If you're paying attention to the carbohydrates and sugar in your diet, there's a good chance you're also looking at the beverages you enjoy.
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Certain mixed drinks can be loaded with calories that can add up. The good news is, there are no carbs in tequila and other types of plain hard alcohol.
Liquor With No Sugar or Carbs
Most hard alcohol contains no carbohydrates or sugar. So, as long as you are cleared by a doctor to drink alcohol in moderation, including sugar-free alcohol in a low-carb diet is doable.
Some of the more common types of hard alcohol with no sugar or carbs include:
Because there are no carbs in tequila, all of the calories come from alcohol. In general, a standard 1.5-ounce shot of tequila has 97 calories, according to the USDA. And like tequila, there are also no carbs in whiskey, so the calories come from alcohol.
That said, staying within the recommended range of moderate drinking is best for overall health. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, moderate drinking for people assigned female at birth of legal drinking age is up to one drink per day, and up to two drinks per day for people assigned male at birth of legal drinking age.
Anything above the recommended guideline of moderate drinking could have negative effects. Drinking too much alcohol can negatively affect your brain, heart, liver, pancreas and immune system, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
The more alcohol you drink regularly over time, the higher your risk of developing alcohol-associated cancer. These cancers include head and neck, esophageal, liver, breast and colorectal cancer, per the NIAAA.
Alcohol on a Low-Carb Diet
Living a low-carb lifestyle is a goal for many people, especially when trying to lose weight. But rather than always being on a diet, it's nice to incorporate small changes that don't require you to feel deprived.
One change for people that drink alcohol and watch carbs is to ditch the sugar mixers. For example, there is no sugar in vodka, so drinking certain types of hard alcohol straight allows you to eliminate the carbs. Yet, that doesn't mean they are free from calories. That's because the liquors with no sugar get all of their calories from alcohol.
In general, most straight hard alcohol contains around 90 to 100 calories for a 1.5-ounce shot. While this may not seem like a lot of calories, the problem arises when you add mixers with carbohydrates to your glass.
Whiskey, for example, goes from 97 calories for a shot to 165 calories when you add 6 ounces of cola to make a whiskey and Coke. Because there are no carbs or sugar in whiskey, the extra calories from the soda all come from sugar.
To keep the calories, carbs and sugar low, you can always swap out sugar and calorie-filled mixers for low-carb options. Some of the more popular sugar-free options include diet cola, sugar-free tonic water, diet seltzer, Crystal Light drink mix, a squeeze of fresh fruit such as lime, diet ginger soda, sparkling no-calorie lemonade or limeade.
- Health.gov: "Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015-2020: Appendix 9. Alcohol"
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: "Soft Drink, Cola, Fruit or Vanilla Flavored"
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: "Whiskey"
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: "Alcohol's Effects on the Body"
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: "Tequila"