The subject of alcohol and carbs is usually presented by the media in a misleading or incorrect way. That is the message of The Low Carb Bartender: Carb Counts of Beer, Wine, Mixed Drinks and More.
Author Bob Skilnik says that descriptions of alcohol and its effects on blood sugar is usually wrong. The same is true of the metabolization of carbs. Especially in the case of low-carb diet books.
Moreover, to correct this misinformation he has corrected the top five myths about alcohol and carbs.
- The liver doesn’t break down alcohol into sugar. In fact, most people have a dip in their blood sugar (glucose) levels when drinking alcohol. Alcohol is eventually broken down by the liver breaks down alcohol into carbon dioxide and water. It simply doesn’t create any sugar.
- Non-alcohol beers don’t contain lower carbs than regular beers. To the contrary, they’re all higher in carbs than an alcoholic beer. In fact, some almost double in carbs. Yet many websites falsely claim that non-alcohol beers are both alcohol-free and low in carbohydrates. They’re neither.
- The glycemic index (GI) of beer, wine, and spirits is zero. The false belief that alcoholic beverages have high GIs has existed for decades. It simply isn’t true.
- There are carbs in all wines. Even the driest ones. Fermentation always leaves some residual sugar in the form of carbs. The only alcoholic beverages that can possibly have no carbs are distilled spirits.
- There is no sugar or carbs in distilled spirits. They include rum. whiskey, gin, tequila, vodka, etc. Although they begin as fermented products, the distillation removes all carbs. 1
A standard drink is a
- 12 ounce can or bottle of beer.
- Five ounce glass of dinner wine.
- Shot (One and one-half ounces) of spirits. (Either as a shot or in a mixed drink.)
Important to know is that standard drinks of beer, wine, and spirits have the same amount of pure alcohol. Specifically, each has 0.6 ounce of pure alcohol. That is, six-tenths of an ounce. So they’re all the same alcohol-wise. Thus, they’re all the same to a breathalyzer.
Resources: Alcohol and Carbs
- Calories, Carbs, and Fats in Beverages.
- Alcohol, Calories and Weight: Surprising Facts Unknown to Most M.D.s
- Drinking Alcohol Reduces Weight Gain.
- Drinking Alcohol and Weight, Obesity and BMI.
- Liquor vs Non-Alcoholic Beverages for Health.
- Am Diab Ass’n. Complete Guide to Carb Counting. Arlington: The Ass’n, 2019.
- Bodzak, C. Eat with Intention. NY: Race Point, 2016.
- Borushek, A. The CalorieKing Calorie, Fat, & Carbohydrate Counter. Huntington Beach: Family Health, 2021.
- Holley, K. Keto Happy Hour. Las Vegas: Victory, 2018.
- Markham, D. Low-Carb Cocktails. NY: Pocket, 2014.
- Skilnik, Bob. The Low Carb Bartender: Carb Counts of Beer, Wine, Mixed Drinks and More. Adams, 2005.
This web site does not benefit from the sale of any of these books. Nor is listing an endorsement.