How To Include Alcohol In A Healthy Diet

Can we enjoy a few cocktails along with a clean diet and still get the results we want?

The answer is yes!

I’m sure that is music so some of your ears.

First let’s dissect what happens the moment that drink goes down the hatch.

Your body will metabolize food by absorbing through digestion. But with alcohol it’s a much quicker process. It rapidly enters your blood, 20% will be through the stomach and 80% through the small intestine.  Which is why you might feel some of the effects within 5 to 10 minutes of drinking.  In comparison to eating a meal where it takes about six to eight hours for the food to pass through your stomach and small intestine.

The liver is next and takes on the biggest role. The liver can only break down a certain amount of alcohol per hour, which for an average person is around one standard drink (5 oz wine, 12 oz beer 1.5 oz hard alcohol). This is why this is considered a serving size. The metabolic by-product of alcohol, is known as ethanol, which is toxic to the body.  Too much, too often or too much at one time becomes dangerous. The liver metabolizes the alcohol just like it would a carbohydrate and converts the sugar into energy but here is the kicker.  The order in which we break down food changes once we include the alcohol. 

Continue reading to learn how this happens and to incorporate alcohol into the CLEAN CUT lifestyle.

Ever need a drink to unwind? The heart will actually pump out slightly less blood because it contracts with less force.  The less pressure causes all your blood vessels to relax and your pressure actually goes down.  Because alcohol makes your blood vessels relax and expand, more blood can flow up the center of your body to the skin.  This is why you get that warm feeling and flushed cheeks.  While this is happening a tiny amount will seep out through your pores or in your sweat.  This is one of the reasons it is  important to stay hydrated while drinking.  Ever smell someone that left a bar or at the gym the next day “I’m sweating out all the alcohol!” They actually are.

The heart then sends blood to the pulmonary vein (your lungs), so every time you breath out a tiny bit of alcohol is in it (hence the breathalyzer).

Alcohol is actually a sedative so when it reaches your brain it slows down your transmission impulses and you feel buzzed.  The more you drink the more impaired you become. We’ve all been there (maybe), slurring, stumbling, etc.  You swear the next day you won’t do it again.  The more you understand the process, you may slow down  next time before having your next drink. We aren’t asking you to stop enjoying cocktails, no way,  just being aware can help.

The brain also controls vasopressin, an antidiuretic hormone. It causes the body to hold onto water, which typically limits how much urine your kidneys make. Alcohol suppresses this hormone increasing the diuretic effect and leads to dehydration.  Alcohol is also an inflammatory substance, causing swelling in the body. After a night out drinking, when the body is dehydrated, skin and vital organs try to hold onto as much water as possible, leading to puffiness in the face and elsewhere. If you can get in lots of water and vitamins before heading to bed it might just help the next morning.   Having water between each drink can also help balance this dehydration.

Now onto how we can incorporate alcohol into our already clean diet and find the balance.

It doesn’t seem that alcohol calories are converted at a higher rate to body fat than the calories from carbohydrates, fat or protein. It is as always excessive consumption of ANY form that is likely to cause fat gain. 

Remember how we said that the liver absorbs alcohol just like it does food but the order changes?  Alcohol actually does have nutritional value but it also comes with the price of it being toxic, that is the ethanol.  Because the body is an amazing thing when alcohol is present it will first metabolize the alcohol then the carbohydrate, fat and then the protein.  Depending on how much alcohol you consume depends on how long the food (carbohydrates, fats and proteins) need to wait to be converted into energy. 

When you plan on having your drinks, eliminating all complex carbohydrates is a great idea so they don’t just sit and become stored fat.  If you didn’t eliminate them, then the day or two after you have no choice but to eliminate all carbohydrates so that your body can catch up and you don’t have what we call an INSULIN SPILL OVER.

Drinking in moderation, what does that mean? 

According  to the guidelines this is 1 drink a day.  If this is you, enjoy it!  If you are not one that stops at one drink then try to save them for a night or two out with friends or family OR be very mindful of your carbohydrate choices in food and beverages and make sure you get in your exercise to flush out the toxins.


  • Light beers typically contain around 100 calories and 5 grams of carbs per 12 oz serving
  • Regular beers typically contain  around 150 calories and 10.5 grams of carbs per 12 oz serving
  • IPA’s typically contain around 240 calories and 22 grams of carbs per serving


  • Dry red wines typically contain 150 calories and 4 grams of carbs per serving
  • Dry white wines typically contain 125 calories and 3 grams of carbs per serving
  • Dry Sparkling wine and champagne typically contains 110 calories and 2 grams of carbs
  • For sweeter wines, you can the carbohydrate content will be slightly higher


  • Spirits such as vodka, gin, whiskey, rum, and tequila will all contain close to 95 calories and 0 grams of carbs per fluid ounce


Note: Tonic water 1 small bottle has a whopping 32 grams of sugar and carbohydrates. A margarita might contain closer to 400 calories and 65 grams of carbohydrates.  If you know anything about CLEAN CUT this is your full (+) carbohydrate for the day.

Benefits of moderate alcohol consumption:

Here are some benefits of moderate alcohol consumption as per the mayo clinic and HealthLine (remember way to much becomes toxic and all these benefits are reversed with over use).

  • If you’re in good shape, moderate drinking makes you 25% to 40% less likely to have a heart attack, stroke, or hardened arteries. This may be in part because small amounts of alcohol can raise your HDL (“good” cholesterol) levels
  • Possibly reducing your risk of ischemic stroke (when the arteries to your brain become narrowed or blocked, causing severely reduced blood flow)A drink or two a few times a week may make you less likely to get Alzheimer’s disease. Possibly reducing your risk of diabetes
  • Moderate alcohol consumption may reduce symptoms of type 2 diabetes by enhancing the uptake of blood sugar by your cells.
  • Red wine has antioxidants which help boost the immune system with moderation

Bottom line:  Living the CLEAN CUT lifestyle and following the “tools” we supply allows the freedom of enjoying some drinks while still losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle.

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