The carnivore diet has a very simple meal plan to follow which is meat, a little salt, and good old fashioned water. Pretty easy right? But what if you want to add a little alcohol to the equation. Is that okay? The quick answer is no.
Alcohol is a nasty substance with very little nutritional value where the negatives seem to outweigh the positives, even though it can be classified as a micronutrient.
Hopefully after reading this you will bypass the margaritas and stick to the H2O but if you do decide to have a drink every once in a while there are a few suggestions on how to do it with hopefully the least amount of consequence to your health.
This article probably spurs the question if cannabis, aka marijuana, is “ok” on a carnivore diet, but that’s a whole other topic which we discuss in detail here:
Why Alcohol is Bad
For starters it’s an addictive substance (drug) which can ruin your life. If you’re not careful you could end up like Nicolas Cage in “Leaving Las Vegas”, not a pretty sight or happy ending.
It’s so nasty that if you begin to drink daily that over time your body will become dependent and quitting will entail horrible withdrawals.
Heavy drinking does damage to your liver as well, as you force it to work extra hard by neutralizing all the consumed alcohol. First, you get a fatty liver where your liver accumulates extra fat cells. This will then progress to cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is very bad and not reversible. Sometimes the only option is a liver transplant…probably not fun.
Furthermore, alcohol can do damage to your brain cells, both short term and long term, as drinkers have developed dementia and brain shrinkage.
People with small brains do stupid things.
As you can see alcohol is a big mistake and with regards to the carnivore diet I found 11 other surprising and less obvious mistakes which I go over in “Top 11 Carnivore Diet Mistakes.”
Metabolic Issues-Slowing Down Weight Loss
Here’s the deal. Most doctors and health experts say that alcohol is a “no-no” if you want to lose weight.
When you are on a carnivore diet chances are you are eating large amounts of fat and hardly any carbs. This will force your body to convert fat into energy instead of carbs. If you are drinking alcohol your liver will use that for energy and the fat gets stored for later use hence the beer belly.
A lot of people experience weight loss on the carnivore diet and sometimes that’s the main motivator. It would be wise to fully eliminate alcohol if that’s your intention.
Alcohol’s Extra Baggage
Sometimes it’s not just the alcohol that’s the problem, it’s the extra ingredients which can amplify the negatives. Beer for instance is loaded with carbs and sugar. Mixed drinks too.
Think about the juices, the margarita mix, the simple syrup, and even the tonic. Tonic is is loaded with sugar.
Now we have the sugars and carbs taking priority within the liver. They also skip ahead of fat and are converted to energy prior. In fact if your body is in ketosis, which can happen on the carnivore diet, drinking alcoholic beverages will surely take you right out. The process of ketosis is shut down until all of the alcohol, sugars, and carbs are fully processed.
If you are a daily drinker chances are you will not experience the many benefits of the carnivore diet.
Cheap Date-Get Drunk Fast
Another reason to stay clear of alcohol while on the carnivore diet is because chances are you will get drunk quicker on less alcohol. You essentially turn into a cheap date.
If you have eliminated carbs from your diet over some time and then decide to have a few drinks you will probably feel tipsy a lot quicker.
When you eat things like breads and pastas (carbs) you’re also eating glucose. Glucose slows down your body’s ability to metabolize alcohol quickly.
If you are carnivore you essentially have no glucose in your body from carbs and your metabolism is going full blast. As soon as alcohol comes in it is metabolized quicker hence getting drunk fast and on less alcohol.
If you have been on a carnivore diet for a few weeks or longer and decide to have a drink or two, maybe go slowly.
Curious about your state of drunkenness while on carnivore? Then pick up one of these portable alcohol FDA approved alcohol breathalyzers.
Willpower Out the Door
Every new habit, behavior or diet takes discipline and going carnivore is no different. The first weeks can be challenging. If this way of eating has piqued your interest and you really want to see changes and feel better then it’s time to remove alcohol.
Humans do stupid things when drunk and one of them is eating the wrong foods at the wrong time. Beer munchies are no joke. After a night of drinking it is nearly impossible to resists some high carb fast food. Your inhibitions are out the door.
