Can I Drink Alcohol on Keto?

In short: Yes, you can enjoy alcohol in moderation on the keto diet – but there are guidelines that you will need to follow so that drinking doesn’t kick you out of ketosis! Drinking alcohol while you are on a keto diet may not stop your body from being in ketosis, but it will impact your weight-loss process.

The questions remaining include: How much can I drink while on keto? What are the best things to drink while on keto?

Limiting or avoiding alcohol intake is one of the hardest things about a keto diet for many people. However, some drinks are more keto-friendly. If you want to drink while on keto, you will have to choose lower-carb options as your primary choice as they allow your body to stay in ketosis for longer. Also, remember that the hangover will be a lot more brutal when your body is in ketosis, so choose the amount of alcohol you consume wisely. 

The body can continue to make ketones and remain in ketosis when you drink alcohol. However, the body processes alcohol first, and it will leave other nutrients, including fats you consume, to be processed later. Many people find that alcohol won’t erase their progress, but it will impact it.

What Am I Able to Drink?

Most keto dieters find a wine more keto-friendly than most beer, as wine contains quite a few fewer carbs than beer. If you wish to have alcohol on your keto diet, we recommend choosing lower in carbs. You will need to avoid over-the-top cocktails and choose low-carb options for your alcohol consumption. 

Generally speaking, liquor with 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof) or higher will have 0 grams of net carbs. Another low-carb choice, according to the USDA, is a serving of pinot noir, which has approximately 4 grams of net carbs. A 1.5 ounce pour of whiskey in diet soda will cost you less than 1 gram of carbs. 

Generally, you will become intoxicated faster following a strict keto diet, as you would if you ate a carb-heavy meal before drinking occasionally or socially. It is key to keeping your keto diet effective. Listen to your body and act accordingly. The issue will not generally be the calories you consume but how your body processes alcohol. That is a problem. 

How Does Alcohol & The Fat-Burning Process Work?

Keto will affect how your body processes alcohol, and that includes how you feel after you drink. Alcohol still has the same 7 calories per gram, and that doesn’t change. However, your body is now burning fat for energy and not carbohydrates. They are not readily available in your diet. Your liver now turns fat into energy units, which are called ketones. However, your body is now focusing on metabolizing alcohol and no longer processes the fats or produces any more ketones until the alcohol in the body is completely processed.  

When the body stops processing the fats in your liver until the alcohol is processed, your body will quit making ketones. However, this entire process stalls the weight and fat loss process as your body stops metabolizing body fat temporarily instead and turns to focus its attention on burning the alcohol you consumed.

What Is the Verdict on Thinking About a Keto Diet?

If you drink socially and occasionally, then drinking some alcohol will likely be OK. You will not completely derail or destroy your keto weight-loss process. Moreover, if you have already reached your weight loss goal and live a keto lifestyle, more frequent drinking of the appropriate kinds of low-to-no-carb alcohol will likely not result in weight gain.

It will ultimately come down to knowing your body and how your body will process alcohol. Everyone will be different, and understanding your body will help you make the decisions that suit your needs.

How Do I Build A Keto-Friendly Alcoholic Drink?

A tumbler of whiskey with ice on the corner of a wooden table with soft lighting in the background.
Whiskey, gin, rum, vodka, and other hard liquors are completely free of net carbs.

Building a keto-diet-friendly drink on keto can be made quite simple. If you drink straight shots of alcohol, choose hard liquors with zero net carbs, such as whiskey, gin, rum, vodka, and other hard liquors completely free of net carbs. Also, be sure to stick to the recommended size of a shot, which is about 1.5 ounces of alcohol. Overconsumption of alcohol can lead to extra calories that slow your weight loss, and regular drinking can make losing weight harder as alcohol is still full of empty calories.

To make a mixed drink that is keto-friendly, you can create a mixed drink by choosing the following;

Chose a Hard Liquor: 

  • Vodka
  • Rum
  • Tequila
  • Gin
  • Brandy
  • Whiskey

Sugar-Free Mixer:

  • Soda Water
  • Unsweetened Iced Tea
  • Diet Soda
  • Lemon/Lime Juice
  • Sugar-Free Energy Drinks

Beer Selections for Keto Dieters:

If you wish to drink beer, some great low-carb choices include the following beers, all for less than 125 calories and 3 grams (or less) of net carbs:

  • Prime Time Bridge Brewing Co. – 1.5 grams of net carbs and 110 calories in 12 oz. @ 1.5 % ABV 
  • Budweiser Select 55 Premium Light – 1.8 grams of net carbs and 55 calories in 12 oz. @ 2.4% ABV 
  • Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company Bright Tangerine Sparkling Ale – 2 grams of carbs and 90 calories in 12 oz. @ 4% ABV
  • Miller 64 Extra Light Lager – 2.4 grams of net carbs and 64 calories in 12 oz. @ 2.8% ABV 
  • Corona Premier – 2.6 grams of carbs and 90 calories in 12 oz. @ 4 % ABV
  • Michelob Ultra – 2.6 grams of net carbs and 95 calories in 12 oz. @ 4.2% ABV
  • Lagunita’s Day Time IPA – 3 grams of net carbs and 9 calories in 12 oz. @ 4% ABV

These beer picks to keep the flavor and texture that you love without being full of carbs that can knock you out of ketosis or ruin your diet. Be sure to account for any drinks you have and consume alcohol occasionally or moderately. 

Wine Selections for Keto Dieters:

The tops of several bottles of alcohol including beer, wine, liquor, and champagne.
You can enjoy alcohol in moderation on the keto diet.

The following are keto-friendly wine selections with the fewest net carbs we could find (carbs per 5-ounce glass):

  • Extra Brut Chnampagne: 1 gram (s)
  • Sauvignon Blanc:  3 grams
  • Pinot Giros/Grigio: 3 grams
  • Chardonnay: 3.2 grams
  • Pinot: 3.4 grams
  • Gamay: 3.5 grams
  • Cabernet Franc: 3.6 grams

Even if these wines are low in carbs, wine and alcohol should be saved for special and social occasions. There are no real sources of nutrients and can empty calories.

Conclusions:

Alcohol can have a place in keto, but it should be an occasional treat that you get to enjoy. Choosing low-carb options will help your body remain in ketosis. Occasional drinking is acceptable to most keto dieters. Still, if you are drinking daily, you are probably giving your body too many empty calories and hampering or at least slowing down your weight-loss efforts. 

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