What Are The Benefits And Risks Of Sugar Alcohols
Ever wondered what is the controversy regarding the use of sugar alcohols? When considering table sugar versus sugar alcohols for your keto or health goals, it makes sense to weigh up the benefits as well as the risks associated with them.
Do sugar alcohols count on keto and what are the top benefits and risks of sugar alcohols? These give you a good idea of why they are so popular with keto dieters.
Skinny Raspberry Lime Rickey
A Lime Rickey is a refreshing cocktail with gin or bourbon and has very little sugar. This recipe uses lime which gives you that hint of low-carb sweetness, making it perfect for those watching their keto diet!
A medium lime has about 5 grams of carbohydrates, but if we just use its juice, there are only 4 grams left!
Be Prepared For Worse Hangovers If You Drink While Following A Keto Diet
Eating a carb-heavy meal before drinking can keep you from getting drunk too quickly. By the same token, following a strict keto diet can lead to becoming intoxicated more quickly and suffering a worse hangover.
“When you’ve eaten a lot of carbs and your glycogen stores are filled, the rate at which you get drunk usually slows down,” Dr. Josh Axe, D.N.M., C.N.S., D.C. tells Men’s Health.
However, skipping the carbs can have an adverse effect on your alcohol tolerance and ability to stave off a killer hangover.
“When you’re in ketosis, alcohol hits your system faster and stronger than it did when your body was housing more carbohydrates. Your alcohol tolerance plummets to near zero when you’re in ketosis,” Dr. Anthony Gustin, D.C., M.S. wrote on Perfect Keto.
If you’re thinking of throwing back a few shots while on a ketogenic diet, you should be prepared for a stronger hangover.
Also Check: How To Treat High Sugar Level
How To Protect Against Over
One way to protect against over-intoxication is to eat a typically satiating high-fat moderate protein keto meal before going out. And if low-carb veggies are part of your keto regimen, dont skimp on the asparagus.
One animal study looking at the protective effects of asparagus against liver damage found that asparagus extract improved antioxidants and several markers of liver function and increased in mice with liver damage.
Two other test-tube studies found that asparagus is a robust source of antioxidants that prevent cell damage caused by excess alcohol consumption.
Is Peanut Butter Keto
Peanut butter can definitely be part of a keto diet, but its best to stick to plain options that are free of extra flavors and sweeteners. Almond butter is a good choice, too, and its slightly lower in carbs. Additionally, you should be mindful of your portion size if youre trying to lose weight.
You May Like: Is 54 Low Blood Sugar
I Just Had A Drink: Whats Going To Happen
The effects of alcohol on blood sugar depend on several factors, such as whether youve eaten recently, are fasting, or are in a ketogenic state. These effects are also influenced by whether you mix the alcohol with other carbohydrate-containing liquids like juice or soda.
Under normal conditions, the liver makes glucose from chemical building blocks like lactate, alanine, and glycerol in a process called gluconeogenesis. The liver also breaks down stored chains of glucose in the liver through glycogenolysis. Both of these processes are intended to release glucose into the blood to provide energy to our brain and muscles and prevent hypoglycemia, a sometimes-dangerous state when glucose levels are too low. The body tends to do a good job at regulating these processes and keeps glucose levels in a fairly narrow range under normal, healthy conditions.
Its thought that drinking alcohol the livers ability to make new glucose via gluconeogenesis, which can lead to lower circulating glucose levels. To counter this decrease, alcohol stimulates the breakdown and release of stored glucose. This balance between impaired gluconeogenesis and increased glycogenolysis means that alcohol shouldnt significantly affect glucose levels for normal, healthy individuals eating a standard diet.
How Does My Liver Process The Alcohol
There are 2 ways that alcohol can be processed by your liver. Most alcohol is broken down, or metabolised, by an enzyme in your liver cells known as alcohol dehydrogenase . ADH breaks down alcohol into acetaldehyde, and then another enzyme, aldehyde dehydrogenase , rapidly breaks down acetaldehyde into acetate. The acetate is further metabolised, and eventually leaves your body as carbon dioxide and water.
A small amount of alcohol may be processed using a different set of enzymes in your liver. This alternative pathway, known as the microsomal ethanol-oxidising system is mainly used when the level of alcohol in your blood is very high. Regular drinking can increase the activity of this second pathway.
Also Check: What Foods To Eat If You Have High Blood Sugar
Risks Of Using Sugar Alcohols
- Sugar alcohols are not well absorbed. If they are consumed in excess by those with digestive sensitivity. They may cause digestive issues such as bloating, diarrhoea, flatulence, and stomach ache. These symptoms are similar to those who experience irritable bowel syndrome.
- Sugar alcohols may inhibit gut bacteria and so the health benefits of a wide range of healthy gut flora are reduced.
- There is a risk of overconsumption of sweet treats using sugar alcohols due to their lower calories and lower carbs. This is known as the “Snack Well effect”. This is when a dieter consumes more than they should because they think the snack is good for them. Dieters also may think sugar-free food is a “free food”.
