I haven't been a big drinker since hitting my 40's but I do enjoy a drink on occasion. For many choosing to follow a carnivorous diet though this, similar to a ketogenic diet, can have some tremendous side effects. These side effects are tied to the changes which occur in your gut microbiome and are important functions.
Can you drink alcohol on a carnivore diet? If you are ok with experiencing some level of gut displeasure then an occasional drink will be fine. If you are a heavy drinker just realize that this must be utilized by the body before body fat and can lead to weight gain and bloating problems. Please note your tolerance will be greatly impacted.
Now that we have this out of the way we can dig deeper into why you may want to avoid adding alcohol on a carnivore diet, or maybe at least balance out the approach. I understand some people will have better abilities to handle their drinks but it isn't just about consumption but the havoc wreaked on your body from plant-based drinks.
Everyone has a company party or gatherings with their friends and family, whether at home, work, or at a bar after work. There is tremendous social pressure to drink in public with friends no matter the side-effects which means you must be properly prepared for it after you start down the carnivore road.
Alcohol is shown to stop the ability to intake certain micronutrients leaving you deficient possibly while containing no nutrition within its own content. (source 1, 2, 3)
Additionally, alcohol is treated as volatile in the body and even has the ability to cause DNA issues. It will be processed out even if blood glucose levels are too high, even when this could cause issues.
Here is where the rubber meets the road and what your goal for the diet is, as this is expressly where you can cause yourself issues. If you are doing the carnivore diet for weight loss then choosing to consume any alcohol is going to massively halt your body fat losses.
Alcohol is metabolized exclusively in the liver and does not stimulate the release of Insulin which is the big enemy of people like me who suffer from the metabolic syndrome. Things to know if you’re going to drink alcohol is that many forms contain carbs that can torpedo any weight loss.Dr Paul Mabry on FB (Zeroing In on Health)
This means understanding your goals is more important to achieving them then many will initially give credence. If you drink for one weekend your recovery before you start to really get to the fat loss stages could be as long as a week, then you drink again and restart this cycle.
Excess consumption of alcohol on a carnivore diet overwhelms the liver and its ability to metabolize alcohol properly while using it for energy. The liver responds the only way it knows how which is to convert it to fat.
One issue with that pathway is the liver is unable to get it out of the liver cells quickly or efficiently. Add these together and high consumption of alcohol leads to a fatty buildup in liver cells and that's called fatty liver, or eventually cirrhosis.
You may think that you are an excellent drinker and that you "can handle your liquor" but word to the wise is that once you have removed the carbohydrate from your diet you will react much differently than you did prior.
If you were a big-time drinker you may see your ability to drink more than cut in half. I'm being serious, it will seriously change your metabolism and how you fundamentally handle it.
Are you a big wine drinker? What is your preference, is it sweet or dry? Well, good news for those who prefer dry wines as they contain the least amount of carbohydrate.
While a large portion of people enjoy sweet wines they contain a large number of carbohydrates, they should be considered a every so often occasional drink and not with your daily dinner.
Additionally, if you prefer things like hard cider and hard lemonade you may as well start drinking regular coke again as they are basically sugar.
Unfortunately, Scotch and Whiskey are made from plants inside the wheat family which are associated with autoimmune conditions, so I would recommend avoiding these on a carnivore diet. You can attempt adding them back in within moderation after at least 30 days or longer to see if, once added, you have side effects to the consumption.
Some people will find that after their first 30-90 days that they are less interested in alcohol as it isn't required as a coping device, then adding a drink or two when out with friends is perfectly fine, just make sure you know your tolerance level!
Whether you choose to drink or not isn't my call and I am not one to preach to you that you should or shouldn't. What I want to do is help you make the right decisions around drinking to be responsible when it occurs.
No one sets out to get hammered and get into car accidents or get a DUI, this is why I want you to just understand the changes which have occurred with your switch to a carnivore diet. Please always be responsible, Uber and Lyft exist to make sure you get home safely and you can always come back for your car, don't be stupid!
If you read this far you are amazing! I would love to hear from you in the comments below if I helped you gain knowledge and useful information, additionally I would like to know if I got anything incorrect that you believe should be researched more and updated. As always to get the word out please join our new Carnivore Rx group on Facebook and share this out on social media!