Can I drink alcohol on keto?

Can I drink alcohol on keto?

Yes, you can definitely drink alcohol when following a ketogenic diet. But, ideally, it should be avoided, especially if your goal is to lose weight. Many alcoholic beverages are high in carbs and the alcohol (ethanol) in them can slow down weight loss.


If you do want to drink alcohol, always go for low-carb alcohol and even no-carb alcohol. Generally speaking, hard alcohol and spirits (whiskey, vodka, gin) with soda or tonic are some of the best keto options. Some dry wines are ok as well.


Also, beware of giving in to post-drinking binge tendencies and make sure you drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration and severe hangovers.


You may also want to keep in mind that alcohol is not good for any aspect of your health, except, maybe, for the benefit of socializing. But then again, there are other ways to have fun and connect with friends and family without the need to drink.


If you want to learn more about alcohol on a keto diet, do keep reading. We explain how alcohol can affect your keto diet and answer common questions like "What can I drink on keto?" and "What is the lowest carb alcohol?"


Alcohol on a keto diet

Alcohol is not off limits on a keto diet. The reason it is not mentioned on any keto food list is simply because it's neither essential not beneficial. In other words, it will not help you on your keto diet and can, in fact, make reaching your goals more difficult.


Still, alcohol is a big part of many cultures and it's a well know social lubricant. If you enjoy alcohol for its taste and social benefits, you definitely don't have to forgo it just because you're on a keto diet. What you need to do is be careful with your choice of alcoholic beverage.


Some drinks are high in carbs while others don't have any carbs at all. Drinking low-carb alcoholic drinks within the recommended daily limits is completely acceptable on a keto diet. But there's a setback to this: the alcohol in these drinks can slow down weight loss because your liver uses alcohol to make energy and it stops burning fat leading to its accumulation in fat tissue and the liver itself [1].

Can you drink alcohol and stay in ketosis?

In short, yes. But as is usually the case with alcohol, it depends on the dose but also type.

Moderate intake of low-carb drinks shouldn't cause you any trouble. However, if you have a higher-carb beer too many, you could seriously jeopardize staying in fat-burning mode. That's because the extra carbs from that third bottle of beer can make you easily go over your daily carb limit.


And when it comes to alcohol and ketosis specifically, things get a bit murky. Studies have long found that drinking alcohol increases ketone production [2]. That's because alcohol depletes liver glycogen stores, and depleted glycogen is always followed by greater ketone production.


But don't think that that's a good thing. As already explained, your liver will favor metabolizing alcohol for energy, putting a pause on fat burning. Not exactly what you want on a keto, fat-burning, type of diet.

What alcohol can I drink on the keto diet?

There are quite a few keto alcohol drinks you can enjoy in moderation on keto. Generally speaking, hard alcohol is your best bet when it comes to carb content, but some wine and beer variants are also low enough in carbs to be safe on keto.


Below is a list of low-carb alcoholic beverages you can have on keto. The numbers refer to a standard drink. A standard drink contains roughly 14 grams of pure alcohol and it looks like this.

 

  • 12 ounces of regular beer (5% alcohol)
  • 5 ounces of wine (12% alcohol)
  • 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits (40% alcohol)

Make sure to stick to the recommended daily limits, not only to stay in ketosis but for your overall health as well. We also answer some commonly asked questions in regards to keto on alcohol.


Low Carb Alcoholic Drinks

   

Wine

Carbohydrates

Calories

Pinot Noir

3.4g

121 kcal

Cabernet Sauvignon

3.8g

122kcal

Chardonnay

3.1g

123 kcal

Champagne

1.5g

96 kcal

Pinot Grigio

3g

122kcal

Sangiovese

4g

126 kcal

Beer

Carbohydrates

Calories

Budweiser Select 55

1.9g

55 kcal

Miller Genuine Draft “64”

2.4g

64 kcal

Busch Light

3.2g

95 kcal

Michelob Ultra

2.6g

95 kcal

Natural Light

3.2g

95 kcal

Miller Lite

2.6g

95 kcal

Coors Light

5g

102 kcal

Liqueur (1oz)

Carbohydrates

Calories

Southern Comfort

3g

75 kcal

Carolan's Irish Cream

5.6g

103 kcal

Liquor

Carbohydrates

Calories

Smirnoff Vodka

0g

97 kcal

Grey Goose

0g

103 kcal

Jack Daniels

0g

98kcal

Johnnie Walker

0g

105 kcal

Tequila (1800)

0g

103 kcal

Rum (Bacardi Superior)

0g

96 kcal

Gin (Seagram's)

0g

103 kcal

Hennessy

1g

103 kcal

Absinthe

0g

124 kcal

If you stick to drinks listed in this table, then you won't have to worry about being kicked out of ketosis. But in case you come across a drink not found on this list and that you would love to try, then follow these six tips.

