In this article we’ll guide you through keto hydration, what keto drinks you can rely on and the all-important guide to low carb alcohol.
It comes as no surprise when people ask if they can drink alcohol on keto! The answer isn’t simple: yes and no. There are low carb alcohols you can drink, but as you know drinking alcohol will impair your judgment. It’s during these times we often slip up with food! After drinking it’s easy to make poor non-keto food choices. Alcohol also adds extra calories and additional stress on your liver and kidneys.
Alcohol is processed by the liver which is already busy making ketones. Drinking lots of alcohol will not only slow down the rate you liver can energize you with ketones. But, it will also slow down weight-loss and prevent you effectively burning fat. This degree of impact from alcohol varies from person to person, like how some people get drunk quicker, some people will be impacted more by drinking on keto. You may also find you may get drunk easier without the usual carb buffer in the liver, so if you choose to drink on keto, take it easy.
There are low carb alcohols, but they still contain calories. Hard alcohols which are pure spirits are zero carb, these include: vodka, gin, rum, tequila, whiskey, scotch, cognac and brandy. They can be mixed with soda to make a low carb alcoholic drink. These hard alcohols are ok for keto but they do contain calories which you need to count carefully, (and don’t lose track of how many you have!) Be very careful to avoid cocktails, these are full of sugar and definitely not keto.
The Carb Content of Other Alcoholic Beverages
Normal beers and wine are usually too high in carbs for keto, but some lite beers and wines are ok. For the red wines a small glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir or Merlot is approximately 5g of carbs. For white wines a small glass of Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay is approximately 4g of carbs. Champagne is a pretty good low carb alcohol, at just 2g per small glass (if you are going to drink wine on keto why not splash out and treat yourself to some bubbly!)
For lite beers you can enjoy a 12oz glass of any of these Under 3gs of carb are: Bud Select 55; MGD 64; Rolling Rock Green Light and Michelob Ultra. For 3g to 5g you can choose from: Bud Select, Miller Lite, Natural Light and Michelob Ultra Amber. Each glass of beer is between 90 and 120 calories, these will quickly add up. The best bet is to research specific brands and low carb alcoholic drinks online, this will ensure you accurately measure carbs. Just one or two glasses could be your carb limit for the day.
I also recommend looking at your drinking patterns. Do they support your healthy keto lifestyle? Old patterns can be hard to change, meeting the same people in the same places will often trigger the same food and drink choices, but do you want that? Any healthy lifestyle change will need you to reconsider multiple aspects of your life. Reflecting on what you drink, how often and why could help you spot underlying issues. It’s your choice if you choose to drink a low carb alcohol, but do you really need to? Will it risk undoing hard work or will it give you a mental boost and some quality time with friends? Only you can decide!
Keeping hydrated when you drink alcohol, and at all other times is important on the keto diet. During ketosis the body needs more water than usual to help the kidneys work effectively. The body is 70% water and it is a vital liquid which moves toxins out of cells and carries nutrients. When we get dehydrated our thoughts become slow and we lose energy, we often don’t even notice how dehydrated we are. Unfortunately, our sense of thirst only kicks in when it is already too late, so this means you need to proactively manage your water intake on keto.
Imagine a water wheel on a river: it needs a steady flow of water to produce energy or turn mill stones. It doesn’t work well with drought and then deluge. Your body is the same, downing a few pints of water when you remember is not ideal, you need to be gradually consuming water throughout the day when you doing keto. Many of the body’s process require water, the impact of not having enough can be really dramatic. Dehydration lies at the root of many keto flu symptoms.
But, water alone isn’t always enough: our body is not made of pure water. The fluids inside us have lots of dissolved minerals floating around. These minerals, specifically sodium and chloride from salt are crucial, they help the cells move other substances across cell membranes. When we sweat we lose this vital salt. You can taste the saltiness of the perspiration. These salts we lose in our sweat and urine need to be replaced. We actually lose more salt during ketosis than on a carb rich diet, so the kidneys need a bit more salt to keep them performing optimally on keto.
Take it With A Pinch of Salt
Unfortunately ‘salt’ like many other innocent foods has gotten a bad rap. While salt can raise blood pressure, usually it is only in combination with a bad diet. Processed foods are VERY high in added salt, so people often eat way more than they realize. When you are doing keto you need to manage your salt intake to ensure you get enough, this can be done by adding high quality sea salt or Himalayan salt to your food, or, if you prefer, with special electrolyte formulations. Just beware of added sugar.
Bone broths are another way to get natural salts into your diet and at the same time they are rich in minerals and collagen. Some other tasty keto drinks are herbal Teas like green tea which is an amazing antioxidant, black or fruit teas, (ensure there is no sugar added), cucumber or lemon infused water, food grade essential oil drops, like orange, in water or soda, fresh mint leaves in cold water or mint tea, tonics, soda water and carbonated water add a new texture to drinks. Maybe add a few slices of ginger to make an anti-inflammatory fizz.
If you want some creamier keto drinks how about some almond milk or soy milk. Coconut cream with a little water added is also a very tasty option. These milks and creams can also be added to teas and coffees, you can also add some extra depth of flavor with a little added stevia and cinnamon, or warm them up with stevia and a little cacao to make a decadent keto hot chocolate. These can also be thickened with a little nut butter to make a shake, or blend in some frozen coconut cream to really make a range of delicious keto drinks!
Diet sodas are considered keto friendly. However, emerging research indicates that zero-calorie sodas trigger ‘metabolic derangement’, which includes weight-gain. They contain super-sweet chemicals sweeteners which trick the body and, as we discovered, can do more harm than good. Water, with some added flavor is a much more natural and hydrating option. You can also purchase keto drinks sweetened with stevia available in a variety of flavors. These have the added benefit of including the perfect electrolytes to support your kidneys on keto.
Yes, you can drink alcohol but be aware of calories and carbs, even for low carb alcohol it will add up!
Be especially careful of your impaired judgment and keto food choices when drinking
Avoid chemically sweetened fizzy drinks
There are plenty of keto drinks you can enjoy by adding extra ingredients like milks, creams and nut butters
Herbs and food grade essential oils can add some tasty new flavors to water and soda
Don’t do fruit juice at all – it’s liquid sugar
Keep hydrated with water and get some salt (about 2 teaspoons per day)
Try a keto coffee for a high calorie energy burst!
If you like creamy drinks experiment with almond, soy and coconut milks!