ALCOHOL AND KETO | ULTIMATE GUIDE TO BOOZING ON THE KETO DIET
Time to read 16 min
Time to read 16 min
In this Ultimate Guide to Boozing on the Keto Diet, we’ll cover everything you need to know about alcohol and keto…
Can you enjoy a drink while eating out on keto?
And what about having a drink at your local bar or pub? Can we still do that on the keto diet?
The short answer is yes, you can drink alcohol while on keto.
Generally speaking, the lower the carb and sugar content of the drink, the better it is for keto. That means hard liquor, dry wine, and light beer are better choices than sweet wine, regular beer, and mixed drinks.
However, even if you choose a low-carb drink, you still need to be mindful of how much you drink and how often you drink.
Let’s set one thing straight though… Having too many might slam the breaks on your ketosis! Your liver will prioritise processing the booze, meaning your fat might have to wait…
Also, you need to be aware that drinking some alcohol does mean you might have a touch of water retention or even suffer those next-day hangover carb cravings, remember that alcohol can also lower your inhibitions and make you more likely to overeat on horrendous takeaway foods!
Alcohol can also dehydrate you and cause electrolyte imbalances, which can affect your mood and energy levels, especially the following day!
But in moderation, none of these reasons are enough to stop you from enjoying a drink from time to time, and there is no need to avoid going out while on Keto!
However, no, alcohol does not stop you from burning fat for long, as your liver goes back to burning fat after it processes alcohol.
This means that you can burn fat again after you stop drinking alcohol. But this also depends on how much alcohol you drink! You won't snap back into Ketosis after an all-day session.
Be careful! If you drink too much alcohol or too often, you can damage your liver and slow down your metabolism.
An often-asked question… Does the Keto Diet have a negative effect on the function of the liver? And does Keto damage your liver long-term?
However, you can take steps to protect your liver while enjoying the keto lifestyle. Namely eating plenty of greens to load up on healthy fibre and minerals, and not going crazy on eating too much protein!
You should also drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration… And lessen hangovers!
For most healthy people, the keto diet is not hard on the liver, as long as they follow the diet correctly and safely.
The keto diet can actually have some major benefits for the liver, such as reducing inflammation, improving insulin sensitivity, and lowering triglycerides.
For people with pre-existing liver problems or risk factors, The keto diet may still be an option, but we would always recommend that you check with your Dr. or GP before starting! Those people should also monitor their liver function with tests regularly while on the keto diet.
The keto diet while on the booze can also increase the stress on the liver by making it work harder to metabolize fat and alcohol.
So eat your greens and remember to thank your Liver after a heavy night!
No, drinking on Keto isn't dangerous, but you must be aware that drinking will feel slightly different when in ketosis.
Feeling like you are getting tipsy a little quicker while drinking on Keto?
You're not the only one!
One of the main risks of alcohol while in ketosis is that it can lower your alcohol tolerance and make you more susceptible to getting intoxicated quickly!
You may feel the effects of alcohol quicker when in ketosis because your body has less glycogen to buffer the effects of alcohol. Glycogen is a form of stored glucose that can help regulate your blood sugar levels and prevent alcohol from reaching your brain too quickly.
This means that you may get drunk more easily and more severely than before. This can impair your judgment and coordination and increase your risk of accidents and injuries. So be careful and pace yourself!
You may not be able to drink the amount of alcohol that you normally would when not on keto!
After enjoying a successful drink while on the keto diet, you may wonder how long it will take you to get back into ketosis after drinking alcohol.
The answer is… It depends!
It depends on how much alcohol you had to drink, what type of alcohol you had to drink, and what you eat before, during, and after drinking.
It also depends on your individual metabolism and how quickly your body can process alcohol and fat.
Remember, your body has to process all of that alcohol BEFORE going back into Ketosis!
If you have managed to avoid your drunken carb cravings (Kebab Pizza anyone?!?) you should get back into Ketosis quickly. You may even be back into ketosis before you wake up!
Drinking plenty of water, eating good fats and fibre, and exercising, will all speed up this process.
If you want to drink alcohol while in ketosis safely, follow our tips and tricks in this keto and alcohol tolerance guide:
Know your limits: Before you head to the bar, know how much you can handle while drinking on keto and stick to it! Don’t drink as much as you did before keto, as your tolerance may have changed.
Choose your drinks carefully: Follow our 'Is it keto' guide below, and make sure to only choose drinks that will enable you to stay in ketosis. And no sugary mixers!
Eat well BEFORE you drink: Eat a balanced meal before you drink alcohol, preferably one that contains protein, healthy fats, and fiber. This can help slow down the absorption of alcohol and prevent blood sugar spikes and crashes. Watch out for those pesky carb cravings!
Drink water, and plenty of it: Drink plenty of water before, during, and after drinking alcohol to stay hydrated and prevent hangovers. Alcohol is a diuretic that makes you urinate more frequently and can also cause you to sweat more, losing fluids through your skin.
