Alcohol Similarities & Differences: Low-Calorie Vs. Low-Carb

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Alcohol Similarities & Differences: Low-Calorie Vs. Low-Carb

Are you counting your carbs and calorie intake, but do you want to drink alcohol as well? We can help you with that! Here in this article, we will mention low-calorie and low carb drinks that you can enjoy on your diet!

What Is Alcohol's Effect on Our Bodies?

Alcohol is a non-nutritive energy source that your body consumes before it burns other energy sources, such as body fat.

In a nutshell, alcoholic beverages are "empty calories." Most liquors have at least 100 cal per serving, regardless of their low in carbohydrates; some mixed cocktails have over 500 calories per serving.

Furthermore, alcohol might prevent weight reduction by raising craving and lowering inhibitions, increasing food consumption. However, suppose you can consume alcohol in moderation, and it's low in carbohydrates and calories. In that case, it might not be such a big deal.

Calorie

This measuring unit determines how much energy your body can get from a meal or beverage. Calories can originate from fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. All three are macronutrients, the building blocks of a balanced diet.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), each macronutrient has a certain number of calories, and the daily values for each of these are 65 grams of fat, 50 grams of protein, and 300 grams of carbs.

This equates to 4 calories per gram of carbohydrate for carbs. Protein and fat have 4 and 9 calories per gram, respectively. Ultimately, calories are included in practically every food you consume.

Carbohydrates

Commonly known as carbs, carbohydrates are a macronutrient found in various meals and beverages. Carbohydrates include sugars, starches, and fiber. Your body converts to glucose to provide you with the energy you need to operate.

Simple carbohydrates are less likely to increase blood sugar than complex carbs like those found in fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain products.

Different Liquor’s Carb and Calorie Content

Spirits

Distilled beverages

Vodka, gin, tequila, whiskey, brandy, rum, and cognac are all carb-free spirits. Spirits are also known as hard alcohol, liquor, or distilled beverages. On the other hand, their calorie counts vary depending on the amount of alcohol they contain.

The more alcohol is in the liquor, the more calories it contains. For instance, 1.5 ounces of 40% alcohol by volume (ABV) gin or whiskey contains 97 calories. Still, the same quantity of 50% ABV has 124 calories.

No juice, soft drinks, or other sweets should be added to the distilled beverages. When you add tonic to zero-carb gin, you get 21.5 grams of carbohydrates and 83 calories per serving! Instead, make a no-carb, low-calorie summer cocktail with vodka, soda water, and lime.

Spirits

Amount /

Alcohol Content

Calories

Net Carbs (g)

Tequila

1.5 oz. (40%)

96

0

Gin

1.5 oz. (40% - 47%)

96 - 115

0

Scotch/Whiskey

1.5 oz. (40%)

96

0

Cognac

1.5 oz. (40%)

103

0 - 3

Absinthe

1.5 oz. (45% - 47%)

108 - 180

0

Vodka

1.5 oz. (40%)

96

0

Rum

1.5 oz. (30% - 40%)

72 - 105

0

Brandy

1.5 oz. (40%)

103

0

Beer

Mug of beer

Beer has a greater carbohydrate and calorie content than non-flavored hard alcohol and wine. Light beer has fewer carbohydrates and calories than regular beer, but it has a lower alcohol content.

When you're on a low-carb diet, most beers are not the best choice because it's like drinking liquid bread since it is made from fermented grains. When attempting to reduce weight or improve diabetic management, this kind of alcohol is just not a suitable option. However, depending on the kind of beer, carb and calorie counts may vary. And there are a few reduced carb alternatives.

Ultralight or low-carb beer is the ultimate option in the beer category with fewer than 3 grams of carbs per can or bottle. Read the nutrition labels on light beers because some may have more carbohydrates and calories than others.