1. Choose dry wines over sweet wines

If you're looking for a low-carb wine, go for dry wines. These do not have any residual sugar, unlike sweet wines. If you find that your dry wine of choice tastes a bit sweet, don't worry. Wines with a higher alcohol content can also taste sweet.

2. Go for light beers

It's a common misconception that you can't drink beer on a keto diet. Having one 12-ounce bottle of light beer shouldn't kick you out of ketosis. Even if you drink two, you likely won't hit 10g of net carbs. Avoid ales, porters, malt, and other full-bodied beers.

3. When in doubt, choose liquor

The distillation process of making spirits purifies the drink so that they have no sugar. However, they're not as safe on keto as you may think them to be. Their high alcohol content can affect the way your metabolism works.

4. Step away from liqueurs

Liquors have added sugars, so you definitely don't want to take the risk. The two exceptions listed in the table above have a slightly lower carb content than most sweetened alcoholic drinks.

5. Be careful with cocktails

Most cocktails, with the exception of dry martini, have lots of carbs. You could, however, make a sugar-free cocktail at home using sugar substitutes like stevia powder or erythritol.

6. Ciders are a big no-no

Ciders can have over 30g of carbs in a single glass. Strongbow has a low-carb apple cider, but it's still almost 13g carbs per bottle.

Keto Alcohol: More FAQ

If you're still feeling confused about alcohol on a keto diet, below we answer some commonly asked questions.

What can I drink on keto?

You can drink low-carb alcoholic beverages such as light beers, dry wines, and spirits. You can also enjoy unsweetened cocktails and one small serving of low-carb liqueurs.

What is the lowest carb alcohol?

Many spirits with an alcohol content of over 30 percent  have zero carbs. Examples include vodka, tequila, and rum.

What is the best alcohol to drink on a diet?

Dry red wines are probably the best option on any weight-loss diet. Studies show that moderate intake of wine does not lead to changes in weight loss [4].

Can I drink wine on keto diet?

Yes, you can have one glass of low-carb keto wine a day. Go for dry and even sparkling wines since these tend to have the lowest carb content.

What is the best wine for keto?

Sparkling wine such as Champagne has a carb content of only 1.5g net carbs per serving. Other sparkling wines tend to also be lower on carbs.

Can I drink beer on keto?

Low-carb beer is perfectly ok on keto as long as you have only one drink a day.

Is red wine keto friendly?

Yes, red wine is keto friendly when it's carb content is lower than 5 grams in a single serving. Some red wines can be pretty high in carbs, though. These are generally the sweeter variants like Vintage Port which has 14g of carbs in a 3.5 oz glass.

Which beer is lowest in carbs?

American light lager-style beers tend to be low in carbs. Budweiser Select 55 is a good example at only 1.5g net carbs in a serving.

Which wines are low carb?

Dry wines and sparkling wines are low in carbs. If you make a spritzer with a wine like Chardonnay, you'll further lower the drink's carb content. This is especially true for this wine brand as there are only 3.2g of carbs in chardonnay.

Does vodka have carbs?

No, there are absolutely no carbs in vodka. But it does have a lot of alcohol with an alcohol content of 40 percent which can add to your daily calories.

I had a high-carb drink and got kicked out of ketosis. Now what?

As a quick remedy, try exogenous ketones as these quickly raise blood ketone levels. Our Exogenous Ketones With Electrolytes can also help with hangovers if that's also your issue. Dehydration plays a big part in hangover, and that electrolyte drinks help ease symptoms [5]. Other than that, make sure to eat more fat and try to lower your carb intake slightly until you're back in ketosis.

Takeaways

Moderate alcohol intake is perfectly fine on a ketogenic diet. It won't kick you out of ketosis and it won't stall your weight loss, especially when you drink low-carb keto wines and beers.

 

But the same can’t be said to be true for binge drinking or drinking small amounts of the wrong beverage. Both can make you go well over your carb limit, and you run the risk of taking in too much alcohol.

 

To stay safe while drinking on keto, stick to our list of low-carb keto drinks and avoid things like sweet wines, malt beers, and sugar-sweetened beverages.

 

You’ll also want to watch how your drinking fits your keto macros - always have those liquid carbs included in your calculations. Other than that, try not to have more than one drink per day and have two drinks max. Alcohol can be a tonic or a poison depending on how you use it. We suggest you use it wisely.

References

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