Why would you want to put yourself through such a challenge? Chances are the alcohol has already done enough damage why do more by eating Taco Bell at 3 am?
Here’s a little trick I do when it comes to munchies. I carry around this sugar-free Biltong, it’s just like beef jerky but no additives which makes it carnivore compliant!
If You Do Drink, Some Suggestions
So you wanna have a little fun and include a drink or two the next time you are out with friends. Maybe you’ve decided to reward yourself for doing so well with your new carnivore diet discipline.
If that’s the case there are ways to drink alcohol while doing minimal damage. A lot of these suggestions were made when I was on a keto diet and keto mimics carnivore in many ways.
Stick To The Hard Liquor
Not what you expected to hear? Here’s the thing, hard liquor has less carbs and less additives like sugar. If you have any alcohol that is at least 80 proof you should be good. Some of the alcohols that are in this group are Vodka, Whiskey, Gin, Scotch, and Tequila.
Gluten warning: Just because it’s hard liquor doesn’t mean it’s gluten-free. For those of you with gluten allergies/sensitivities/celiac’s be careful.
Here is a small list of Gluten-Free liquors but take warning as these may still have trace amounts of gluten and I’m getting this list from other sources so these may not be 100% legit. Do your own due diligence and read the labels.
- Blue Ice Vodka
- Ocean Vodka
- Teton Glacier Vodka
- Three Olives
- Jose Cuervo
- Don Julio
- Hornitos Reposado and Plata
- Bombay Sapphire
- Seagram’s Extra Dry Gin
- Cold River Gin
- Jack Daniels
- Queen Jennie Sorghum
- Captain Morgan (Original Spiced)
- Bacardi (Superior, Gold, Select, 8, 151)
- Admiral Nelson’s Spiced Rum
What To Mix With?
Stay away from mixers! The mixers have carbs, sugar, and possibly synthetic sweeteners, (thinking of that mass-produced margarita mix). If you are gonna drink, at least stay disciplined by only adding either water or seltzer…and remember tonic is just as bad as it’s loaded with sugar as well.
What About Wine?
Wine is just below hard liquor in terms of so-called healthiness. When compared to hard liquor, wine has more sugar and additives.
Also, it has been reported that wine has a chance of being contaminated with mold which in turn can have an unhealthy amount of mycotoxins. Sometimes mold can get in the wine through fermentation or if the producers have used moldy barrels.
If you do decide to have a glass of wine it’s been suggested that a dry wine is the way to go. Also, try to go with a higher-priced organic option to lessen your chances of unwanted additives or mycotoxins.
What About Beers?
Beer is sugar, gluten, and carb heaven. It’s the reason the term beer belly was invented. It’s by far the least compatible alcoholic option.
Perhaps the reason you are on the carnivore diet is to find relief from grains. Unfortunately, beer is loaded with ingredients from the grain family like barley, hops, and rye.
Also there is a tremendous amount of yeast which feasts on the barley and in turn increases the carb count.
I know there are plenty of gluten-free beers and ciders but they are not sugar and carb-free. My suggestion is to just stay away from the beer and stick to a watered-down gluten-free vodka and water or a super dry organic red wine.
Limit your consumption to one drink. Chances are that if you have been practicing a carnivore diet for a few weeks or more you will get a little tipsier off less alcohol.
Remember your body has been running off of fat and as soon as you introduce alcohol it goes straight to the front of the line.
During my experience with carnivore, I have found that the desire to drink has decreased over time, even when I go out with friends. This diet does something both internally and mentally which takes away cravings of bad substances like snacks, fruit, and even alcohol.
Looking to stay motivated while on the carnivore diet? Book me as your coach at MeatRX, Dr. Shawn Baker’s group of amazing carnivore folks.
Also, subscribe to our Wild Lumens YouTube Channel for carnivore recipes and adventures!
Good luck and stay strong!
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or dietician or nutritionist. Consult with and ask your doctor about any diet or medical-related questions. No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or condition.