One of the most common questions people have when they begin a low-carb lifestyle is if they can have alcohol on low carb diets. Here’s what Dr. Atkins had to say about that —
Once you’re in Phase 2, Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL), of the Atkins Diet, you can have alcohol if you wish—and if experience shows that you can handle it. But don’t pour yourself a glass of wine or a Scotch and water the day you leave Induction. Wait until you’ve settled into OWL before adding alcohol.
The short answer is, “Yes” but it isn’t quite that easy.
Some people will handle alcohol better than others. If you are used to having a glass of wine every night with dinner, a cocktail when you get home from work, or a beer on the weekend then you’d better get out of that habit. You are probably going to stall big time. One serving a day of alcohol will almost always stall you no matter how low the carbs are.
It really stinks too, because I like a glass of wine with dinner. It’s best to keep your booze consumption down to about one or two drinks a week — spaced far apart if possible.
The reason is that your body is going to quit burning fat and begin burning that alcohol. If you don’t have too much in your system you probably won’t notice the brief switch but if you have too much then you are just going to totally stop losing weight.
For me that means I have to go back to square one and start induction all over.
Once you get close to your goal then you can probably begin having a glass of wine every evening or a cocktail a couple of times a week. In the phases before that you’ll want to make it a special occasion only thing. I am in the midst of “special occaison only” every day time in my life and I am going to have to hide the corkscrew and get back on the wagon.
Don’t you hate when you do that?
When you are going to have a cocktail here are a couple of lowcarb drinks to try-
Here’s a breakdown of the carbs in alcohol —
0 Carbs – Less than 1 carb
- Bourbon (0.04)
- Whiskey (0.04)
Less than 5 Carbs
- White Wine
- Red Wine
- Table Wine
More than 5 Carbs
- Light beer 5.81
- Regular Beer 12.64
These figures are based on 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor. Once you make them into cocktails and add other stuff your are on your own. Think about this — a Mai Tai has over 29 grams of carbohydrate!
So yeah, go ahead — you can have alcohol on low carb diets. Just be super careful and watch for signs that you are stalling. Remember that some people will be able to have several glasses of wine a week while others won’t be able to have even one.