Alcohol on keto is a hot topic. You might be wondering if it’s possible to stay in ketosis while being able to enjoy alcoholic beverages. We’ve got you covered in this guide.

It’s not just food that affects your progress on keto, but also drinks. When it comes to the kind of beverages we ought to enjoy – one that comes to mind is alcohol.

Are there low carb alcoholic drinks that won’t stall your efforts?

Here’s what you should know about keto and alcohol. You’ll also find lots of keto friendly alcohol options along with their carb counts.

Does Alcohol Kick You Out of Ketosis?

Certain foods put you off ketosis. You already know that. The same thing applies to alcohol.

So here’s the answer:

Depending on the number of carbs in alcohol, you either stay in or get out of ketosis. The volume of alcohol you consume matters too.

Two things you should do as a keto dieter:

  • Choose the best low carb liquor (we reveal top selections for you below)
  • Enjoy alcohol in moderation even if it’s low-carb

For the second bullet point, I know what you’re thinking – “Why do I still need to drink moderately even if I’m having low carb alcohol?”

The answer lies in the way your body processes alcohol. This leads us to the question… What does alcohol do to ketosis?

During ketosis, your body burns its stored fat to create ketones which become your alternative fuel source and bring about many health benefits 1.

But when you drink alcohol, your body detects alcohol as poison. Since alcohol is recognized as a toxic substance, your body gets rid of it first.

This means that processing alcohol now becomes a priority over breaking down body fat.

Furthermore, alcohol prevents the body from using essential nutrients 2.

You don’t want to slow down ketosis, do you?

Another reason to think before drinking on keto is that alcohol contains empty calories. 1 gram has approximately 7.1 calories, and these calories contain no nutritional value 2.

Yes, we know – calories aren’t all that matter. But if you’re aiming for sustained fat loss, you shouldn’t completely ignore your calorie intake.

We would also like to make another important point:

Alcohol consumption affects your food choices. A study was conducted on college students which revealed that after drinking alcohol, students craved more foods. They were also less likely to eat healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables 3.

The bottom line?

Drinking alcohol on keto won’t necessarily kick you out of ketosis. This is especially true if you pick low carb drinks. But at the same time, you need to be careful because of the empty calories and increased cravings you could get.

Lisa Richards, a nutritionist, published author, and creator of the Candida Diet, says,

There are some alcoholic beverages that are better than others in terms of impact on health.

No alcoholic beverage can improve health, but there are some that can have fewer negative health outcomes than others.”

Important Note: As someone who eats a low carb diet, you’re expected to get drunk faster. Your keto alcohol tolerance decreases. This is because when you’re in a state of ketosis, alcohol gets absorbed quickly.

Meanwhile, non-ketoers, whose glycogen stores are filled, have a higher alcohol tolerance. Think of carbohydrates as a buffer that slows down the rate of alcohol hitting your system.

Hard Liquors

What is the best alcoholic drink for low carb diet? Pure forms of alcohol such as gin, tequila, and whiskey contain zero carbs. You can drink them by themselves.

Photo by Shutterstock.com

 

If you like, you can also incorporate a sugar-free or low-carb mixer for more flavor. Options include diet soda, sugar-free iced tea, or sugar-free juice 4.

Type of alcohol Serving sizeCarbs per serving
Vodka

Sample brands: Smirnoff; Svedka; Absolut; Skyy; Burnett’s; Grey Goose; Ciroc

1.5 oz0 grams
Whiskey

Sample brands: Jack Daniels; Johnnie Walker; Seagram’s; Crown Royal; Dewar’s

1.5 oz0 grams
Gin

Sample brands: Bombay; Tanqueray; Gordon’s; Beefeater; Roku; Hendrick’s; The Botanist

1.5 oz0 grams
Brandy

Sample brands: McDowell’s; Hennessy; Remy Martin; Courvoisier; Honey Bee

1.5 oz0 grams
Tequila

Sample brands: Patron; Tres Agaves ; Jose Cuervo; Sauza; Casa Noble; El Tesoro

1.5 oz0 grams
Rum

Sample brands: Mount Gay; The Real McCoy; Plantation; Bacardi Facundo; Santa Teresa; Don Q

1.5 oz0 grams

 

Wines

Is wine a keto friendly drink? It depends on the amount of sugar it contains. Ideally, you should go for dry wine options like merlot, pinot noir, and pinot blanc. The drier the wine, the less residual sugar it has.

Photo by Shutterstock.com

 

We’ve saved you time from doing all the research yourself. These are your choices:

Type of alcohol Serving sizeCarbs per serving
Dry red wines

Types include: Merlot; Pinot noir; Cabernet sauvignon

Dry white wines

Types include: Sauvignon blanc; Pinot blanc; Pinot grigio

 

Key tip: Steer clear of dessert wines since they often contain lots of sugar. Examples of these wines are madeiras, sherries, and sauternes.

Beers

To be honest, beer can be a tricky drink on a low-carb diet. That’s because they’re made from barley, wheat, and rice.

Alix Turoff, a Registered Dietician, and Certified Personal Coach, says,

Most beers are going to be on the avoid list but some light beers can be incorporated in moderation

as long as they don’t put you over your carbohydrate goal for the day.”

Photo by Shutterstock.com

 

Luckily, there are a few keto beer options that are worth adding to our list. See them below.

BrandsServing sizeCarbs per serving
Budweiser Select 55100 ml0.9 g
Michelob Ultra100 ml0.7 g
Omission Ultimate Light Golden Ale12 oz can3 g
Busch Light12 oz can3.2 g
Beck’s Premier Light (gluten-free)12 oz bottle4 g

 

Drinks to Avoid

These drinks may be popular (you may have heard of them) – but sadly, they’re not the best alcohol for keto. As you can see, a small serving can carry as much as 46 grams of carbs. That doesn’t sound so appealing.

Type of alcohol Serving sizeCarbs per serving
Bloody Mary10 oz35 g
Moscow Mule7.5 oz22 g
Regular beer12 oz17 g
Whiskey sour3 oz12 g
Cosmopolitan4 oz24 g
Daiquiri4 oz46 g
Piña colada3 oz28 g
Sangria8 oz23 g
Margarita2.8 oz13 g

 

So there you have it. You already know how the keto diet and alcohol can work together. To stay within your daily carb limit, only go for zero or low carb alcohol drinks, which we’ve listed above.

Takeaways

You don’t necessarily go out of ketosis if you know what alcohol you can drink on keto. Alcohol with no carbs such as vodka, whiskey, and gin are top choices. There are also low-carb wines and beers.

But just because they’re available, doesn’t mean you should enjoy them more often. As mentioned, alcohol is considered by your body as a toxin. Getting rid of it becomes a priority over burning stored fat – which is the basis for ketosis. Too much alcohol also triggers unhealthy food cravings.

At the end of the day, you still need to drink alcohol in moderation. We hope this guide helped!

REFERENCES:

  1. ScienceDirect. Ketosis - https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/biochemistry-genetics-and-molecular-biology/ketosis

  2. Lieber CS. Relationships Between Nutrition, Alcohol Use, and Liver Disease. 2004 September 29 - https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-3/220-231.htm

View all references