The guide to drinking that won’t ruin your health efforts

gin and soda water for a healthy living diet

For some, alcohol is very easily given up. However, if you like the occasional drink, the following are low-sugar options that are ok and can be a part of a healthy lifestyle (in moderation/ roughly 2x 2 drinks/week, unless a serious health condition is present that may require temporary abstinence).

In a nutshell:

  • Best option: white spirits like vodka, tequila, gin on soda water (avoid mix drinks like tonic, coke, coke zero, etc due to their sugar and/or synthetic sugar replacement content) with lemon/lime (about 75 calories per shot)
  • If you have no histamine and/or candida problems: dry red wine, dry champagne and dry white wine, however they stack in more calories (roughly 125 calories per serving) and sugar than white spirits.
  • Avoid: mix drinks (including tonic), sweet white wines, most rosés, beer (including alcohol free beer)


If you do drink, reduce its side effects by:

  • Staying hydrated. One to two glasses of water with every alcoholic beverage. This also usually slows down the rate and total amount of alchoholic drinks consumed.
  • Eat a meal high in B vitamins and liver supporting foods prior and the next day: leafy greens, beetroot, cruciferous vegetables and organic red meat for B12
  • Supplement with B vitamins, milk thistle and CoQ10 or ubiquinoal the morning after
  • Take a tablet of activated charcoal before starting the drinking, and one when going to bed. This will soak up some of the alcohol and the thereby released toxins.
gin and soda make a refreshing and keto summer drink

how can alcohol fit into a healthy lifestyle?

For some, having the occasional drink with friends can be a joyous activity, that would be hard to be missed. However, unless you have a serious health condition, you should be able to enjoy a drink or two every now and then, without it ruining all your health efforts. There are a few easy tweaks you can do that make a world of difference.

Choose white spirits on the rocks or soda water

Pure white spirits such as gin, vodka and tequila contain basically no sugars, allowing for you to stay in a ketogenic state. However, there are a few things to pay attention to: If fatloss is your goal, you may still want to limit your intake of these, as despite being a low sugar option, the alcohol content will 'occupy' your liver, and pause fat break down while the alcohol is being metabolized. Keep as the occasional treat. 

Also note: Once you pair spirits with mixers like tonic, syrup, coke or juices, the sugar content gets jacked up, and the whole things turns into a sugary bomb that is not part of a healthy lifestyle. Same goes for 'sugar-free' sweetened drinks like coke zero, coke light, which have a form of synthetic sugar replacement that research now links to destroying good gut bacteria, feeding the 'bad guys', creating anxiety, and having a blood sugar and craving triggering response much higher than real sugars inside the body due to its fake sweetness. Ouch! 

what about wine, champagne and beer?

If you have no issues with histamine and candida, dry red wine and champagne can be a great option. Especially dry red wine has some great plant substances that support the reduction of free radical damage in the cardiovascular system. Research further suggests that it may feed the 'good gut bacteria' if consumed in moderation, which is a good thing for overall health! Hence why it was part of the traditional Mediterranean longevity diet! 

However, unfortunately a lot of us nowadays have compromised gut linings and immune system dysregulations due to a stressful life, environmental toxin exposures, too little vitamin D (sunshine!) and many other factors combined. This can lead to a reduced histamine tolerance, especially in those with a defect DAO gene, and resulting difficulties with consuming drinks and foods that are high in histamine (which wines are!). Some of the symptoms of histamine intolerance are a stuffy nose, headaches, itchy skin, excessive sweating after consumption.

Another reason many of us should stay away from even dry red wine and champagne is the threatened candidiasis (systemic yeast overgrowth, which can be damaging to the brain, hormones, gut, sabotage weightloss efforts, and many more symptoms). If you suspect you have this, or (better as more reliable) you have been tested for it, you should avoid anything with yeast for a while, including wines, beer, even kombucha. Make sure to test in the urine such as with a urinary organic acids test, as often, once candida has become more systemic, it cannot be detected in the stool reliably anymore. A urine test will reliably test for its toxic breakdown product (main one being arabinose). 

what about the gluten content of spirits like whisky, and beer? 

Yes, pure, distilled whiskey (or whisky), even if made with wheat, barley, or rye is considered gluten-free. Most whiskeys are safe for people with celiac disease because of the distillation process. However, be on the lookout for hidden gluten in whiskeys that add flavorings or other additives after distillation. Whisky is also fine if you have candida or a yeast sensitivity. However, due to its naturally higher content of congeners (which give it its flavour), they may lead to headaches faster in susceptible individuals. 

Beer is a no-no, not only due to its high yeast content but also its gluten content, high caloric and sugar density. 

Now I would love to hear from you, what are your experiences with alcohol? Can you tolerate them? What are your favourite 'healthy' drinks and recipes? Please comment below, and happy Easter! X

1 Comment

  1. Patrick Ashworth on December 19, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    Nice read… I have been advised to drink Campari & sparkling water.
    Bitters are supposed to be the healthier alcohol option.
    Not worth a mention in the article?

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