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The “Bavarian Atkins Diet” – what beer is not taboo when you’re on a low-carb diet?

We’ve all heard it – if you want to lose weight, you should really be cutting out beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages, but in my homeland of Franconia, especially, we tend to really have a hard time doing that sort of thing, don’t we? Who among you doesn’t look forward in the evenings to the first beer of the day, or a well-earned glass of red wine? Alcohol should really, of course, remain an exception when you’re on a low-carb diet, but as an enthusiastic LCHF devotee, I resolved to do some proper research myself as to what beer or what glass of wine I can treat myself to after a hard day’s work in the office or while I’m enjoying a cosy evening at home on the couch 🙂

What exactly is a low-carb diet?

First of all, though, I’d like to explain to you what exactly a low-carb diet is, and what you have to bear in mind. Basically, what you try to do on a low-carb diet, also known as the Atkins diet, is to significantly reduce the amount of carbohydrates you consume. Distributed over the day, you eat only 70 to 100 g of carbohydrates, and avoid cakes, white bread, noodles and rice as well. So your daily meals consist essentially of vegetables, dairy products, fish and meat – without any carbohydrate-based side dishes, like potatoes or noodles. In return, though, you don’t have to skimp on fat – no matter whether it’s butter, fatty meat, cream and or cheese, here you can pile your plate high with a clear conscience! But what you should if at all possible cut out completely is sugar, meaning biscuits, jellybeans, chocolate and the like. For nibbling or snacking, I tend to go for nuts or 70 % chocolate instead. The former go superbly with beer, and you need have no qualms about enjoying your favourite cheese with a glass of wine. 

Wine and beer contain carbohydrates? Is that really true?

Now, though, we come to the interesting bit: the alcohol. When you want to go on a low-carb diet, especially, you have to take extra care with the beverages as well. As a rule of thumb, the thing to remember here is that “the sweeter a drink, the more carbohydrates there are in it” – except in the case of beer. Both dry and semi-dry wines score best in this context, and with an average of 1 – 2.5 g carbohydrates a glass, you can feel free to drink them. So your best choice among reds is a Merlot, a Franconian Dornfelder or a Spanish Tempranillo. As to white wines, you can’t go wrong with a Pinot Grigio, a Chardonnay, a Bacchus or a Silvaner. In summer, you can also transform these dry wines into a perfect spritzer – what could be more refreshing on a hot summer’s day? 🙂 And this will interest the ladies in particular: prosecco and other sparkling wines likewise contain only around 2 g of carbohydrates per 100 ml, which means they’re OK as well! Yeah 🙂

What at least in the context of a diet you can still drink on convivial evenings with friends or when going out on the town is clear spirits like vodka, whisky, gin and rum. Mixed with Cola-light, they make a perfect low-carb drink. Regarding the craft beer trend, well, I have to disappoint all the figure-conscious among you – IPAs porter & stouts and other craft beers unfortunately contain far too many carbohydrates.

What’s so special about diet beer?

Compared to a normal beer with a 3 % carbohydrate content, a carbohydrate-reduced beer will usually have a carbohydrate content of not more than 0.75 %, and thus only around 320 kcal per litre. A diet beer of this kind is produced in a quite normal brewing process, in which practically all the carbohydrates are converted into alcohol. The result is a very low-calorie, but high-alcohol beer.] After the brewing process, the alcohol content is then reduced, since it has to correspond to a normal beer – but this does not impair the taste :-). Carbohydrate-reduced beers, by the way, are ranked among the bottom-fermented beers and, what’s more, are a brilliant isotonic, figure-flattering thirst-quencher. So the only thing left to say is, where’s the bottle-opener? 🙂

 

Whichever beer you want to treat yourself to without a guilty conscience – here I’ve listed my own favourites for you:

 

 

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