Which Alcohol Has The Least Sugar And Carbs? A Full Guide

Are you trying to maintain a low-carb or keto diet, but still want to enjoy a drink or two?

The good news is that not all alcoholic beverages are created equal when it comes to sugar and carbs. While some drinks can quickly derail your diet, others can be enjoyed in moderation without throwing off your macros.

In this article, we’ll explore which types of alcohol have the least sugar and carbs, and offer some tips for making low-carb choices when you’re out at the bar.

So grab a drink (or don’t, if you’re reading this in the morning), and let’s dive in!

Which Alcohol Has The Least Sugar And Carbs?

When it comes to choosing an alcoholic beverage that won’t sabotage your low-carb or keto diet, it’s important to understand which types of alcohol have the least sugar and carbs.

Pure alcohols like rum, vodka, gin, tequila, and whiskey contain no carbs at all. This means that they can be enjoyed in moderation without throwing off your macros. A standard 1.5 oz jigger of these spirits, without any mixer, contains on average about 100 calories.

If you’re looking for a low-calorie option, vodka is a great choice. A vodka soda is one of the lowest-calorie mixed drinks around, with about 133 calories and 0 grams of carbs in a 7.5-ounce serving.

Beer can be a bit trickier when it comes to low-carb options. While most light beers are fine, it’s important to check the carb counts of your favorite brands. Hard seltzers are also a good option, as they are basically spiked flavored seltzer water with no added sugar.

It’s important to note that mixers can quickly turn a low-carb drink into a high-carb disaster. Soft fizzy drinks, energy drinks, and fruit juices all contain an exceptionally high amount of carbs and should be avoided if you’re following a low-carb diet.

Understanding The Impact Of Alcohol On A Low-Carb Diet

While pure alcohols are carb-free, it’s important to understand the impact of alcohol on a low-carb diet. When alcohol is consumed, its calories are used first for energy before carbohydrates or fat. These calories are often referred to as “empty” and can add up quickly. For example, a single serving of clear spirits can have around 100 empty calories.

Additionally, alcohol can have unpredictable effects on blood sugar levels. When alcohol is present in the body, the liver immediately begins breaking it down into carbon dioxide and water. While the liver is working on breaking down the alcohol, it may not be regulating the amount of glucose in the blood as effectively. This can cause blood glucose levels to drop, especially if alcohol is consumed on an empty stomach.

To minimize the impact of alcohol on a low-carb diet, it’s best to limit consumption to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. A drink is defined as 12-ounces of beer, 4-ounces of wine, or a jigger of distilled alcohol. It’s also important to avoid drinking on an empty stomach and to choose low-carb mixers like diet soda or sugar-free tonic water.

Finally, it’s important to remember that while some alcoholic drinks may have zero carbs, they can still affect weight loss results. This is because alcohol de-prioritizes the utilization of fat to make ketones, which can stall weight loss progress. It’s best to choose low-carb alcoholic beverages in moderation and to prioritize healthy eating habits in order to achieve optimal results on a low-carb or keto diet.

Choosing Low-Carb Liquors: Vodka, Gin, And Tequila

When it comes to hard liquors, vodka, gin, and tequila are some of the best options for those looking to keep their carb intake low. Vodka is a distilled spirit that contains zero carbs and zero sugar, making it a great alternative to other alcoholic drinks. The distillation process does not add any carbs to the vodka, making it a lower calorie option with about 97 calories per 1.5 ounces. Additionally, vodka offers some health benefits such as reducing the risk of stroke, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

Gin is another low-carb liquor that is made by distilling botanicals such as juniper berries and other herbs. It contains no carbs or sugar and has a similar calorie count to vodka. Gin also has some potential health benefits due to the antioxidants found in the botanicals used in its production.

Tequila is a distilled spirit made from the blue agave plant and is known for its distinct taste. Like vodka and gin, tequila contains no carbs or sugar and has a relatively low calorie count at around 97 calories per 1.5 ounces. Tequila also has some potential health benefits such as aiding in digestion and potentially reducing the risk of osteoporosis.

It’s important to note that while these liquors contain no carbs or sugar, they should still be consumed in moderation. Additionally, mixers should be avoided or chosen carefully to keep carb counts low. Opt for soda water or flavored sparkling water instead of sugary mixers like fruit juices or soft drinks.

