Can I drink alcohol on Keto? The ULTIMATE Keto Alcohol Guide here for you!

  • Date: September 8, 2021
  • Time to read: 8 min.

“Can I drink alcohol on keto?” is one of the top questions we always get asked. However, it’s an important one to answer before you start your diet. After all, one of the biggest perks of a keto diet is being able to have a few drinks every now and then. Before you start knocking back vodka oranges at the bar, there are a few things you should know; including how to avoid a hangover and stay in ketosis without 5P Plan!

Already eating a Keto diet?

If you are asking this question you are likely already eating a keto diet. If you are and you’re happy with what keto is, jump to the section below.

However, if you are doing research around the keto diet (and if you are, good on you!) you may want to check out this article, which will take you through everything you need to know in order to get started on a keto lifestyle.

However, to keep it simple, living a keto lifestyle means reducing your carb intake below 20 grams of carbs a day, in order to keep your body in a state known as ketosis and burning fat, instead of glucose (sugar) as fuel.

Alcohol can contain high levels of sugar, which can easily increase your blood glucose levels and knock you out of ketosis and undo all of the hard work you have done with your food diet.

Can I drink alcohol on Keto?

This really is a question that we get asked often, most people think that you cannot drink alcohol on a ketogenic diet, which can put people off this or a low-carb diet.

If you are eating a strict keto diet, alcohol is probably not on the menu, if you are eating a lazy or dirty keto diet, you will be pleased to know that you can drink alcohol on a keto, however, this needs to be done carefully, so as not to alter your ketone levels and knock you out of ketosis.

As always alcohol should be consumed safely and in moderation.  Before encouraging, or condoning you to drink let’s go through the pros and cons of drinking alcohol on keto so you can make your own informed decision on whether you should drink.

Why is alcohol bad on a keto diet?

Alcohol can be high in Carbs

In its simplest terms, alcohol is made when yeast ferments with the sugars in different food. This can make some alcohol very high in carbohydrates (carbs). You have to be very careful as any increase in glucose can impact keeping your body in ketosis and change your metabolic state.

Being in Ketosis can lower your alcohol tolerance levels

If you have been eating a low-carb or keto diet for a while and you have tried alcohol, you will probably have experienced that you have a lower alcohol tolerance.

Alcohol has Zero Nutritional Value

This probably does not come as a surprise to anybody, but alcohol does not have any nutritional value, it serves no purpose in fueling your body.

Alcohol can tempt you to ‘binge eat’

We’ve all been there, you’ve had a few drinks and you get the ‘munchies’ before you know it, you’re in a queue at the local takeaway, reaching for your phone for the local food delivery app, or you’re rummaging through the cupboards looking for something to eat.

The food that you normally reach for when you’ve had a drink is not keto-friendly, it is normally carb-laden.

This can soon derail your keto journey and lead to weight gain.

We’ve done lots of research with different types of alcohol, to see which have the highest and lowest carb content.

How many Carbs are there in Wine?

As wine is made from grapes, it is naturally going to contain sugars.

We have done a round-up for you of the main types of wine and the number of carbs per 125ml glass. Remember, this is only a small glass, so if you are drinking large glasses, the number of carbs in your wine will soon add up.

Check out the number of carbs in wine.

Carb Content in Red Wine

Red wine is a personal favorite of mine, hence why it’s first on the list!

Please remember that these numbers are only averages and each bottle may vary slightly.

Red WineCarb Content (125ml)
Cabernet Sauvignon3.8g
Merlot3.6g
Pinot Noir3.5g
Shiraz3.8g
Zinfandel3.8g

Carb Content in White Wine

White WineCarb Content (125ml)
Chardonnay3.1g
Moscato0.9g
Pinot Grigio3.0g
Sauvignon Blanc2.8g

Carb Content in Sweet White Wine / Dessert Wine

Sweet White WineCarb Content (125ml)
Moscato8.0g
Riesling 5.7g
White Zinfandel 5.0g

Carb Content in Rose Wine

Rose WineCarb Content (125ml)
Zinfandel2.9

As you can see, red or white wines on the drier spectrum are lower in carbs.  There is nothing to stop you have a glass of wine on keto but chose your wine carefully, being aware of how many grams of carbs are in the glass so as to not spike your blood sugar.

Dry Wines will have fewer carbs than sweet wine

How many Carbs are there in Beer?

There are numerous types of beers on the market these days, with more being added every day from new breweries. The carb content in beers can vary dramatically, so it’s always best to look up what you are drinking beforehand. By its nature, it’s higher in carbs than some other alcoholic drinks.

Light Beers are normally lower in carbs than other beers

‘Light’ beers are naturally lower in carbs, so if you’re determined to have a bottle of beer when you get home from work, or at your summer BBQ, opting for a ‘light’ beer may be the best option for you.

Here we’ve done a roundup of the lowest carb beers we can find on the market.

