Going on keto means giving up a lot of things. It’s notoriously restrictive, especially when it comes to delicious, tasty carbs. Bread, sugar, you name it. (Yes, even some fruit.) For anyone who enjoys cocktails or other adult beverages, sadly, this also includes alcohol. So …… Can you drink alcohol while on a keto diet? What is the lowest carb, most keto-friendly alcoholic beverage? Here’s everything you need to know.
Can You Have Alcohol on Keto?
While it’s clear that sweet mixed drinks and beer are full of sugars and carbohydrates that can immediately put you out of ketosis, straight liquor and dry wine can also cause problems for some people.
When it comes to drinking on a keto diet, you have to consider the process by which your body metabolizes alcohol and how this interferes with your body being in ketosis.
Your health and body are unique to you, so it’s important to understand that even if you drink a low-carb alcoholic beverage, you may not react the same way as the person across from you. Listen to your body and act accordingly.
Take a drink like vodka soda: It’s very low in calories and has even fewer grams of sugar. However, even though it uses alcohol without carbohydrates, it’s not the calories in this simple drink that may cause problems; it’s how the body processes the alcohol in the first place.
The Best Alcohols to Drink on Keto
Since not all alcoholic beverages are created equal when it comes to sugar content, there are definitely some better options if your goal is to stay in ketosis.
“Staying away from beer and sugary drinks is your best bet. Pure alcohol products such as rum, vodka, gin, tequila and whiskey are carbohydrate-free,” says Jonathan Valdez, RD, owner of Genki Nutrition and spokesperson for the New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Valdez explains that although spirits are made from natural sugars (grains, potatoes and fruits), during the fermentation and distillation process, these sugars are converted to ethanol rather than glucose.
Best Alcohols Recommended by Valdez:
- Tequila (69 calories, 0 g net carbs)
- Whiskey (70 calories, 0 g net carbs)
- Gin (73 calories, 0 g net carbs)
- Vodka/soda (64 calories, 0 g net carbs)
- Gin and slimline tonic (148 calories, 7.5g net carbs)
- Vodka martini (130 calories, 0 g net carbs)
- Rum (64 calories, 0 g net carbs)
- Red wine (125 calories, 3 g net carbs)
- White wine (120 calories, 3 g net carbs)
- Champagne or sparkling wine (90 calories, 2 g of net carbs)
But it’s not just the alcohol itself you should be paying attention to. Mixers can easily kick you out of ketosis.
According to Valdez, these are the best mixers to use if you’re on keto:
- Seltzer/club soda
- Sugar-free tonic water
- Diet soda
- Unsweetened ice tea
- Crystal Light drink mix
The Worst Alcoholic to Drink on Keto
“If someone is trying to stay ketogenic, high-sugar drinks are likely best avoided,” Tewksbury said.” This would include drinks mixed with fruit juice or regular soda, frozen drinks, most beers and wines, any cocktail with simple syrup added.”
What Else can I Drink on Keto?
Thankfully, there are still plenty of options for beverages you can enjoy and still remain in ketosis, which are really any low-to-no carb drinks, says Tewksbury, such as:
- Coffee (black or with heavy cream or MCT oil)
- Diet drinks
- Fruit-infused waters
- Unsweetened teas