What Can I Drink On The Atkins Diet?
In your quest to lose weight, prevent weight gain, or just lead a healthier lifestyle, you may be undertaking a calorie or carb-restricting diet, where you monitor and reduce your intake of net carbs. The health benefits can be great, but the process can be arduous and you may feel like you're missing out while others can eat and drink what they like.
The Atkins diet is one of the most popular and involves reducing your carbs per serving each mealtime. But what about beverages?
This article explores the drinks you can consume on the Atkins diet without your carb count and blood sugar spiraling out of control. We'll cover 5 drinks that you can consume without worry, including Zest Energy Tea, and a few drinks that are best to avoid.
The Rules of the Atkins Diet
The Atkins diet is a low-carb, high-fat and high-protein diet that relies on ketogenesis for weight loss. The diet plan was created in the 1970s and has gone through phases of popularity ever since. It has also been demonized in the media repeatedly, although current research shows that it can be safe and numerous studies have found that it is more effective than a low-fat diet.
By restricting your carbohydrate intake (while eating as much fat and proteins as you like) per serving, you should push your body into burning stored fat for energy, rather than carbohydrates, thus reducing your overall body fat. Eating low carb foods in this way can be effective for weight loss when conducted in a healthy manner.
On the Atkins diet, the low carb diet is just one stage. Gradually, you will re-introduce more complex carbs to your diet without gaining weight and maintaining optimal health (so you won't be stuck eating chicken salad forever more).
Other Low Carb Diet Plans
The Atkins diet is just one weight loss diet that relies on calorie counting. Other popular low carb diets include the ketogenic diet, which doesn't include stages to slowly up the grams of carbs you consume regularly. We have a separate article covering what you can drink on the keto diet.
Before you undertake any diet, however, we certainly recommend you seek professional medical advice - especially if you have an underlying health condition.
While there are other health benefits to a low carb diet besides losing weight, there are also some risks. More research is needed to assess the effects of a ketogenic diet in the long term, as the improvements in reducing cardiovascular disease risk factors (high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, etc.) are usually limited to the diet period - not beyond it.
5 Great Drinks for the Atkins Diet
The following 5 acceptable beverages are all low in carbs or even contain zero calories. If you're ever in doubt, check the nutrition label of a beverage before you buy it. If you are unable to find out how many carbs are in a drink (if you were ordering in a restaurant, for example) then you can always go for a cup of water!
1. Zest Tea
All tea made yourself, with just a teabag and water, should fit into your low carb diet. Infusing tea leaves from the Camellia sinensis tea plant with water does not provide any carbohydrates unless they are added separately (see iced tea and to-go drinks below). Zest Tea blends are even more appropriate as they are high in caffeine as well as free of carbs.
When you cut out carbs and your blood sugar levels drop, it's natural to feel a little lethargic. But with up to 150mg of caffeine per serving, our tea will pick you back up and give you the plant-powered energy you need to get through the day.
You can brew our tea bag pyramids hot or cold. We have both green tea and black tea options in a range of delicious flavors.
2. Diet Soda
Diet soda is a popular weight loss drink, as it replicates the flavor of your favorite soda but without the net carbs. You can certainly drink diet soda on a low carb diet, including the Atkins diet, to achieve your goal weight. Diet sodas, however, are not particularly healthy either way.
Without sugar, non-nutritive sweeteners are added to sweeten the beverage - see our article about sweetening tea. These are not necessarily unhealthy for you, but they don't provide any nutrition either. Unlike tea, diet soda is free of natural amino acids, antioxidants, plus vitamins and minerals (unless they're added separately).
So, diet soda is a safe and acceptable drink to consume on the Atkins diet, however there are more nutritious options available.
3. Caffeinated or Decaffeinated Coffee
Coffee is also a good beverage if you need a sudden burst of energy, just ensure that you drink it black. Adding milk, dairy, or even a plant-based milk can add carbs that you should be avoiding. A small splash of milk may be acceptable, just don't forget to count it. 1 tbsp of whole milk (approximately 15 grams) contains just under a gram of sugars (0.7215 to be exact).
Both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee are low carb and suitable for the Atkins diet, however an average cup of black tea doesn't provide as much energy as Zest Tea. Read our article to compare caffeine levels in tea and coffee.
