It’s been a while since my crazy student days of drinking way much more than I ever should have. But with that being said, I do still like to have a drink or two at a special occasion. When I started eating keto, I just assumed that booze in any form was off the menu and cut it out for the first few months.
Honestly, I didn’t miss it at all, but I started thinking that I would like to be able to have a drink now and then so I did some research on how much alcohol affects you when you are eating keto and whether it knocks you out of ketosis.
I probably don’t have to say this, but I’m going to anyway – this is not medical advice, and clearly no alcohol is the healthiest way to go. And if you’ve got any physical or mental conditions that may prohibit you from drinking alcohol, please follow the advice of your health care provider!
So now that we’ve got that out of the way, in answer to the question “Can I drink alcohol while following a ketogenic diet?”, the answer is yes!
Here’s what you need to bear in mind.
- Different types of alcohol have different levels of carbs. You will only be able to drink the low carb/no carb varieties if you want to stay in ketosis.
- Zero carb does still have calories!
- Your body will burn your alcohol calories before it burns any other calories, so although you won’t necessarily kick yourself out of ketosis, you will stop burning fat while there are alcoholic calories available. So you are effectively postponing fat loss when you drink alcohol.
- If you are not yet keto-adapted (this can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months), I believe the best option is just to avoid alcohol altogether – but this is a personal choice.
- Being in ketosis lowers your alcohol tolerance levels – you will not be able to drink as much as you used to without going a bit silly!
Zero Carb Alcohol
You can drink these with some soda water or sparkling water and a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime. Some people will have diet Coke or Pepsi, but I stay away from those kinds of drinks.
Low Carb Alcohol
Small glass of red wine – approx 3-4g of carbs
Small glass of white wine – approx 3.5-5.5g of carbs
Small glass of sparkling white wine/champagne – approx 1.5g of carbs
‘Light Beers’ will often have less than 5g of carbs per bottle.
These are the drinks you can have ‘one’ of at a special occasion. Make you sure you add the carbs to your daily carb count if you’re tracking macros closely.
Alcoholic and Other Drinks to Avoid When on Keto
Sweet wines such as sherry, port, and dessert wines.
Mixers with sugar.
Flavoured alcohol (no alco-pops!)
My favourite is some ice-cold vodka, sparkling water and fresh lime. Perfect for sipping and joining in the fun!
One final word of advice, though – be prepared for any alcoholic induced munchies! You don’t want to be reaching for a bag of crisps or heading to the chip shop after carefully watching the carb count of your beverages through the evening.
Have something you can munch on straight away when you get home, or even make some keto friendly crackers and keep them in your bag.
And of course, don’t’ forget to drink plenty of water. 🙂