Cutting back on sugar? Then these are your best booze options

When I first started cutting back on sugar, I treated it as an intervention to try out a new way of living. You know, just to see how it went.


However, what started out as an experiment became something more. Now, one of the most common questions my friends ask me when they’re contemplating quitting sugar is this: “What about alcohol? Am I allowed to drink it?”


The assumption, of course, is that booze is loaded with sugar. And that’s correct. Sort of. But there’s good news here for those of who you like the occasional drink…


Here’s the dirt on some of your favourite drinks.



Low-sugar drinks

  • Wine: Wine contains minimal fructose. It’s the fructose in the grapes that ferments to become alcohol, leaving wine low in sugar. Red wine is even lower in fructose than white wine and is therefore your best option.
  • Spirits: Dry spirits like vodka, gin and whisky are very low in fructose, and are therefore generally good options. Just keep in mind that mixers are loaded with sugar, which is why my go-to drink would either be a gin and tonic or a whisky, lime and water.
  • Beer: Beer contains no fructose at all. The sugar in beer and stout is maltose, which your body metabolises well.

High-sugar drinks

  • Sparkling wine and champagne: Sparkling wine and champagne both tend to retain quite a bit of fructose and therefore aren’t great options.
  • Dessert wine: A lot of sugar remains unfermented in dessert wine. Steer clear of this stuff!

Things to keep in mind about drinking alcohol while watching your sugar intake

  • For minimal sugar intake, drink spirits neat or with seltzer only. Mixers like tonic water are full of sugar, with about eight teaspoons in one tall glass.
  • Your liver will take strain as you start eliminating sugar due to the detoxifying your body will be doing. Drinking more than one glass of alcohol with a meal per day will tax your system.
  • You’ll probably find that your alcohol tolerance will lower after you cut out sugar.
  • Although alcohol is low in sugar, it’s still very high in empty calories.
  • A beer is equivalent to a pastry. It might not be loaded with sugar, but it packs a serious calorie punch.

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