Can You Drink Alcohol on a Low-Carb Diet?

HealthLine – Low-carb diets have recently become increasingly popular as an effective way to lose weight and improve health.

They typically involve cutting out high-carb foods like refined grains, fruits, starchy vegetables, and legumes and instead focus on healthy fats and proteins.

However, many people are uncertain about whether alcohol can be consumed on a low-carb diet, and recommendations on the subject can be conflicting.

This article investigates whether you can or should drink alcohol on a low-carb diet.

Many Types of Alcohol Are High in Carbs

Many types of alcohol are high in carbohydrates — some packing in more carbs per serving than soft drinks, sweets, and desserts.

For example, beer typically has a high carb content, as starch is one of its primary ingredients.

It generally contains 3–12 grams of carbs per 12-ounce (355-ml) serving, depending on various factors, such as whether it’s a light or regular variety (1).

Mixed drinks are also typically high in carbs due to ingredients like sugar, juice and other high-carb mixers added to improve flavor.

Alcohol Contains Empty Calories

Alcohol is rich in empty calories, meaning that it contains many calories without vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients that your body needs.

This can not only potentially contribute to nutritional deficiencies but may also lead to weight gain over time.

Alcohol is the second most calorie-dense nutrient after fat — packing 7 calories per gram (2).

Adding even a single serving of alcohol to your diet every day can add hundreds of extra calories while contributing next to no protein, fiber or micronutrients.

If you’re not adjusting your diet to account for these extra calories, they may lead to weight gain, regardless of your carb intake.

Alcohol Can Slow Down Fat Burning

Studies show that heavy drinking can block fat burning and hinder weight loss.

Read more at HealthLine.

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