The Program: What You Can Eat in this Phase

To Your Health—in Moderation

Once you’re in Phase 2, Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL), of the Atkins Diet, you can have alcohol if you wish—and if experience shows that you can handle it. But don’t pour yourself a glass of wine or a Scotch and water the day you leave Induction. Wait until you’ve settled into OWL before adding alcohol. Consider these additional seven suggestions about drinking alcohol while losing weight and then check out the carb counts of popular beverages.
  • Watch out for sugar. Some forms of alcohol are full of sugar, including flavored brandy and other cordials (although aged brandy and Cognac are low in sugar). And, of course, be sure to count the carbs.
  • Alcohol slows fat-burning. Although most spirits contain no carbs, your body will metabolize alcohol before fat—meaning alcohol serves as fuel before your body reverts to fat. So drinking slows down fat burning and may slow your weight loss.
  • Nix most mixers. Drink spirits neat or on the rocks with a lemon twist. Most mixers, including tonic water, are wildly high in carbs, especially any made with fruit juice. You can, however, drink sugar-free tonic water.
  • Go for light brews. A 12-ounce serving of regular beer contains up to 13 grams of carbs, which is clearly too high for OWL. A single light beer or, better yet, low-carb beer should be your brew of choice in this phase, and keep it to one.
  • Select wine carefully. A glass of wine with dinner can make a basic meal a special occasion, but steer clear of sugary wine coolers and sweet dessert wines.
  • Take it easy. You may find that you’re more susceptible to the effects of alcohol while doing Atkins. And because alcohol can make you drop your inhibitions, you may find it more difficult to stay away from chips and other high-carb snack foods that often accompany alcohol.
  • Or hold off for now. If you have trouble reining yourself in, you might be better off avoiding alcohol until you’re more in control.
Serving size Grams of Net Carbs
Beer, “light” 12 ounces 7.0
Beer, low-carb 12 ounces 3.0
Bourbon 1 ounce 0.0
Champagne 4 ounces 4.0
Gin 1 ounce 0.0
Mixers, sugar free 1 serving 4.0
Rum 1 ounce 0.0
Scotch 1 ounce 0.0
Sherry, dry 2 ounces 2.0
Vodka 1 ounce 0.0
Wine,dry dessert 3.5 ounces 4.0
Wine, red 3.5 ounces 2.0
Wine, white 3.5 ounces 1.0


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Disclaimer: Nothing contained on this Site is intended to provide health care advice. Should you have any health care-related questions, please call or see your physician or other health care provider. Consult your physician or health care provider before beginning the Atkins Diet as you would any other weight loss or weight maintenance program. The weight loss phases of the Atkins Diet should not be used by persons on dialysis or by pregnant or nursing women.