Carbs In Alcohol (Carb Charts) – Ditch The Carbs (2022)

The ultimate guide to carbs in alcohol - the good, the bad and the ugly. You can still enjoy alcohol when living low carb, but by making better choices and in moderation.

Alcohol can be a tonic or toxic - it depends on how much and how often.

Carbs In Alcohol (Carb Charts) – Ditch The Carbs (1)
Jump to:
  • Can I drink alcohol on a low-carb or keto diet?
  • How much alcohol can I drink?
  • How alcohol affects our body
  • Alcohol charts
  • Cider (sugar, sugar, sugar)
  • Spirits, liqueurs and mixers
  • Wines to avoid
  • All Ultimate Guides
  • 💬 Comments

Can I drink alcohol on a low-carb or keto diet?

Carbs In Alcohol (Carb Charts) – Ditch The Carbs (2)

One of the most frequent questions I am asked by newcomers who are contemplating starting a low-carb or keto diet is "can I still drink alcohol?" "How many carbs in alcohol?"

For many readers, it is a deal-breaker whether they will even consider beginning. And readers who have been living low carb for some time want to know why their weight has stalled, could it be their Friday night cocktails?

The quick and easy answer is always this - you may drink alcohol but just be aware that the body will always metabolise alcohol before metabolising fat and alcohol may lead to alcoholic fatty liver disease (1) and increased appetite (2, 3). So if weight loss has stopped for you, it may be time to cut back on alcohol for a while.

It's not no forever, it's just no for now.

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How much alcohol can I drink?

Carbs In Alcohol (Carb Charts) – Ditch The Carbs (3)

Firstly let me say, I love my red wine and I love my bubbles. I love a drink with friends asmuch as the next person, but I know not to drink to excess, and not to drink too often.

Occasional drinks with friends and family is a wonderful way to celebrate, relax, unwind and socialise. As long as alcohol is consumed in moderation and you choose low carb options, you can still enjoy alcohol.

Do you knowhow many drinks you have each week? You need to be completely honest with yourself, and if even the thought of cutting back on alcohol is frightening, you need to get serious about how much and how often you drink.

I know plenty of people that could not entertain the idea of having a night with friends without excessive alcohol yet they complain they can't lose weight or have medical problems that are associated with alcohol use.

They would never associate the two but make no mistake, excessive alcohol is damaging. It is linked to cancer (especially breast, liver and colon), weight gain, alcoholic liver disease, anaemia and heart disease.

How alcohol affects our body

Carbs In Alcohol (Carb Charts) – Ditch The Carbs (4)

Thehealthconcerns (don't underestimate these)

  • Alcohol will always be metabolised before anything else in the liver because it is a toxin.
  • Alcohol is not your friend if you are trying to lose belly fat.
  • You may be able to drink in moderation but make no mistake, it will stop weight loss and evencause weight gain.
  • If you want to break through a weight-loss plateau, stop alcohol completely until you see the results you want.
  • Alcohol lowers your self-controlwhen it comes to eating healthy foods.
  • Drinking alcohol will increase your cravings and appetite (you get the 'munchies').
  • Alcohol can cause fatty liver disease.

The healthbenefits (don't overestimate these)

  • Alcohol may be good for heart health, but only if consumed in moderation (otherwise it may adversely affect heart health).
  • Red wine can be a great source of resveratrol, an antioxidant. But not in excess.
  • Alcohol is a relaxant.

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Alcohol charts

"Beer is just liquid bread"

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Carbs In Alcohol (Carb Charts) – Ditch The Carbs (5)

Image credit: Diet Doctor, carbs in alcohol. Used with permission

Beer is made from grains(oats,barley, wheat, rye), malt (sugar) and yeast. They don't call a big gut a "beer belly" for nothing.

Beer was originally brewed to provide nourishment for adults and children alike, especially during periods of fasting. So next time you order a beer, ponder for a moment on whether you are actually ordering a liquid meal.

Don't confuse low carb beer with low alcohol beer. Many perceive them as healthier so consume more of them.

Cider (sugar, sugar, sugar)

Cider is fermented apple juice, many are incredibly sweet. Cider varies considerably from brand to brand. Let's take a look at a few examples. Each is per 12 fl oz serving Amber 28g, Bittersweet barrels aged, 21g, Granny Smith 11g, Harpoon 10g, Woodchuck summer cider 25g

Spirits, liqueurs and mixers

Carbs In Alcohol (Carb Charts) – Ditch The Carbs (6)

Sweet liqueurs,stop buying them -amaretto 17g, Baileys 7.4g, Blue curaçao 7g, Cointreau 7g, Creme de menthe 22g, Jaegermeister 27g, Kailua 15g, Peach Schnapps 8g, Samba 18g. carbs per 1 oz/29.5ml serving.