4. Herbal Tea
Just like caffeinated tea, herbal teas are typically free of sugars and carbohydrates, so are ideal for your weight loss plans. Most herbal teas do not contain caffeine, so they're more suitable for a relaxing evening beverage - save the caffeinated tea for the mornings when you need a smooth, reliable energy boost.
Herbal tea, such as chamomile or spearmint, also comes with unique benefits for your health. However, without caffeine and L-Theanine they won't provide energy or focus in the same way.
5. Club Soda
Club soda can be effective for weight loss as it is a zero-carb, healthy beverage. Typically, club soda consists of carbonated water plus various minerals to combat the acidity of the carbon dioxide and produce a slightly bitter flavor.
Check the nutrition label for further ingredients that may differ from brand to brand. On the whole, club soda is an acceptable zero-calorie sparkling alternative to water when you are aiming to lose weight.
Drinks to Avoid on the Atkins Diet
Weight loss doesn't happen overnight, but if you've not seen any progress despite cutting your meal carbs, then these beverages may be to blame.
1. Fruit Juices
High fiber fruit may be nutritious and full of vitamins, but it's also high in sugars. Concentrated or not, a glass of orange juice contains a significant amount of carbs.
Smoothies are also important to watch out for. Although loved by dieters, they may contain Greek yogurt, ice cream, sugary fruits, syrups, and even whole grains that add to your carbohydrate count. The best smoothie or juice you can try on the Atkins diet is made with salad greens, leafy greens, and more high fiber vegetables that are low sugar.
Opt for low carb vegetables over starchy vegetables for juices and smoothies too.
2. To-Go Drinks
Whether it's coffee, tea, or a seasonal hot chocolate, any drink that comes with a mountain of whipped cream and added sugar is a bad idea. This also accounts for iced teas and many other drinks available from coffee-chains. Unless you can verify that they are sugar-free or contain low amounts of sugar, it's safe to assume that they are not suitable for your weight loss goals.
A better option is to brew your own tea, coffee or go-to beverage at home without added sugars, then pour it into a to-go cup. We have a Zest Infuser Mug that's designed for this very purpose.
3. High-Calorie Alcoholic Drinks
Alcohol isn't forbidden on the Atkins diet, but many people recommend cutting it out entirely for the first phase or two. Like most carbohydrates, it's better to reintroduce alcoholic drinks into your diet in the later phases, in a controlled and healthy way.
Most alcoholic drinks contain carbohydrates, with beer and sweet alcohols (sweet champagne, amaretto, etc.) containing the most carbs. Alcohols that have been distilled will have fewer or no carbs (whisky, vodka, gin, etc.) but watch for the calories in the mixers!
You may also find your tolerance for alcohol has reduced since starting the Atkins diet, so drink responsibly.
Summary - Tea is Great for Any Low Carb Lifestyle
There are numerous low calorie and low carb drinks you can enjoy when on the Atkins diet or any ketogenic diet, so you really don't need to compromise on enjoying flavor and boosting your energy levels. While diet sodas are appropriate for the diet, there are more nutritious drinks available.
That's why we think tea is one of the best drinks for any low-carb diet. It provides flavor, energy and focus without adding to your calorie count. Drink it hot or ice cold, still or sparkling. Explore all tea flavors at Zest Tea to get started.
What can I drink on Atkins?
Tea and coffee, without milk and sugar. Diet sodas and club soda are also appropriate. If in doubt, stick with water as it is acceptable on any diet, not just the Atkins diet.
Can you drink diet Coke on low carb?
Yes, diet Coke is compatible with low-carb diets and can be used to help you lose weight.
Can you drink milk on the Atkins diet?
Milk contains both fats and sugars (carbohydrates) so you can consume it but only in small quantities. Depending on what stage of the Atkins diet you are on, you may only have the carb count for a very small portion of milk.
What drinks can you drink on the keto diet?
Ketosis occurs when you reduce carbs significantly, so any drink that is low in carbs or free of carbs will be great for the keto diet. Read our article how to find keto tea for your keto diet to learn more.
Does the Atkins diet help you lose weight?
The Atkins diet is designed to help you lose weight and slowly re-introduce more carbs so you can eat healthily and maintain your desired weight. Keeping the weight off long-term will involve lifetime maintenance and may not be an easy task.