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Low-Carb Alcohol: The Top 10 Drinks

Overview

Just because you’re dieting, doesn’t mean you can’t live a little! And whether you like a glass of wine with dinner or a cocktail out with friends, watching your carbohydrate intake doesn’t necessarily mean your indulging needs to come to a full stop.

There are many low-carb options out there for dieters who like to drink. As with everything, moderation is key. Heavy drinking isn’t good for anyone, but having a few carb-conscious cocktails here and there won’t hurt. This is especially true when you consider that some of the drinks that made our top 10 list are 100 percent carb-free!

Why so much liquor?

When it comes to low-carb alcohol, distilled spirits are the safest bet. They’re virtually all free of carbohydrates, so you only need to worry about what you’re mixing them with. But not everyone likes drinking hard liquor, so we’ve included some dieter-friendly beers and wines, too.

Diet Jack and Coke

jack and coke

Obviously, a regular cola would shatter your daily carbohydrate allowance. But diet soda lends itself to numerous carb-free cocktails. This spin on the traditional Jack and Coke simply uses Diet Coke instead.

Make! Mix one jigger (1.5 ounces) of whiskey with Diet Coke, and pour over ice.

  • estimated calories (per serving): 100
  • estimated carbohydrates (per serving): 0 grams

Cuba Libre

cuba libre

When you’re using diet cola, you can make any simple favorite low-carb. Despite its sweet flavor, rum doesn’t contain any carbs either.

Make! Mix your favorite unflavored rum with diet cola and serve over ice. For an added twist, throw in a piece of lime.

  • estimated calories: 100
  • estimated carbohydrates (with a twist of lime): <1 gram

Carb-free gin and tonic

gin and tonic

Gin and tonics are great summertime drinks. They’re crisp and cool, but tonic water is loaded with carbs. It contains 32 grams per 12-ounce can! Swap out soda water for your tonic, and you’ll get the flavor without hurting your diet efforts.

Make! Mix one jigger of gin with soda water, add a squeeze of lemon or lime, and serve over ice.

  • estimated calories: 150
  • estimated carbohydrates: <1 gram

Low-carb mojito

mojito

The traditional mojito uses syrup for sweetening, but if you use a diet lemon-lime soda like Diet Sierra Mist or Diet Sprite, you can get the sweetness without the carbs.

Make! Mix one jigger of rum with fresh lime juice and diet lemon-lime soda, and pour onto muddled mint leaves. Then pour over ice.

  • estimated calories: 110
  • estimated carbohydrates: 1.5 grams

Michelob ULTRA

beer
Beer
  • More flavorful beers contain more sugar.
  • Beer contains protein, fiber, and B vitamins.

Beer doesn’t typically make it onto low-carb lists because most kinds are loaded with carbohydrates. Some light beers, however, won’t hurt your efforts too much, including Michelob ULTRA.

  • estimated calories: 95
  • estimated carbohydrates: 2.6 grams

Wine

wine

Remember, a single glass of wine is about 5 ounces.

Pinot grigio

If you like your wine cold and refreshing, pinot grigio is a good option without too many carbohydrates.

  • estimated calories: 123
  • estimated carbohydrates: 3 grams

Sauvignon blanc

Sauvignon blanc also earns a place on your low-carb wine rack.

  • estimated calories: 120
  • estimated carbohydrates: 3 grams

Red wine

If red wine is more your style, pinot noir is another excellent low-carb option.

  • estimated calories: 122
  • estimated carbohydrates: 3.4 grams

Beck’s Premier Light

beer

If you need a little more flavor with your bubbles, Beck’s light beer might do the trick! It’s another one of the beer hall’s lower-carb options.

  • estimated calories: 63
  • estimated carbohydrates: 3.8 grams

Low-carb sea breeze

sea breeze

A sea breeze is a fruity, summertime drink, but it doesn’t have to be filled with sugar. Traditionally, it’s made with grapefruit juice, but using Diet Squirt instead eliminates the extra carbs.

Make! Mix 1 jigger of vodka with 2 ounces of unsweetened cranberry juice and 4 ounces of Diet Squirt. Pour over ice.

  • estimated calories: 110
  • estimated carbohydrates: 6 grams

Read more: Low-calorie cocktails »

Enjoy!

Artificial sweeteners do negatively impact gut bacteria and can indirectly cause blood sugar levels to rise, so they are no magic bullet. Moderation is still essential. Knowing what’s in your alcoholic drinks can help you make intentional choices about your beverages and keep you on track with your health goals.

From our nutrition expert
If you are watching your carb intake, beware of typical bar snacks like pretzels, chips, or bread that are not only high in carbs, but also low in fiber. Opt for higher fiber, more nutritious options like nuts, protein-rich tapas, fiber-rich popcorn, or fruit and cheese plates.
– Natalie Butler, RD, LD

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