Spirits can be a great low carb alcohol choice, most are zero carb. What you mix them with can be the problem. Whisky on the rocks is a good low carb option but rum and coke (or even worse, Red Bull)isprobably the worst choice you can make.

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Cocktails can be a total disaster. They are mixed with sugar syrups, high sugar juice or soda, and high sugar liqueurs. Make your own so you know what went into the cocktail or limit yourself to just one then swap onto a lower carb option.

Why not mix your usual spirit with water, diet drinks or soda water? Instead of a single shot in a small tumbler, ask for a single shot in a tall glass so it will last longer through the night. And why not try alternating an alcoholic drink with just the mixer?

Wines to avoid

Avoid the sweet wines and the sticky dessert wines, instead, choose the dry wines and the less sweet varieties.

Red wines -Cabernet sauvignon 3.8g,Merlot 3.7g, Pinot noir 3.4g, Shiraz Syrah 3.8g Zinfandel 4.2g per 5 fl oz/147ml glass

White wines -Chardonnay 3.2g, Dessert wines 20.2g, Muscat 7.8g, Riesling 5.5g, Sauvignon blanc 3g per 5 fl oz/147ml glass

Carbs In Alcohol (Carb Charts) – Ditch The Carbs (7)

Nutritional values from

All Ultimate Guides

  • Ultimate Guide To Carbs InFood0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 lists
  • Carbs In Vegetables
  • Carbs In Fruit
  • What Are Healthy Fats
  • Low Carb Sweeteners
  • Low Carb Flours
  • Guide To Carbs In Beige Food
  • Coconut Flour vs Almond Flour
  • Carbs In Nuts And Seeds
  • Carbs In Sauces
Carbs In Alcohol (Carb Charts) – Ditch The Carbs (8)

[Update] Why Did I Go Alcohol-Free For 1 Year?

Carbs In Alcohol (Carb Charts) – Ditch The Carbs (9)
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I challenged myself to live alcohol-free for 2019, apart from two special days in the calendar where I savoured every single sip from a single glass.

The more I read about the toxicity of alcohol and the role it plays in many disease states lead me to cut back dramatically on my alcohol consumption, to the point where I wanted to be alcohol-free for an entire year.

It was a purely personal and individual choice, but the more I read, there is no getting away from it, alcohol is a toxin and I want to live the healthiest life I can. Yes, there is much debate to whether 1-2 glasses a night or a week is beneficial, but for me, I wanted to see if I could do it.

It was a personal challenge that started with my members inside Ditch The Carbs PRO.

I felt fabulous, no more foggy mornings, no more lethargy after a few too many the previous night. I thought I was energetic when I started living low-carb but the energy and clarity when living alcohol-free is unbelievable.

It hasn't hindered me in any way in social situations, but what was surprised by has been the reaction from others fell into either 1) well done, I couldn't do it but awesome you are trying it for a year OR 2) oh for goodness sake, what on earth is there left?

It has been interesting to understand these reactions. I am very private and only tell those around me that I am alcohol-free if I'm asked. I did not declare it publicly. I am not judging anyone and I am not asking anyone to join me. In fact, I often feel I am being judged then often scorned.

Have you ever gone alcohol-free? What has been your experience?

Carbs In Alcohol (Carb Charts) – Ditch The Carbs (10)


Should I count alcohol as carbs? ›

The truth is you could count alcohol as either a carb or a fat, and you wouldn't be wrong. The argument in favor of counting alcohol as fat: Alcohol's energy density is closer to fat's (7 cal/g to fat's 9 cals/g). When you consume both alcohol and fat in excess, both will make you gain weight, White says.

Does alcohol break down into carbs? ›

Light beer and wine are low in carbs while pure forms of liquor like rum, whiskey, gin and vodka are carb-free.
Low-Carb Options Are Available.
Type of alcoholServing sizeCarb content
Vodka1.5 fl oz (44 ml)0 grams
6 more rows
Sep 16, 2018

Can Low-Carb beer knock you out of ketosis? ›

Beer and cocktails can contain a lot of carbs and may take the body out of ketosis. This can make the diet less effective. Wine and light beer are lower carb options.

