Written by Claire Sissons
The ketogenic, or keto, diet is a high fat, low carbohydrate diet that offers the potential benefit of losing weight while maintaining muscle.
Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. When a person consumes fewer food sources containing carbs, the liver breaks down fat reserves in the body into chemicals called ketones.
When the body uses these ketones for energy, the body goes into a state of ketosis, resulting in weight loss.
Most alcoholic beverages contain carbs, although some drinks contain a lot more than others. Choosing alcoholic drinks with fewer carbs can help a person remain within the daily limits of the keto diet.
This article looks at some keto-friendly alcoholic drinks. We also look at which drinks to avoid on account of their high sugar and carb content.
Can you drink on the keto diet?
Most keto diet plans recommend that people consume 20–50 grams (g) of carbs per day. Meals and drinks must fit within this daily allowance.
There is no one version of the keto diet. Some may recommend avoiding alcohol altogether due to its carb content.
Not all alcohol contains the same amount of carbs, however. Beer and drinks with a lot of sugar contain the highest amount, while spirits contain none.
Some people might choose to have an alcoholic drink if it fits within their daily allowance, while others may decide to avoid it altogether.
Another thing to remember is that the body may use energy from alcohol before using ketones from body fat. This could potentially limit the effect of the diet.
People following a keto diet to treat a medical condition, such as diabetes or epilepsy, should avoid alcohol.
Keto-friendly alcoholic drinks
The sections below list some keto-friendly choices for low carb alcoholic drinks.
Champagne and sparkling wine contain an average of 4.68 g of carbs per glass.
So, enjoying a small glass to celebrate a special event should fit within most keto diet plans.
Although most beer contains a lot of carbs, there are some lighter options. For example, a pale lager contains an average of 5.81 g of carbs per can.
Choose a light beer to stay within carb limits for the day.
Both red and white wine contain relatively few carbs. There are about 4.7 g in a standard glass.
Dry wines have the lowest sugar content.
Spirits — such as gin, whiskey, rum, and vodka — contain 0 g of carbs.
Mixers often contain carbs, so people following a keto diet may wish to choose a low sugar or diet option.
Club soda and sparkling water contain no carbs. Mixers that contain artificial sweeteners are some other low carb options.
Energy drinks, juice, cola, and lemonade are all high in carbohydrates, however.
Drinks to avoid
The sections below list some drinks that have a high sugar and carb content. People following a keto diet may wish to avoid these beverages.
An average 12 ounce can of beer contains 12.8 g of carbs.
A light beer is a better option for the keto diet.
A sugary cocktail may contain 46.67 g or more of carbs. This is almost the entire carb allowance for a day under the keto diet.
Flavored alcohols, such as peach schnapps, often contain a lot of sugar.
The fruit juice in a wine cooler can contain a lot of sugar. The average carb content in a glass of wine cooler is 13.6 g.
Diet cranberry juice is one fruit juice that contains less sugar, meaning fewer carbs.
Sangria usually contains wine, fruit juice, and a mixer, all of which contain carbs. A glass of sangria can contain up to 18.9 g of carbs.
The aim of the keto diet is for the body to be in a state of ketosis. Maintaining this state relies on following very specific dietary guidelines. If a person does not strictly follow these guidelines, the diet may not be effective.
Following the keto diet often requires a lot of willpower. Alcohol can affect decision making and could mean making the choice to eat or drink something that is not within the diet plan. A person may therefore choose to avoid alcohol if they think that it might cause them to break their diet.
If a person eats a meal containing a lot of carbs before drinking, it could reduce the effects of the alcohol. In contrast, those following a keto diet may feel drunk more quickly because they have not eaten carbs to absorb some of the alcohol.
Drinking alcohol carries some health risks. Guidance recommends drinking in moderation, which is up to two drinks per day for men and one for women.
For people following a keto diet, choose an alcoholic drink that is low in carbs to stay within the limits of the diet.
Beer and cocktails can contain a lot of carbs and may take the body out of ketosis. This can make the diet less effective. Wine and light beer are lower carb options. Spirits contain no carbs, but be sure to choose a low calorie mixer.
Remember that alcohol can affect judgment and willpower. Drinking can also have more of an effect on the body when a person is following a keto diet.