Low-carb Beer

Amount /

Alcohol Content

Calories

Net Carbs (g)

Accel

12 oz (4%)

82

2.4

IC Light

12 oz (4.2%)

95

2.8

Honey Almond Light

12 oz (4.2%)

96

2.8

Miller 64

12 oz (2.8%)

64

2.4

Miller Lite

12 oz (4.5%)

96

3.2

Corona Light

12 oz (3.2%)

99

5

Keystone Light

12 oz (4.1%)

104

5

Bitburger Light

12 oz (2.8%)

89

3.5

Bud Select

12 oz (4.3%)

99

3.1

Bud Select 55

12 oz (2.4%)

55

1.9

Martens Low Carb

11.2 oz (5%)

96

2.1

Busch Light

12 oz (4.1%)

95

2.6

Michelob Ultra

12 oz (4.2%)

95

2.6

IC Light

12 oz (4.2%)

95

2.8

Carolina Light

12 oz (3.5%)

85

3

Wine

Red wine and white wine

A 5-ounce serving of dry wine has about 3-6 grams of carbs and 110-130 calories. If your carb tolerance is really low, always check the labels, even if certain "diet" brands may have half the quantity of carbohydrates. Some manufacturers may indicate "1 g sugar" instead of carbohydrates, giving the impression that the product has fewer carbs.

Wine's alcohol level varies from 5.5 to 14.5% and averages 11.6% alcohol by volume. Avoid dessert wines or sweet wines because they are high in carbs and calories. Stick to red or white wines with fewer than 5 grams of net carb per serving if you prefer wine over strong alcohol or spirits.

Wine

Amount /

Alcohol Content

Calories

Net Carbs (g)

Chardonnay

5 oz (12%)

123

3.2

Merlot

5 oz (12%)

125

3.8

Rosé

5 oz (12%)

126

5.8

Dry Vermouth

1.5 oz (15%)

38

0.3

Dry Champagne

5 oz (12%)

113

5

Brut Champagne

5 oz (12%)

110

4

Pinot Blanc

5 oz (12%)

119

2.9

Pinot Grigio

5 oz (12%)

122

3

Red Zinfandel

5 oz (12%)

129

4.2

Claret

5 oz (12%)

122

4.4

Dry Prosecco

5 oz (11%)

108

5

Sauvignon Blanc

5 oz (12%)

119

3

Chenin Blanc

5 oz (12%)

118

4.9

Semillon

5 oz (12%)

121

4.6

Riesling

5 oz (12%)

118

5.6


Mixed Drinks

Raspberry mixed cocktail

Mixed drinks are flavored distilled drinks containing fruit, sugar, spices, or herbs. Their alcohol concentration is frequently lower than that of unflavored liquor. However, their carbohydrate content is much larger.

It's essential to know the calories in mixed cocktails that capture your attention while ordering at a bar or restaurant. Because beverages include a variety of alcohol and mixers, the number of calories in a regular drink may vary significantly — and some may even exceed your daily sugar limit.

Mixed Drinks

Amount

Calories

Net Carbs (g)

Margarita

8 oz.

275

36.1

Jose Cuervo Margarita Mix

4 oz.

110

28

Vodka and Tonic

9½ oz.

180

21.5

Vodka and Sprite

12½ oz.

237

38

Vodka Diet Coke

13½ oz.

97

0

Caesar Cocktail

8 - 12 oz.

125

6

Cosmopolitan

2¼ oz.

129

4.4

Dirty Martini

2¼  oz.

127

0.3

Mojito

6 oz.

205

28.7

Coke and Whiskey

13½ oz. 

237

39

Mixers

Soda Water Cocktail

Choose simple hard liquor combined with club soda and sparkling water with a touch of lemon or lime to limit your carb intake from alcohol to a minimum.

On the other hand, Tonic water is high in carbohydrates and should be avoided. If you like tonic water, look for "light" kinds with approximately 5 grams of carbs per 4-ounce (120 ml) drink.

Sparkling water with flavors like lemon, orange, or cucumber is available from certain companies and is perfect for preparing cocktails.