BeerCarb Content (330ml)
Amstel Light5.0g
Bud Light6.4g
Bud Select3.1g
Bud Select 551.9g
Busch Light3.2g
Coors Light5.0g
Corona Light5.0g
Heineken Light6.7g
Michelob Ultra2.6g
Michelob Ultra Amber3.6g
Miler 642.4g
Miller Lite3.2g

How many carbs are there in Spirits (Liquor)?

Pure forms of alcohol, like vodka, should be carb-free due to the distillation process that the alcohol has been through. However, be careful as the carb content will soon rise if you are drinking flavored spirits, such as raspberry vodka or rhubarb gin, as these are full of flavorings in the form of sugar.

SpiritCarb Content (50ml)
Brandy3.0g
Dark Rum0.0g
Gin0.0g
Rum0.0g
Spiced Rum0.5g
Tequila0.0g
Vodka0.0g
Whiskey/Bourbon0.3g

Hopefully, knowing the carb count of some of your favorite drinks will help you make a more informed decision as to whether you want to drink on keto, and if you do want to, what to drink.

Is Absinthe Keto Friendly? Green Absinthe in a bottle and glass

Are you an absinthe fiend?! One of our readers asked us whether absinthe is keto friendly, we hadn’t covered it in our list above, so we wrote an article, especially from them!

We’ll let you in on a secret, yes, absinthe is keto-friendly, but there are some things you need to know.

Check out the article for more info!

Low-Carb Mixers

If you are going to have a spirit, you may drink it on the rocks, however, if you are wanting a longer drink, you may want to add a mixer.

  • Keto-Friendly Mixers
  • Diet Tonic Water
  • Diet Soda Water
  • Diet Cola
  • Diet Lemonade
  • Any Diet Soda

Check the nutritional label to ensure that there are not any non-keto-friendly sugars and the number of grams of carbohydrates.

Fruit juices, such as orange or pineapple are full of sugar, so not appropriate to use as a low-carb mixer.

How many carbs are there in Cocktails?

This is not a question that can easily be answered. Cocktails vary in ingredients, from being soda-filled to heavy in carby fruit juices; each bartender will have their own ‘take’ on how to make a cocktail, so it is unlikely that any two will be the same.

To be safe, it is better to stay away from cocktails that you do not make at home or have full control over how they are made.

Check out some of our favorite keto cocktails.

How to avoid a Keto Hangover

Not only will your alcohol tolerance be reduced if you are eating a keto diet, but your hangover tolerance will also reduce! Please heed this warning from somebody who has been there.

Be warned that even if you have never suffered from hangovers in the past, you may suffer from severe keto hangovers.

The best way to avoid (or minimize) a keto hangover is to drink plenty of water. This may not sound any different to you than advice for a non-keto eater.

Here’s where it’s different;

1. Make sure you are well hydrated before you start drinking. If you know that you are going on a night out, make a concerted effort to ensure you are well hydrated during the day. Dehydration can intensify hangovers. Hydration is key to success on a keto diet as it is, when you are drinking, this is no different.

2. Try and drink a glass of water between each of your alcoholic drinks

3. Drink water after you have finished drinking.

Hydration is key to minimising the effects of a Keto Hangover

5P Plan for Enjoying Alcohol on Keto

In addition to picking the right drink or liquor, here are our top 5 tips to enjoying alcoholic drinks on a keto diet.

1. Plan Carbs – if you know you are going to drink on say the Saturday night, try and reduce your carb intake for the days prior, this may assist in reducing the blood glucose spike you may experience

2. Plan Alcohol  – Plan the drink that you are going to have, and how many you are going to have. That way you will know exactly how many carbs you are going to drink, and when you’re stood at the bar, you will not make a hasty decision and chose a high-carb drink.

3. Plan Water – your water intake, as discussed above, plan to be well hydrated before and during your drinking session

4. Plan Snacks – as we have discussed, you can soon be derailed if you get the munchies, take a snack out with you, or have something waiting at home (that is keto-friendly) in case you find yourself in this scenario.

5. Plan Recovery –  If you have had more than a couple of drinks, you may need a plan to get back into ketosis quickly in order to return to your levels of ketones pre-drinking. Check out our article for top tips on recovering from a ‘cheat day’ on keto.

Roundup: Can I drink Alcohol on the Keto Diet?

If you are not on a strict keto diet, yes, you can drink alcohol on keto. However, moderation is key; with moderate alcohol consumption, you will be able to enjoy some alcohol on a keto diet. Drinking on a regular basis is not recommended, for health reasons and to not derail your weight loss goals. If you are going to drink on keto, remember our 5P plan to minimize the impact on your keto lifestyle.

Do you drink on Keto? How does it affect your fat loss and weight loss goals? Do you have any top tips for staying in Ketosis or avoiding a keto hangover? Share your experience and tips with us all in the comments below.

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