Supplement wisely: Take some supplements that can help replenish your electrolytes and support your liver function while drinking alcohol. Electrolytes are minerals that help regulate your fluid balance, nerve impulses, muscle contractions, and heart rhythm. You can get them from food sources or from supplements such as salt tablets or keto-friendly sports drinks, but be careful not to consume sugary sports drinks. Some other supplements that can help protect your liver are Milk thistle, vitamin C, and vitamin E.
To help you choose the best drinks for keto, we’ve created this Ultimate Keto Alcohol Guide. This guide lists the most common types of alcohol and their carb and calorie content per serving. It also gives you some tips on how to drink them on keto safely.
Please note that this guide is based on average values and may vary depending on the brand, variety, and serving size of the drink.
Always check the nutrition labels or use an app to track the calories and carbs from alcohol. And drink responsibly!
Ah Beer… The world's favourite tipple!
The love for beer around the world is undeniable, we've been drinking it for 15 thousand years!
Yet if we are being real honest here, it's really not the best choice for those on a keto diet.
Sorry Beer Lovers!
The reason? Beer is a concoction of fermented grains such as barley, wheat, or corn, which are rich in starch and sugars.
Basically, Beer is a sugar load for your system! Some in the keto space refer to it as liquid bread.
The good news is, not all beers are the same. Depending on the type, brewing process, and alcohol content, some beers may be lower in carbs than others.
A 330ml serving of each type of beer would have approximately:
So, if you're aiming to mix keto and beer, it's safer to go for light beers or ales, rather than regular beers or lagers.
But honestly, we would recommend you go for something else altogether over beer. It just isn't keto!
But remember that you will have to limit your intake to one or two servings per occasion. If you struggle to control your urges when tipsy, you could be in trouble when you finish your second serving!
Luckily, more options are now available…
Low-carb beers are becoming more popular as brewers try to keep up with people experimenting with new diets and lifestyles.
To be honest, we’re not sure you’ll find these in many places at the moment, especially local pubs and bars. But you may be in luck when shopping at major supermarkets. Here are some of our favourites if you can find them:
Michelob Ultra: Carbs: 2.6g Calories: 95 ABV: 4.2%
Bud Light: Carbs: 6.6g Calories: 110 ABV: 4.2%
Coors Light: Carbs: 5g Calories: 102 ABV: 4.2%
Corona Premier:Carbs: 2.6g Calories: 9 ABV: 4.0%
Beck's Premier Light:Carbs: 3.9g Calories: 64 ABV: 2.3%
Skinny Brands Lager:Carbs: 3g Calories: 89 ABV: 4.0%
Cider is another favourite that we get questions about all the time!
A blend of fermented apple or other fruit juices, Cider holds a cherished spot in many people's hearts, particularly during the summer months here in the U.K.
This versatile drink can be sweet or dry, still or sparkling, clear or cloudy. But when it comes to the keto diet, is cider a friend or foe? Unfortunately for the Cider lovers reading this, it's more of a foe!
Cider and keto just doesn't mix, primarily due to the high sugar and carb content derived from the fruit which Cider is pulled from.
There are ciders out there with lower sugar and carb content, but still not at a level we could call keto. Dry and clear ciders usually contain fewer sugars and carbs compared to their sweet and cloudy counterparts.
However, remember that even these variants carry some sugars and carbs, so moderation is crucial.
A 330ml serving of sweet cider carries around 25 grams of carbs and 200 calories. The same serving of dry cider contains about 10 grams of carbs and 140 calories.
But realistically, it isn't going to work. Cider and The Keto Diet just don't go together!
So, if you're a cider lover looking to enjoy it while on keto, you might be able to get away with having MAYBE ONE small glass of dry Cider while maintaining ketosis. It might be worth swapping to other types of alcohol if you want success on keto...
Can you indulge in the delightful experience of sipping wine on a ketogenic diet without derailing your weight loss journey?
The answer is a resounding 'yes'!!!
Although it is important to keep a few important things in mind before popping a cork...
The total sugar and carb content in wine is impacted by several factors, including the type of grape used, the fermentation process, and the duration and method of aging.
Dry wines, regardless of their color, typically have a lower sugar and carb content compared to their sweet counterparts.
Generally, white wines tend to contain fewer sugars and carbs than red wines.
However, even the driest of wines still retain a small amount of sugar and carbs, which underscores the importance of conscious consumption.
Champagne and sparkling white wine in general are Keto!
Champagne is produced exclusively in the Champagne region of France, using strict traditional methods. The sugar content in champagne varies, with 'Extra Brut' having the least, making it a perfect choice for Keto followers!
Prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine, usually contains around 3-4 grams of carbs per serving, making it another excellent choice for those following a ketogenic diet. But remember to take your time! Champagne and Prosecco can leave you feeling tipsy very quickly! And even quicker on keto!
If you're keen to incorporate a little wine into your ketogenic lifestyle, without sabotaging weight loss, consider the following strategies:
Dry over Sweet: Opt for dry wines as they contain less sugar and carbs compared to sweet wines.
White over Red: White wines usually contain fewer carbs and sugars than red wines.
