No matter how committed you are to losing weight, and no matter what kind of diet plan you are following, there will be times when you feel like throwing the towel in, calling it quits altogether, and stuffing your face full of the foods and drinks that you have denied yourself of for so long.
Even the ever-popular low-carb diets such as Atkins or Keto can be pretty frustrating, especially at times when you feel like nothing can quench your thirst like a cool beer or a refreshing cocktail.
The sad truth is, however, that alcohol and diets generally do not belong together. However, if you aren’t a low-carb purist – and you do allow yourself a treat from time to time – then you can make what I’d like to call ‘educated exceptions’ when it comes to alcohol consumption.
There will inevitably be times when you are not mentally strong enough to say no to certain indulgences – and alcoholic drinks are certainly one of the main offenders in this particular department. Social gatherings, parties, trips to the bar with friends and the holiday seasons all add a certain amount of peer pressure, but above all these are times when we want to indulge ourselves a little.
Can You Consume Alcohol on a Low-carb Diet?
The good news is that there are certain alcoholic beverages you can could consume when following a low-carb diet that will not harm your progress as much as others will. If you’re a purist, then I’d advise you look away now! We’re about to break a few low-carb diet rules here! But the fact of the matter is that sometimes, the thought of complete and utter deprivation of the things we enjoy (such as alcohol) can be detrimental to our progress as it leads to us throwing in the towel all together! But note here that it goes without saying that drinking every day isn’t good for your health – regardless of the lifestyle you lead, so let’s just say that moderation is key!
Here we’ll take a look at some of the better alcoholic beverages to consume on a low carb diet plan, plus we’ll look at what alcohol does to the body, and why you should only consume it on special occasions.
Things to Note about Alcohol and Low-carb Diets
For low-carb diets, the key is to restrict carbohydrate consumption in order to trigger ketosis – the state in which your body burns fat for fuel, using your own body fat stores as it’s primary source of energy. Alcohol however, can interfere with ketosis, as most alcoholic drinks are loaded with carbohydrates and sugars! During the initial stages of a low-carb diet however (the point at which you are becoming ‘keto-adapted’) if you consume alcohol, you can knock your body ‘out’ of ketosis, setting your progress back considerably. This is because the sugars contained in alcohol will become the body’s first and primary source of energy. Remember – our bodies burn carbohydrates first!
However, once you’ve been in ketosis for a couple of weeks, alcohol consumption (very occasionally) shouldn’t damage your progress too much – so long as you make some educated choices about which alcoholic drinks you decide to treat yourself with.
Before we take a quick look at some of the best alcohol drinks for a low carb diet, it is worth mentioning that (as I’m sure we all know) drinking too much can lead to poor judgement. Even though you may be consuming virtually no carbohydrates by drinking vodka and diet coke all night, after your fifth double, you may decide that a large pizza and fries on the way home from the club is not such a bad idea after all! Not until you wake up the next morning, at least.
In short – have a drink, by all means. But don’t get drunk.
The Best Alcoholic Drinks for Low-Carb Dieting
Now that we’ve looked at alcohol and carbohydrates, here are a few ideas for some alcoholic drinks to consume (in moderation) if you’re willing to treat yourself:
- Vodka and diet coke
- Vodka and diet lemonade
- Single whiskey and diet coke
- Guilt Free Cocoa nightcap with a splash of whiskey
- Low carb beer
- Gin and tonic water
- A small glass of Sauvignon Blanc wine
- A small glass of Pinot Noir wine
- A small glass of Merlot wine
- Rum and diet coke or coke zero
- Vodka and sugar-free energy drinks (diet Red Bull etc)
Generally, spirits with diet or sugar-free mixers are the safest option, and low-carb beers can be enjoyed very occasionally (although some might say the taste is a little polarizing). In any case, we’ve put together a quick cheat sheet for you to save or pin to Pinterest if you want to keep some of the better alcoholic drinks options close to hand:
Do you have an idea for a low(ish) carb cocktail recipe? Perhaps you treat yourself at the weekends with a glass of wine, and want to share your experiences about how it’s afftected your progress? We’d LOVE to hear about it, so please share it with us in the comments section below.
And, on a final note – please drink responsibly 🙂