Surely you can’t drink any alcohol when you quit sugar? It’s chockers full of the white stuff, right?!
We have some good news for you – you absolutely can still enjoy a glass of wine at dinner. Or even a beer on the weekend. Because quitting sugar doesn’t mean quitting the things you enjoy! The trick is to drink in moderation, and pick the right ones. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Can I drink alcohol when I quit sugar?
- ✔️ Beer: While this beverage does contain a lot of sugar, it’s in the form of maltose (not fructose) which our bodies can metabolise just fine. Read more about our stance on fructose.
- ✔️ Spirits: Dry spirits like gin, vodka and whiskey are very low in fructose.
- ✔️ Wine: Believe it or not but wine contains very minimal amounts of fructose. See question two below.
- ❌ Champagne or “sparkling”: Though similar in the fermentation process of red and white wine (as mentioned above), Champagne does tend to retain quite a lot of the fructose from the grapes. Which is why we don’t think this is the best option.
- ❌ Dessert wine: A stack of sugar remains unfermented in these wines. Avoid!
2. What about the fructose in wine?
- Believe it or not, but wine actually contains minimal fructose. How?
- The fructose in the grapes is what ferments to become alcohol, leaving the finished product low in sugar.
- If the wine has been fermented to “dry” (red or white) it contains very low levels of residual sugar (less than 1g per litre).
- Red wine is lower in fructose than white wine and is definitely the better option in our opinion.
- Read our interview with Rosemount Estate to find out even more.
3. Can you drink alcohol on the I Quit Sugar: 8-Week Program?
- During our Program, we allow one glass of wine (preferably red) with dinner a few nights a week. Why? Because quitting sugar doesn’t have to mean quitting the things you enjoy.
- While quitting sugar, your liver is under a little strain as you detox all the toxins (and addiction) out. Drinking any more than one glass of alcohol with a meal per day will only tax your liver more.
- You may also find once you cut out sugar, that your tolerance for alcohol is much lower and wish to avoid it while going through the 8-Week Program.
- Check out all the other things you are still allowed to do while on our Program.
4. Tips for sugar-free boozing.
- Alcohol-free is always going to be your safest bet.
- Soda or plain mineral water with a squeeze of lemon or lime is surprisingly satisfying. We love asking the bartender to jazz it up with a slice of cucumber or some fresh mint.
- Clear spirits like vodka and gin mixed with soda water and fresh lemon and lime are probably the lowest sugar alcoholic drinks you’re going to be able to get.
- Gin, soda water and fresh cucumber is one of our favourites. So refreshing.
- STAY AWAY FROM SOFT DRINKS AND TONIC WATER… they are loaded with sugar!
5. A FEW WORDS OF CAUTION…
A few more words of caution before you take a tipple.
- Alcohol still has a multitude of metabolism and health issues that come with excessive consumption, not to mention it’s an addictive substance.
- Although most alcohol is low in fructose, it’s still very high in empty calories.
- Only ever drink spirits with soda water. Mixers, including tonic water, are full of sugar – about 8–10 teaspoons in one tall glass. Ditto fruit juices.
- Remember, when it comes to alcoholic drinks, once you have too many it’s very hard to make sensible food choices. You’re far more likely to reach for that slice of cake after a few drinks than you would be sober. Just something to keep in mind.
We originally published this post in February 2014. We updated it in July 2016.