Are beer carbs the same as bread carbs? ›

What Has More Carbs Beer Or Bread? It is reported that whole wheat bread has 43 calories per serving while beer contains 92% less calories than whole wheat bread. Beer contains 3 grams of carbs per 100 grams, while wheat flour contains 2 grams. The carbohydrates in this serving are 6g.

Should I count alcohol as carbs or fat? ›

You can either count your alcohol as a substitute for carbs, fat, or a mix of both depending on what your macro plan for the day is. Take the total calorie content of your drink and divide it by 4 if you're going to count it towards your carbs, and divide by 9 if you're going to count it towards your fat.

Why does alcohol have calories but no carbs? ›

Alcohol is not a carbohydrate. The calories in vodka come only from the alcohol itself. Pure alcohol contains roughly 7 calories per gram. For reference, carbohydrates and protein both contain about 4 calories per gram, while fat contains about 9 calories per gram.

Does alcohol stop ketosis? ›

When alcohol is consumed during ketosis, your body will convert to using acetate as an energy source rather than fat. Overall, even if the alcohol consumed is not high in carbs, it does provide energy for the body to burn rather than fat, essentially slowing the ketosis process.

Does your body turn alcohol into sugar? ›

Some sources claim that alcohol is converted into sugar by the liver. This is not true. Alcohol is converted to a number of intermediate substances (none of which is sugar), until it is eventually broken down to carbon dioxide and water.

Do beer carbs turn into sugar? ›

But is it? Well, this persistent myth is totally false. Sugar and carbohydrate-rich foods raise your blood glucose level, while alcohol actually has the opposite effect — it makes your blood sugar drop.

Will one beer kick me out of keto? ›

The bottom line: If you're a very occasional spirits drinker, alcohol probably won't derail your keto lifestyle. But if you find yourself drinking high-carb beverages, or drinking often during the week or every weekend, you might be slowing down the fat-burning you want on keto.

How do I get back into ketosis after drinking? ›

You can get back into ketosis by fasting the next day (or the day after, if you're not feeling so hot the next day). A full day fast is usually enough to get you back into ketosis quickly, even if you went a little overboard at happy hour.

Does vodka break ketosis? ›

Pure spirits such as vodka, gin, whiskey etc. are essentially zero carb, meaning they're unlikely to kick you out of ketosis. Just remember these are neat spirits we're talking about so moderation is extra important!

Is drinking a beer like eating 7 slices of bread? ›

Beer equals energy

One bottle of beer equals the kilojoule value of approximately seven slices of bread. Now if you drank a whole six-pack of beers, you would have polished off just over two loaves of bread.

How many slices of bread is equivalent to a beer? ›

The average slice of white bread has approximately 70 calories while the average beer has approximately 150 calories. Dividing the two, that's a little over 2 slices per beer.

What alcohol has most carbs? ›

Regular beer, cocktails and mixed drinks are often high in carbs, loading 10–32 grams per serving.
Drinks to Avoid.
Type of alcoholServing sizeCarb content
Whiskey sour3.5 ounces (105 ml)14 grams
Sangria1 cup (240 ml)27 grams
Piña colada4.5 ounces (133 ml)32 grams
Cosmopolitan3.5 ounces (105 ml)22 grams
3 more rows
Nov 14, 2018

Is it OK to drink alcohol on keto? ›

The Bottom Line. Even on a keto diet, there are plenty of low-carb alcoholic beverages to choose from. Wine, light beer and pure forms of alcohol — such as whiskey, rum and gin — offer few or zero carbs per serving and are easily paired with low-carb mixers like seltzer, diet soda or sugar-free tonic water.

Does alcohol make you put on weight? ›

Summary. Alcohol can cause weight gain in four ways: it stops your body from burning fat, it's high in kilojoules, it can make you feel hungry , and it can lead to poor food choices.

Does keto work if you drink alcohol? ›

Though one glass of something strong won't knock your body out of ketosis, drinking alcohol while following a keto diet will affect your progress. Specifically, it will slow down your rate of ketosis. "The liver can make ketones out of alcohol," Atkins nutritionist Colette Heimowitz told Elite Daily.

Does alcohol turn into sugar in your body? ›

Some sources claim that alcohol is converted into sugar by the liver. This is not true. Alcohol is converted to a number of intermediate substances (none of which is sugar), until it is eventually broken down to carbon dioxide and water.


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