol will not knock you out of ketosis completely, but it Continue reading >>
The Ultimate Keto Alcohol Guide
Alcohol on a Low Carb Diet! Alcohol gets a bad rep, and is certainly one of the most abused substances in the world. It can become a serious problem when it interferes with your personal/social life and well-being. To enjoy it we need to exercise moderation and self-control. If you like having a couple of beers, shots or glasses of wine to relax or have a good time on weekends, you’re in good shape! But throw a low carb diet into the mix, and you may find yourself struggling with the quantity of alcohol you’re drinking. People on a keto or low carb diet notice their tolerances significantly drop. And when you realize your favorite drink contains more than 30 grams of carbs in a small serving, you may consider giving alcohol up. Before you give it up, use our Ultimate Keto Alcohol Guide to help navigate your way through your local bar and become a keto connoisseur. How and Why Alcohol Affects Us “…alcohol molecules slow down signals from the brain for actions such as walking and talking” Alcohol is actually the fourth macronutrient, providing our body with 7 calories per gram. If you aren’t familiar with macronutrients, you can read more about macronutrients here. Since alcohol is not needed for survival and is considered toxic to humans, it’s ignored under this umbrella of essential macronutrients. When we ingest alcohol (in the form of ethanol), our body begins to work to metabolize it, or destroy/break it down to get energy. Since alcohol is toxic to our bodies, we begin to metabolize it as soon as possible. The tipsy feeling we get is the alcohol being metabolized. Since alcohol molecules are water and fat soluble, they’re able to pass through and be delivered to pretty much all parts of our body, most importantly, our brain and liver. About 98% of th Continue reading >>
Keto Diet Alcohol Rules: What To Drink, What To Avoid
Boy, doesn’t that bottle of wine above look like it’s ominously laying in a casket? Alcohol is infamously known as the fourth macronutrient. If you enjoy a drink or two but aren’t sure if that fits into the keto diet alcohol guidelines, let’s shed some light on the keto diet alcohol rules so you can make an informed decision about what’s best for your goals. Let’s not sugar coat this: When you drink alcohol, your body is getting the signal that there is a toxic substance present. It will then send all it’s resources to the liver to process the toxin as quickly as possible, taking resources from other processes, one of which, is fat oxidation (re: ketone production). This means drinking alcohol slows ketone production. It’s true that partying looks a little different when you’re keto. Some people consider it (or rationalize it) that it’s their cheat meal. There are some legitimate concerns when it comes to consuming alcohol on a ketogenic diet. Here are some of the biggest things to keep in mind before reaching for your next drink. Keto Diet Alcohol Rules: What to Avoid and Why Let’s first acknowledge that not all alcoholic drinks are created equal. Of course, alcohol (ethanol) the molecule itself, is always the same. Yeast acts on a sugar compound to make both carbon dioxide and the alcohol. But the type of sugar compound used and the type of drink mixture is what determines how your body uses the alcohol. For example, let’s look at beer. It’s made from barley, hops, yeast, and water. Barley is the main ingredient broken down to the sugar maltose, which is what the yeast acts on. Beer is a dangerous drink for those going keto because the process leaves it rich in carbohydrates, which can stop or slow ketosis. In the same vein, some other drinks Continue reading >>
The Basic Ketogenic Diet
Note: Please note that if you are interested in a Ketogenic Diet used to treat Epilepsy or Pediatric Epilepsy, please start at Johns Hopkins who are the pioneers in this field. The wikipedia page for the Ketogenic Diet diet also has information on the diet as it relates to treating epilepsy. The diet below is simply for rapid and effective weight loss and uses a 1 to 1 fat to protein ratio rather than the 4 to 1 fat to combined protein and carbs ratio of the Ketogenic Diet pioneered by Johns Hopkins used to treat epilepsy. [wp_ad_camp_3] Disclaimer: I am neither a doctor nor self proclaimed nutrition expert so please consult your doctor before starting any diet or taking any action that affects your health and wellbeing. After finishing Gary Taubes latest book, which seems to have rapidly become the cornerstone of a new approach to nutrition, I’ve become very interested in the Ketogenic diet. The speed of weight loss I’ve seen is incredible and my energy level has remained high. The science behind a ketogenic diet is solidly backed up by Taubes research published in “Good Calories, Bad Calories” and “Why we get fat“. According to Taubes’ research, it may also be the only way for people who have become severely insulin resistant, to effectively lose weight. The Ketogenic diet has always lived on the fringes of diet lore and has been seen as extreme. But the reality is that the low glycemic index diet (Low GI Diet) is effective because it is close to, but not quite, a ketogenic diet. Other diets like the South Beach Diet are also only effective because of the reduction in carbs and consequently insulin levels. The science behind this diet looks solid and it is part of the massive shift in nutrition research we’ve seen in the last few years. Prominent sport Continue reading >>
