Is there such a thing as low carb alcohol? A lot of people new to Keto find that having a social life while doing the diet becomes trickier. Specifically around going out with friends to clubs, bars, etc because they aren’t quite sure about alcohol.
I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about drinking on Keto – most of them are just about the uncertainty regarding whether alcohol is allowed on keto or not.
The answer isn’t exactly straightforward. There is good news and bad news.
The good news is: for those of you who like to indulge – yes, you can enjoy a drink.
The bad news is: there are caveats.
1 — You have to be choosy about what you pick since a lot of alcohol is loaded up with carbs. That said – most beers, sweetened wine, champagne & liquors are a no go. You want to look for low carb alcohol.
Keep in mind that some lighter beers can be lower in carbs & also unsweetened/unflavored champagne, dry white or dry red wines are also a possibility.
Generally, it’s best if you can check the carbs either on the bottle or more likely online. This way, when you’re drinking on keto, you will know exactly how many carbs you’re consuming to try to stay within your carb counts for the day.
2 — The 2nd (and probably the most disappointing) caveat is that drinking will stall your weight loss. Regardless of it being low carb alcohol or not.
This is because your body will focus on burning the alcohol in your system over fat.
If you’re on a low carb diet for weight loss then I’d say alcohol is probably a deal-breaker, except for maybe on special occasions – because enjoying life and special events is always more important anytime!
3 — Finally, be careful when drinking on Keto. Some people find that they become inebriated much faster, so be prepared for that.
Also many find that the after effects (aka a hangover) are worse while on Keto as well.
Just be aware of how much you’re consuming, how quickly you’re consuming it and you should be fine.
In the past you might have done fine on a few beers – now you might find you’re already reaching a tipsy point after just one. You know your body, so just be aware.
Well with all that, it’s totally up to you! Frankly, I don’t usually recommend it to people but at the same time Keto is about enjoying life more & if you find that an occasional drink or even drinks with friends is important to your happiness then the choice is yours.
So, what are examples of low carb alcohol? Check out our simple guide below including carb counts.
Low Carb Alcohol
When it comes to Hard Alcohol you generally want to drink it just as a shot or with a low carb or zero carb mixer like sparkling water (best choice) and maybe a slice of lemon or lime to squeeze into your drink.
Some of the best keto alcoholic drinks are made simply just like that. Zero sugar = zero carb.
Below I’ve listed the number of carbs in tequila, carbs in rum, carbs in whiskey, carbs in vodka, cabrs in brandy and carbs in gin; plus some examples of good brands to have.
0 carbs per 1.5 oz Tequila doesn’t have many flavored versions (which can add carbs) so it’s a good choice, drinking it as it is (shots or sip it). There are many different brands out there. Find one that is made from the agave plant and has no added flavors.
0 carbs per 1.5 oz (unless it’s a flavored rum, like spiced rum for example). Read labels or look online for low carb rum.
0 carbs per 1.5 oz Good choice, no flavors, no added syrups. Just hard liquor.
0 carbs per 1.5 oz Avoid flavored vodka because they can be made with sugar-filled syrups. Just plain vodka. To be sure, do research online.
Depends on the brand of brandy. Some are made with a caramel color that ups the carbs in the drink. So be aware of that. Here are some examples:
Courvoisier – 0 carbs per 1.5 oz
Hennessy – 1 carb per 1.5 oz
Remy Martin – 3 carbs per 1.5 oz
0 carbs per 1.5 oz. Stick to simple gin, no added sugars. Good brands include Bombay, Tanqueray and Seagram’s. Might have added lime or lemon flavor, but watch out for added sugars.
LOW CARB BEER
All beer has carbs. But the amount varies by type of beer. Dark vs light. Below are some examples, low carb to high carb.
To be honest, low carb beer might not taste the best…. but, of course, everyone’s tastes are different!
So what is the best tasting low carb beer? That’s up to you, but if you’re asking me, I’d grab a Heineken Light – but at 6.8g carbs per serving, I would have to stuff it in my day or splurge and go over my carb counts and get something a little darker – because that’s what I prefer!