Low-Carb Beer And Wine Options

For beer lovers, there are some low-carb options available. Light beers are typically lower in carbs than regular beers, with some brands containing as little as 3.2 grams of carbs per 12-fluid-ounce bottle. However, it’s important to check the label and make sure that “light” refers to low-carb rather than low-calorie or low-alcohol.

Another option for beer lovers is hard seltzers, which have become increasingly popular in recent years. These drinks are usually made with sparkling water and a splash of fruit flavor, and they contain very few carbs and calories. Most hard seltzers contain around 2 grams of carbs per 12-fluid-ounce can.

Wine lovers have a wider range of low-carb options to choose from. Dry wines like red, white, and rosé have no residual sugar and are therefore lower in carbs than sweet or dessert wines. A 5-ounce pour of dry wine typically contains between 3 to 7 grams of carbs, making it a great option for those on a low-carb or keto diet.

It’s important to note that moderation is key when it comes to alcohol consumption, regardless of whether you’re following a low-carb diet or not. While some alcoholic beverages may be lower in carbs than others, they still contain calories and can have negative health effects if consumed in excess. As always, it’s best to make wise choices and enjoy alcohol in moderation.

Avoiding High-Sugar Mixers And Cocktails

When it comes to mixed drinks, the biggest culprit of added sugar is usually the mixer. Choosing the wrong cocktail mixer can double your intake of calories and sugar, so it’s important to read the labels carefully.

Juices, sour mixes, cranberry cocktails, and pre-made cocktail mixers in general should be avoided if you’re paying attention to your sugar intake. Instead, opt for sugar-free mixers like club soda or diet sodas. Drinking these low-sugar options eliminates some of the higher sweetness levels found in regular soda or juice mixers.

Tonic water contains some sugar but isn’t as bad as traditional, syrupy drinks like ginger ale or cola. If you’re keeping an eye on your carbs, it might be a good idea to skip liqueurs like creme de menthe, amaretto, and sambuca, which typically have more than 15 grams of carbs per shot. Liqueur lovers should choose Irish cream, kirsch, or orange liqueur if looking for a sweeter shot. Although 10 grams of carbs per shot is still a pretty hefty carb load, it’ll eat up less of your daily recommended intake.

Low-calorie cocktails aren’t as hard to come by as you might think; it’s all about knowing which ingredients to avoid. Typically, alcohol contains calories and carbohydrates, which are unavoidable if you intend to drink an alcoholic cocktail. But it’s not altogether impossible if you switch out the alcohol with a non-alcoholic alternative. By doing this, you can significantly reduce the amount of calories and sugar you’ll be drinking.

To further minimize your sugar intake, consider the mixers you need. Juice, simple syrup, and soda are all relatively high in sugar compared to low-sugar mocktails that use sparkling water, tonic water, diet sodas, or sugar-free juices. At Lyres, they use a range of natural sugars to match the sweetness of classic spirit styles while avoiding tons of added calories and hangover-inducing sugar levels. They’ve also carefully curated a range of low-sugar mocktail recipes for you to enjoy guilt-free!

Tips For Staying On Track While Drinking

Staying on track with your low-carb or keto diet while drinking can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. Here are some tips to help you make smart choices and stay on track:

1. Choose pure alcohols: As mentioned above, pure alcohols like rum, vodka, gin, tequila, and whiskey contain no carbs. Stick to these spirits and avoid sugary mixers.

2. Opt for low-calorie mixers: If you do want to mix your drink, choose low-calorie options like diet soda, sugar-free tonic water, or club soda with a squeeze of citrus fruit.

3. Watch your portions: It’s easy to lose track of how much you’re drinking when you’re having a good time. Stick to one or two drinks and avoid binge drinking.

4. Stay hydrated: Alcohol can dehydrate you, so make sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after drinking.

5. Plan ahead: If you know you’ll be drinking later in the day or evening, plan your meals accordingly. Stick to low-carb options throughout the day so that you have some leeway for your drinks.

By following these tips, you can enjoy a night out without sabotaging your low-carb or keto diet. Remember to drink responsibly and always prioritize your health and well-being.

Conclusion: Enjoying Alcohol On A Low-Carb Diet