The Truth About Alcohol, Fat Loss And Muscle Growth
I’ve been getting tons of questions relating to alcohol and fat loss lately. Happens every time summer rolls around. Outdoor parties, clubbing, vacations and the whole shebang. Alcohol is a key ingredient. What people want to know is basically how fattening alcohol is, how it affects protein synthesis, how to make it work with their diet, and what drinks to go for at the club. I think this is very good topic to cover today, since we’re right in the middle of summer and all, because most people involved in the fitness and health game tend to miss out on a lot of fun due to avoiding alcohol. I know a lot of peeps who’d rather stay home and manage their diet than go out and have a few drinks. Sad, really, because it’s all for the wrong reasons. I don’t blame them though. Read the mags or listen to the “experts” and you’ll soon be believing that a few drinks will make your muscles fall off, make you impotent, and leave you with a big gut. It’s mostly bullshit, of course. No big surprise when we’re dealing with the alarmist fitness mainstream that can’t seem to put things in the right perspective if their life depended on it. This is a definitive primer on the effects of alcohol on all things someone interested in optimizing body composition might be interested in. At the end of this article I’m also going to show you how a hopeless drunk like myself can stay lean while drinking on a regular basis. Alcohol and thermogenesis There’s been an ongoing debate for years whether alcohol calories “count” or not. This debate has been spurred on by the fact that drinkers weigh less than non-drinkers and studies showing accelerated weight loss when fat and carbs are exchanged for an equivalent amount of calories from alcohol. The connection between a lower Continue reading >>
No-churn Vanilla Keto Ice-cream
Chocolate or vanilla ice-cream, which one do you prefer? I can never decide and the truth is I love them all: strawberry, cherry and chocolate & mint. This recipe has been adapted from the amazing no-churn ice-cream by Mary Berry. I used a low-carb sweetener instead of sugar and added some vanilla powder for an extra flavour boost. I also used a pinch of cream of tartar to help the ice-cream stay light and creamy. Nutritional values (per serving, ~ 1 cup, 2 large scoops) Total Carbs 2.3 grams Fiber 0 grams Net Carbs 2.3 grams Protein 5.1 grams Fat 22.2 grams of which Saturated 13.1 grams Energy 238 kcal Magnesium 8 mg (2% RDA) Potassium 93 mg (5% EMR) Macronutrient ratio: Calories from carbs (4%), protein (9%), fat (87%). Ingredients (makes 6 servings) 4 large eggs, separated ½ cup powdered Erythritol or Swerve or other healthy low-carb sweetener from this list (40 g/ 1.4 oz) 1 ¼ cups heavy whipping cream or coconut cream for dairy-free (300 ml / 10 fl oz) 1 tbsp sugar-free vanilla extract (you can make your own) or 1 tsp vanilla bean powder or 1 vanilla bean Note: If a recipe calls for raw eggs and you are concerned about the potential risk of Salmonella, you can make it safe by using pasteurized eggs. To pasteurize eggs at home, simply pour enough water in a saucepan to cover the eggs. Heat to about 140 F / 60 C. Using a spoon, slowly place the eggs into the saucepan. Keep the eggs in the water for about 3 minutes. This should be enough to pasteurize the eggs and kill any potential bacteria. Let the eggs cool down before using in any recipe, or store in the fridge for 6-8 weeks. Tips for soft ice-cream: This recipe produces soft and creamy ice-cream. However, once left in the freezer for more than 4 hours, it will get hard. Below are some tips to help you keep it so Continue reading >>
Will This Kick Me Out Of Ketosis?
A common question people have when starting keto is “will this kick me out of ketosis?” I’m going to address as many items as I can think of and explain why it will or will not kick you out of keto. This is going to be as comprehensive as possible so either use ctrl + f to find what you’re looking for or buckle up and read on. How do humans enter ketosis in the first place? Things will become much more clear if we explain how humans enter ketosis. Mainly, liver glycogen is what determines if ketones will be produced. Specifically, glycogen in the liver signals malonyl-coa to be formed by carboxylating acetyl-coa. Acetyl-coa is used in many processes and it’s the main substrate used to be turned into ketones. The wiki on regulation of ketogenesis which applies to this scenario says “When the body has no free carbohydrates available, fat must be broken down into acetyl-CoA in order to get energy. Acetyl-CoA is not being recycled through the citric acid cycle because the citric acid cycle intermediates (mainly oxaloacetate) have been depleted to feed the gluconeogenesis pathway, and the resulting accumulation of acetyl-CoA activates ketogenesis.” Basically, when there is more acetyl-CoA than oxaloacetate, the acetyl-CoA becomes acetoacetate, a ketone body. In plain English, carbs provide oxaloacetate, so if it doesn’t have carbs, it likely isn’t going to kick you out of ketosis. I’ll state the exceptions later. Why do humans enter ketosis so readily? Humans enter ketosis faster than any animal on the planet. It usually takes 24-36 hours before we enter ketosis.This is because we have huge brains and tiny bodies. Our brains need ~400 calories/day, which for most people that equates to 20% of our total energy demands. To put this in perspective, most anim Continue reading >>