Controlled Portion Size: Limit your intake to one or two 150-ml glasses per occasion. Maybe 3... or 4 ;)
Count the Macros: Include the calories and carbs from the wine into your daily macros and adjust your food intake accordingly. Low-carb doesn't mean the calories won't add up!
Here are some of the best wines to enjoy while living the Keto lifestyle:
Champagne (Brut Nature)
Carbs: Less than 1 gram per 150ml glass Calories: Around 90 per 150ml glass ABV: 12%
Carbs: Around 3 grams per 150ml glass Calories: Around 120 per 150ml glass ABV: 11%
Cabernet Sauvignon (Dry)
Carbs: Around 3.8 grams per 150ml glass Calories: Around 120 per 150ml glass ABV: 13.5%
Carbs: Around 3.7 grams per 150ml glass Calories: Around 122 per 150ml glass ABV: 13.5%
Pinot Noir (Dry)
Carbs: Around 3.4 grams per 150ml glass Calories: Around 121 per 150ml glass ABV: 13%
Carbs: Around 3.2 grams per 150ml glass Calories: Around 123 per 150ml glass ABV: 13.5%
Pinot Grigio (Dry)
Carbs: Around 3.2 grams per 150ml glass Calories: Around 122 per 150ml glass ABV: 12.5%
Sauvignon Blanc (Dry)
Carbs: Around 3 grams per 150ml glass Calories: Around 120 per 150ml glass ABV: 13%
When we talk about spirits or hard liquor, we're referring to distilled spirits like vodka, rum, tequila, whiskey, brandy, and gin.
These drinks are often favored by those who appreciate a potent tipple. But, for those following a ketogenic diet, the question arises: Can spirits work in a keto lifestyle?
The answer will make the Vodka and Whisky drinkers out there smile!
If you’re a straight-up person then great… spirits over ice can often mean zero carbs!. This makes them a seemingly natural fit for a diet that promotes low-carb, high-fat food and beverage choices.
However, as with many dietary choices, the devil is in the details, and its easy to get things wrong!
Whisky is a distilled spirit that is made from fermented grain mash. It has a smoky and woody flavor that can vary depending on the type and brand of whisky.
Whisky drinkers rejoice! It typically has zero carbs per serving!
Be aware that some brands may have added sugar or flavorings that increase the carb content. Check the label before buying!
Rum, recognized worldwide for its distinctive sweet and spicy flavor profile, is also surprisingly zero carbs. The spectrum of flavors it offers can fluctuate significantly based on both the aging process and the geographical origin of the spirit.
Brandy is a distilled spirit made from fermented fruit juice, usually grapes. It has a smooth and fruity flavor that can vary depending on the aging process and the type of fruit used. Brandy typically has zero carbs like the other spirits on this list, but be aware of mixers adding unwanted sugars!
The old favourite of Keto Followers!
Vodka is a distilled spirit that is made from fermented potatoes, grains, or fruits. It has a clear and neutral flavor that can vary depending on the type and brand of vodka. Vodka has zero carbs per serving!
Gin is also a big favourite of keto followers being zero carbs. Gin is a distilled spirit that is flavored with juniper berries and other botanicals. It has a dry and herbal flavor that can vary depending on the type and brand of gin. Be aware of flavoured varieties!
Tequila is a type of mezcal that is made from blue agave plants. Mezcal is a distilled spirit that is made from agave plants. It has a smoky and earthy flavor that can vary depending on the type and brand of mezcal.
Tequila has a smooth and sweet flavor that can vary depending on the type and brand of tequila. Tequila also has zero carbs per serving, but some brands may have added sugar or flavorings that increase the carb content. Check the label before buying or drinking tequila.
To summarize, spirits can indeed be a keto-friendly choice of alcohol, provided that it's free of added sugars, consumed in moderation, and paired with the right mixers.
Whiskey, Vodka, Brandy, Gin, Tequila and Rum have the green light… but stay clear of the sweet liquor syrups and full sugar mixers!
When it comes to mixers, it's important to choose low-carb options that won't spike your blood sugar.
Diet Coke and other brands are OK on Keto, and won't kick you out of Ketosis. However, these brands are loaded with artificial sweeteners and ingredients that we wouldn't recommend to anyone trying to keep their diet 'clean'.
Here are some of our favourite keto-friendly mixers:
Soda water: This mixer contains zero carbs and can be used to dilute spirits.
Diet tonic water: This mixer contains zero carbs and can be used to make a delicious gin and tonic. Watch out for the artificial sweeteners however.
Lemon or lime juice: These citrus juices contain just a few carbs per serving and can be used to add flavour to your drinks.
Overall, there are a few keto-friendly mixers to choose from. Soda Water, lime, or lemon juice are all good to go… and if you’re into dirty Martinis apparently pickle juice may be your thing… The jury’s out for us on that one...
As you see there are plenty of keto-friendly choices of alcohol that are available for every occasion. And if you are forced to stick to Champagne for the night... Ah well, that’s just how the keto cookie crumbles!