- Its worth mentioning that some types of sugar alcohols are dangerous for animals. In particular, xylitol is lethal to dogs. Extra caution needs to be taken when using this ingredient in recipes or packaged foods containing it. ALWAYS keep it out of reach from your beloved pets. Make sure it’s not dropped on the ground for pets to lick up either!
Is Sugar Alcohol Keto
Keeping blood sugar stable is paramount for a keto diet, but you shouldnt ignore food quality and the long-term potential effects of things like sugar alcohols.
Although some sugar alcohols wont necessarily affect your blood sugar, there are still too many unknowns to determine whether or not they are part of a healthy keto diet.
They dont contain important nutrients and may trigger unwanted digestive issues. More research is needed when it comes to the long-term effects of consistently high doses.
But this doesnt mean you cant enjoy some sugar substitutes now and then. In fact, keeping your keto diet exciting is vital to sustaining keto in the long term.
Also Check: What To Do When You Have High Sugar Levels
Should You Eat Before Drinking
And speaking of calories, its definitely a good idea to eat some before drinking. Unlike other nutrients, alcohol can be absorbed directly from your stomach into your bloodstream, where it travels to your brain. This effect is accelerated when you drink on an empty stomach. Having food in your stomach slows the speed at which alcohol enters your blood stream. A meal that includes some fat will work the bestbut, despite popular lore, you dont have to eat greasy fried foods. Healthier sources of fat, such as some guacamole, vegetables sautéed in olive oil, or a nice piece of salmon will work just as well.
Carbohydrates Contained In Alcoholic Beverages
Many alcoholic beverages like beer, certain wines, and cocktails with mixers are loaded with carbohydrates. Consuming carbohydrates will cause the body to leave the state of ketosis since carbohydrates are present to metabolize.
However, some types of alcohol are low in carbohydrates. These include:
- Clear liquors like vodka, gin or tequila
- Some dark liquors like rum, cognac or scotch
While these drinks may not provide carbohydrates for the body to burn, your body can still turn alcohol into usable energy.
Alcohol is unique in that it cannot be stored like carbohydrates, protein or fat. Because alcohol cant be stored, it essentially halts the metabolism of other types of calories until it is broken down. When in ketosis, alcohol halts the metabolism of fat to metabolize alcohol.
Alcohol is broken down by several enzymes into acetate, which your body uses for energy. When alcohol is consumed during ketosis, your body will convert to using acetate as an energy source rather than fat.
Overall, even if the alcohol consumed is not high in carbs, it does provide energy for the body to burn rather than fat, essentially slowing the ketosis process.
Read Also: Is Sugar Alcohol Bad For Cancer Patients
Fatty Liver Lay Off The Booze Until It Heals
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a huge health epidemic, impacting increasing numbers worldwide including 25% of the US population.16 Research suggests that one of the major contributors is the overconsumption of fructose and sugar sweetened beverages.17 Dr. Evelyne Bourdua-Roy wrote about how common NAFLD is among the patients in her GP practice but also how reversible it is on a low-carb, low-fructose, high-fat, no-alcohol diet in her article How fat is your liver?
The takeaway: Anyone with any fatty or fibrotic liver issues should avoid fructose and alcohol until the liver has healed. If you have liver problems you should avoid alcohol under all circumstances, says Lustig.
Which Whiskey Is Keto
Is Scotch OK to drink Drink Scotch on Keto? The keto diet does not affect your ability to drink scotch, just as it does not affect low sugar wines. Yeast, water, and malted barley are used to produce single malt whisky, which does not contain any sugar. In other words, it contains no carbohydrates and is concentrated.
You May Like: What Can You Mix With Titos Vodka
Alcohol Can Increase Hunger Or Cravings
Urban dictionary defines this as drunchies aka drunk munchies, but there is actually some science behind it. Essentially, your brain goes into starvation mode because certain neurons that deal with hunger are activated when you are intoxicated. In addition to alcohol reducing self-control, alcohol make it difficult to stick on your diet.
How Many Carbs Are In Liquors And Spirits
Pure spirits such as vodka, gin, whiskey etc. are essentially zero carb, meaning theyre unlikely to kick you out of ketosis. Just remember these are neat spirits were talking about so moderation is extra important!
The problem with these comes when you want to mix them with something to make them a little more drinkable
The mixers are where you need to be careful as we usually like to mix these with sweet juices, sodas and fruits to balance out the alcohol, all of which come with a bunch of carbs. So when picking your mixer, opt for seltzer water, sugar free tonic water or a diet soda drink if necessary.
Liquor may be low carb, but it isnt low calorie and you do need to be aware that while it may not push you out of ketosis like glucose, it is going to impede your weight loss goals. The main liquors are as follows:
You want to avoid liquers on the other hand, as these often do contain a lot of carbs. Not to be confused with liquors these are flavored spirits often sweetened to make them more drinkable. Examples are Ameretto, Baileys, Kahlua etc.
Read Also: What Juice Has The Least Amount Of Sugar
Can You Drink Alcohol On Keto The Whole Truth
Can you drink alcohol on keto?
The honest answer is, it depends. And in large part on how honest you can be with yourself.
If youre in shape, have a healthy liver, a healthy relationship to alcohol, and youre just wondering about the carbs in 1-2 drinks, the answer is, more of a yes than a no.