Using a lemon piece or orange peel, or a splash of bitters is another option to enhance flavor.

Cocktail bitters combine herbs, spices, and botanicals that have been steeped in alcohol to create a concentrated array of tastes. 


Low-carb Mixers

Amount

Calories

Net Carbs (g)

Unsweetened soda

-

0

0

Sparkling water

-

0

0

Lime Juice

1 tbsp.

4

1.2

Lemon Juice

1 tbsp.

3

0.8

Stevia Drops

16.9 oz.

149

2.5

“Light” Tonic Water

4 oz.

18

4.6

Low-Calorie Alcohol vs. Low-Carb Alcohol

Easier to Find - Winner: Low-Carb Alcohol

Drinking can sometimes be hard to avoid, especially if you love going out and relieving stress with friends. It is extra challenging when you are on a diet. But selecting a diet-friendly liquor is not impossible.

Alcoholic drinks that both contain little amounts of calories and carbohydrates exist. However, finding a drink that you like that has both low calorie and low carb may be difficult so settling for either of the two is ideal.

Finding low-carb alcoholic beverages is much easier because there are alcohols that have zero net carbs, like spirits and distilled beverages. But they all still contain calories. Also, alcohol is rich in empty calories and does not supply your body with any nutrition.

Great for Weight Loss - Winner: Low-Carb Alcohol

Most studies show that a low-carb diet has a more significant effect than that of a low-calorie. Multiple research indicates a greater weight loss average in a carb-restricted diet.

One example is the study published in the 20th of February issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, where 600 overweight adults were gathered. The results indicated that the low-carb respondents had lost an average of 13 pounds by the end of the year. In contrast, low-calorie participants lost 12 pounds on average. 

Another study supported this claim as low-carbohydrate dieters lost more than three times as much weight as those who followed a calorie-restricted diet. This study ran for 6 months and 132 obese individuals participated.

Read this article if you want to know more.

Amazing for Fat loss - Winner: Low-Carb Alcohol

Drinking low-carb alcohol is more beneficial than consuming low-calorie drinks when it comes to fat loss. Many studies suggest that low-carb consumption is better for lower fat gain and belly fat reduction.

Better for Medical Conditions - Winner: Low-Calorie Alcohol

A low-calorie diet can help with most obesity-related health problems, such as high blood pressure and heart disease so opting for low-calorie alcohol would be beneficial. If you pick calorie-restricted food and beverages, don't go too low on calories in order to lose weight quickly because you will feel weak.

Ways to Reduce Calorie Consumption in Alcoholic Drinks

There are various simple strategies to reduce the calorie count of your favorite beverages. To begin, create your own cocktails at home rather than prepackaged mixers, often heavy in sugar and calories.

Fresh herbs like rosemary, mint, basil, or lavender may be used to improve the taste of your favorite beverages instead of high-calorie sweets or syrups. You may also choose low-calorie or unsweetened add-ins like soda or tonic water, which are commonly accessible and generally have few or no calories.

Finally, changing the proportions of your components may be advantageous. Make your drink with more ice, sparkling water, or seltzer and less soda or juice.

Conclusion

There are many low-carb and low-calorie alcoholic drinks to pick from, even if you're on a diet. Pure alcohols, wine, and light beer like whiskey, rum, and gin have few or no carbohydrates per serving and match well with low-carb mixers. The best options for mixers are diet soda, seltzer, or sugar-free tonic water.

Bear in mind that, despite their carbohydrate and calorie content, alcoholic beverages can stimulate your hunger and lower your inhibitions, causing you to consume more food or make less nutritious choices. It's essential to limit your alcohol intake to prevent negative health consequences.

Choose Low-Calorie Alcohol if:

  • You do not want to worsen existing medical conditions

Choose Low-Carb Alcohol if:

  • You want to lose weight
  • You want to get rid of belly fat
  • You want a kind of drink that is easier to find

Do you have any questions about this article? Share it with us!


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