So, which beers have the lowest carbs? See our list below. NOTE: Numbers listed below are per 12 oz serving.
Budweiser Select 55 – 1.9 g carbs, 55 cals, 2.4% alc.
Miller Genuine Draft (MGD) Light – 2.4 g carbs, 64 cals, 2.9% alc.
Rolling Rock Green Light – 2.4 g carbs, 83 cals, 3.7% alc.
Miller 64 – 2.4 g carbs, 64 cals, 2.8% alc.
Michelob Ultra – 2.6 g carbs, 95 cals, 4.2% alc.
Budweiser Select – 3.1 g carbs, 99 cals, 4.3% alc.
Miller lite – 3.2 g carbs, 96 cals, 4.2% alc.
Beck’s premier light – 3.2 g carbs, 64 cals, 2.3% alc.
Busch Light – 3.2 g carbs, 95 cals, 4.1% alc.
Natural Light – 3.2 g carbs. 95 cals, 4.2% alc.
Michelob Ultra amber – 3.7 g carbs, 114 cals, 4% alc.
Keystone Light – 4.2 g carbs, 104 cals, 4.1% alc.
Coors Light – 4.2 g carbs, 102 cals, 4.2% alc.
Corona Light – 5 g carbs, 99 cals, 4.5% alc.
Labatt Blue – 5 g carbs, 153 cals, 5% alc.
Amstel Light – 5 g carbs, 95 cals, 3.5% alc.
Budweiser Light – 6.5 g carbs, 110 cals, 4.2% alc.
Heineken Light – 6.8 g carbs, 99 cals, 3.3% alc.
Hamm’s special light – 7.3 g carbs, 110 cals, 4% alc.
Kirin Light Beer – 7.8 g carbs, 95 cals, 3.3% alc.
Pabst Blue Ribbon light – 8.3 g carbs, 119 cals, 3.9% alc.
Dry red wine is a good low carb alcohol choice.
Take note – for you carb counters, there is good news: the higher the alcohol percentage by volume of wine means the lower carbs it will have. In the fermentation process the yeast eats the sugar, the longer the wine has been fermenting, the less sugar it’s going to have.
But, for all you calorie counters – the bad news is: The higher the alcohol content, the more calories it has. Brands vary. Cheaper wines are generally higher in sugars. So, buy a more expensive bottle if you’re looking for a low carb wine.
See below for our low carb wine chart. It includes the average carb and calorie count for top low carb wine types (5 oz serving):
- Merlot: 120 cals, 3.7 g carbs.
- Cabernet Sauvignon: 120 cals, 3.8 g carbs.
- Pinot Grigio: 121 cals, 3.4 g carbs.
- Shiraz: 121 cals, 3.8 g carbs
- Sauvignon Blanc: 122 calories, 2.7 carbs.
- Chardonnay: 118 calories, 3.7 carbs.
A 5 oz serving ranges between 1.5 g carbs – 5 g carbs depending on the type you get. Flavored champagne might be more.
Hard cider is not really a good low carb alcohol choice. After the fermentation process, manufacturers add more flavors and sugars to make it taste a certain way and so therefore the carbs are going to be higher if you choose to drink hard cider.
Here is a post on Prevention.com listing some of the best low sugar ciders. But keep in mind that over half of them on this list are over 10 g sugars which is not low carb on a keto diet.
Better options for low carb alcohol include hard liquor (shots or mixed drink with seltzer water), dry red wine, champagne and even some sub-par beers and I would choose them over hard cider if you’re following a low carb diet.
AVOID HIGH CARB MIXERS OR CHASERS
If you’re someone who likes mixed drinks, then you’re going to have to take into consideration the carb count of your mixer, too.
And if you like to chase a shot with something, think about that as well.
A few bad high carb alcoholic mixer or chaser examples are soda, juice, energy drinks, margarita mix, daiquiri mix, Bailey’s and Kahlua.
Instead, choose seltzer water or any zero carb mixer.
Well, there you have it – a complete guide to low carb alcohol. Hope you find it handy.
If you have any specific questions regarding this, leave in the comments below!