But alcohol is a toxic chemical/drug. So, while alcohol is often viewed as a necessary vice even by those with strict diet and health practices, those who aim to achieve the pinnacles of human health should likely avoid it in all but rare occasions.
In this article, well explore how the body processes alcohol while on keto, highlight some side effects and pitfalls to watch out for, and offer a guide to choosing keto-friendlier alcohol options.
Get Results In 30 Days
Join 90k+ people who are losing weight with Keto Kickstart, our doctor-developed program designed to give you real weight loss results.
Youre in! Check your email to get started with the program.
Sugar alcohol is a sugar alternative that contains fewer calories and wont spike your blood sugar levels.
You may see sugar substitutes like erythritol, xylitol, mannitol, and others on everything from low-carb snacks to protein powders. And most keto experts say that sugar alcohols dont count toward your total carb count.
When it comes to living a ketogenic lifestyle, the quality of your food is just as important as your macronutrient ratios, especially if fat burning is your goal.
In this guide, youll learn about sugar alcohols and how your body process these sugar substitutes. Youll also discover what they do to your blood sugar and if there are any side effects to consuming them.
Also Check: How To Bring Sugar Level Down Fast
Check Your Blood Sugar Before During And After Drinking
The more alcohol you drink, the more you should check your blood sugar during the 10 to 12 hours after drinking. If you drink one alcoholic beverage, explains Harris, itll take your liver about 1.5 hours to process it. But if you drink two alcoholic beverages, the time it takes to process doubles to 3 hours.
The more you drink, the more hours it takes for your body to deal with all of that alcohol.
What Alcohol To Avoid On Keto
Keto alcohol to avoid includes mixed drinks, anything with soda, tonic water, or juice, sweet wines, liqueurs, hard ciders, wine coolers, and sangrias. Basically, the goal is to avoid sugar. Below youll find more details on each of these NOT keto friendly alcohol drinks.
- Most mixed drinks Anything with simple syrup, agave, margarita mix, sweet & sour mix, vermouth, bitters, ginger beer, etc. Most mixed drinks will fall into this category.
- Drinks with soda, tonic water, or juice Including regular cola or lemon-lime soda, tonic water, ginger ale, orange juice, cranberry juice, etc.
- Sweet wines Such as riesling, moscato, port, sherry, dessert wines, etc.
- Liqueurs Including triple sec, amaretto, cointreau, kahlua, and others. These are loaded with sugar and typically made with some kind of syrup.
- Hard ciders or wine coolers These are essentially spiked fruit juice.
- Sangrias The wine in them is usually fine, but the added fruit, sugar, and/or juice is not.
TIP: If you want to make a keto drink with simple syrup, you need a sugar-free version!
Instead of regular syrup with sugar, use this keto simple syrup recipe, OR get my premade Wholesome Yum Keto Simple Syrup here. The premade version is thicker like real simple syrup and works the same way in any drink!
Don’t Miss: Does Drinking Water Lower Your Blood Sugar
Is Beer High In Carbs
Beer is typically higher in carbs than other alcoholic drinks like wine or liquor. But the carb content of beers can vary widely depending on the type of beer. Light beers have the least carbs, usually 5 or less grams per serving. They are also lower in alcohol content. So if you know youre going to have more than one beer while youre watching a game, stick with light beers.Hoppy craft beers like IPAs and stouts tend to be much higher in carbs, usually 15 grams or more per serving. They also tend to be higher in calories and alcohol, so its best to stick with just one serving. Beer cans and bottles do not typically come with a nutrition facts label, so it can be hard to know how many calories and carbs are in a serving. You can find nutrition information for some of the major beer brands on websites like www.calorieking.com.
Alcohol Itself Is Very Calorie Dense
For every gram of alcohol you consume, youre taking in almost double the amount of calories than if you were to consume the same quantity of protein or carbohydrates.
With seven calories per gram, alcohol is an extremely concentrated source of calories. In fact, its second only to pure fat, which has nine calories per gram. Protein and carbs, meanwhile, come in at four calories per gram.
Seven calories per gram may sound low in its own right, but when you consider that a standard pint of beer contains around 20g of alcohol, those numbers soon add up.
You May Like: Sugar Tablet Before Or After Food
Recommended Reading: How Many Grams Of Sugar On Keto Per Day
Bottom Line: Great In Moderation
As you can see whiskey is one of the best types of alcohol to consume on a keto diet. Not only is it very keto friendly but it also has tons of surprising health benefits.
Have you ever thought that whiskey can help you prevent heart disease, improve brain function or help fight diabetes? These are the properties of a keto diet as well.
Even though it scores high both in its keto compatibility and health impact, it is alcohol and everyone knows that it is good only in moderation.
The bottom line here is that you can use whiskey to help you on your keto diet but you must not forget that there is a thin line between whiskey being your friend and your foe.
If you find this mini guide helpful and useful, please share it with your friends on social media. My goal is to reach as many people as possible to help them make wise dietary choices and transform their lives. Thanks!
Recommended Reading: How Many Bottles Of Patron Guillermo Del Toro Were Made