The Benefits of Beverages On A Low Carb Diet

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Food goes down with drink, and so we need to know what beverages work well on a low carb diet plan.

 

The typical rule for beverage intake is that you should drink half your body weight in ounces; that is, if you weigh 130 lbs, you should drink 65 ounces, the equivalence of around 2 quarts/liters.  Why do we have to drink that much each day?  (And more, if you are sweating a lot, or suffering from diarrhea or vomiting).

 

Beverages serve many purposes:

 

The main reason to drink regularly is to keep hydrated. Up to 60% of the human body is water, so ensuring you have enough fluid in coursing through your cells is very important. Fluid loss occurs continuously from skin evaporation, breathing, urine, and stool. It is easier to become dehydrated in warmer weather, high altitudes, and in older adults.

 

Dehydration harms your body in many ways:

  1. You may become constipated.
  2. You may excrete less toxins through your kidneys, have less or darker urine, and have more frequent bladder infections.
  3. You may have less healthy looking skin, and it may be much drier and age quicker.
  4. You may suffer from headaches.
  5. You may have less well functioning muscles. Muscle cells need fluid and electrolytes to perform well. Muscle fatigue, weakness, or, more commonly, cramping, can happen without enough fluids. It’s important to drink when exercising.
  6. You may lose weight—drinking water or non-calorie beverages instead of higher calorie beverages may help you lose weight.
  7. Being hydrated also helps maintain normal body temperature.
  8. A good level of fluid in your body is needed to help make saliva, absorb your food, and transport nutrients to all your body cells.
  9. Dehydration may also reduce chemical reactions in your body, and your circulation, setting you up for blood clots or other circulatory problems.

Another benefit to beverages is taste. Although pure water is the best fluid for your body, likely you more enjoy having some sort of taste in the water.  Enjoying your drink can calm you, make you happy, and also encourage regular drinking.

 

When you are on a low carb diet, some beverages must be avoided:

  1. Sugary drinks: soda pops, sugary coffee drinks, sugary energy drinks
  2. Fruit juices
  3. Regular milk
  4. Regular beer
  5. Some vegetable juices, depending on ingredients and calorie levels (such as carrot or beet juice).
  6. Beverages containing artificial sweeteners—sucralose, Splenda, aspartame, Nutrasweet. (Remember that these healthy sweeteners are fine to have in your beverage: stevia, xylitol, erythritol, monk fruit, chicory.)

 

Don’t despair!   There are many different types of beverages you can regularly enjoy:

Low Carb Diet

  1. Pure, filtered water—if you are using reverse osmosis, I suggest adding in extra minerals. I do not recommend using distilled water or alkaline water.
  2. Herbals teas—pretty much all herbal teas, aside from a sweetened chai tea, is fine to drink. Green tea is protective of the pancreas and liver and is anti-carcinogenic.  Ginseng and licorice are good for adrenals, stress and glucose regulation.  Dandelion is good for the liver and bladder.  Peppermint, ginger, anise, fennel, chamomile are good for digestion.   Go for variety and your preferences.
  3. Unsweetened alternative milks (such as almond, coconut, macadamia, soy, etc.)
  4. Alternative pops using healthy sweeteners—such as Zevia.
  5. Unsweetened chocolate powder—mix with healthy sweetener and unsweetened alternative milk for a nice hot cuppa chocolate.
  6. Fizzy/carbonated water—whether you have a SodaStream home carbonator in your own home or buy carbonated water, this beverage offers a pleasant tickling on your tongue. Add cucumbers, lemon, lime, healthy sweeteners to bring flavors to them.
  7. Coffee
  8. Coffee alternatives using chicory and barley, like Roma, Teeccino, Pero.

What about alcohol?  Aside from regular beer, alcohol tends to have little carbohydrates in it.  A five ounce serving of wine has 4 grams of carbs; there are low carb beers containing less then 3 grams per bottle, and distilled hard liquor has no carbs at all.

 

Alcohol does have calories, though, around 100 calories a typical serving, and if you are eating low carb to lose weight, be careful of those added alcohol calories you’ll need to burn off.  Also, alcohol can lead to dehydration more easily than other beverages. Last, if you are an alcoholic, have a history of acute pancreatitis, have problems with stomach ulcers, or have fatty liver, alcohol should be avoided.

 

Beverages can really enliven your low carb diet.  Choose well and enjoy!

 

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