Atkins and Alcohol

Whenever alcohol is mentioned a certain moralistic mindset kicks in . I’d like to avoid that debate because I’m not your parent, spouse, priest, or confessor. If you drink alcohol and would like to lose weight, you don’t need moralizers telling you that you have to stop eating and drinking at the same time. What you drink might need to change, and moderation is required, but if you feel trapped because giving up the things that make you fat – and giving up alcohol at the same time seems too high a mountain to climb – there might be a way.

Moderation IS Required

There is no way that you can lose weight and drink to excess, but it is possible to have alcohol and lose weight if you moderate your intake. You are going to have to try and drink as little as possible with the understanding that the more you drink on Atkins, the slower the weight loss – it might stall you completely. You might want to set goals for yourself by saying that every 5 lbs lost gives you the opportunity to have alcohol. If you drink a lot, you might be able to use the goal of weight loss to reduce your drinking.

Atkins can reduce the craving for alcohol, which again, helps reduce the amount you consume and the number of calories which leads to weight loss – one thing leads to another.

There are physical and psychological reasons for drinking. Atkins – by reducing cravings and helping you to lose weight and feel more in control and better about yourself – can help with both. Losing weight after years of failing gives you a sense of control over your life. This success can cascade through other areas of your life. The triggers that made you drink in the past might lessen and you find you just drink less naturally.

You might have to change what you drink. Before Atkins I drank beer – liquid bread. The stuff is self-perpetuating as the carbs make you hungry and make you want more. Now I have about 1 beer a year. Sweet alcohol drinks are also out. Wine coolers are out (see my recipe for a substitute).

Ideally, if you drink alcohol for the buzz (don’t lie) you want to maximize the alcohol and minimize the carbs. For this, your best bet is vodka. Personally, my drink is now a martini with 3 olives.

There is an important problem to be addressed for beer and wine cooler drinkers changing to spirits. Beer and wine coolers are somewhat self-limiting – the liquid content will slow you down. Spirits, on the other hand make it easy to KILL YOURSELF because they are so concentrated. So – if you are not familiar with spirits remember that a little goes a long, long way.

There’s also the problem of impaired judgment. You have one drink , then have a few more before the first one kicks in, and you are in way over your head. Beer is 4% alcohol and 100 proof vodka is 50% alcohol. Alcohol is the last legal drug, and a rather dangerous one, and it can kill you or lead to a real physical addiction worse than heroin addiction.

Give yourself a cold hard look and ask yourself if you can handle spirits. If not, stick to the fake wine coolers.

If you are fat and drink too much, Atkins might be one of the better diets for drinking less and weighing less. I’m not saying it will be easy – you can’t drink in induction – the first stage of Atkins at all. Maybe a little abstaining from alcohol isn’t a bad idea – go on Atkins for 2 weeks, lay off the booze, take  off maybe 10 lbs and maybe you’ll feel so much better that the desire for a drink (or 4) might lessen?

It’s only 2 weeks – worth a try?

6 thoughts on “Atkins and Alcohol

  1. Love this site. I snagged one of your recipes for my site. But, it’s great to find a low carb site that is full of great stuff. I’ve been posting low carb recipes for diabetics for a bit over a year and I love it!

    Thanks for having a great site

  2. I know I would have lost more already if I hadn’t broke the cardinal rule and had a drink or two. It definitely stalled me, but it was a choice I made. We went with friends we hadn’t seen for years to a well-known colonial-style steakhouse and I had a glass of chardonnay, supposedly one of the lower carb wine choices. I lost another pound a few days later, but I’ve stayed steady since. Time for me to buckle down and skip the alcohol altogether for awhile.

  3. This 4th of July I probably consumed about 30 beers and some Whiskeys/Diet Cokes. On the average week, I probably consume at least 50 drinks. I wouldn’t consider myself an alcoholic, but more of a seasoned veteran. Going on Atkins is tough, but I picked this diet because it would make me stop drinking beer. You are so right that beer and carbs/calories (empty ones) makes you more hungry, thus making you drink more or eat something. Most of the time while drinking one doesn’t care what you eat. Further, after drinking I found myself choosing greasy foods the next day that soak up the booze/hangover. Atkins, because it makes you stop drinking for a bit, is a great move for those who have become fat because of drinking. It makes you slow down for a bit, and really puts things into perspective.

    1. Hi Gordo,

      I was a dedicated beer drinker before I went on Atkins in 2003 – and now I never touch the stuff. I remember years later being at a fancy restaurant and ordering one.

      I didn’t like it.

      That’s not to say I don’t drink anymore – I do during some periods, and don’t at others, but I drink mostly red wine.

      But I don’t drink and ever take off weight – I can only maintain – and temptations are tricky to navigate.

      Good luck.


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