If you’re on the keto diet, then chances are you’ve been wondering if you can drink alcohol on Keto.
The answer to this question can vary depending on who you ask!
In this article we will discuss what alcohols are healthy on a keto diet and which ones aren’t and how you can incorporate alcohol into your Keto diet.
We’ll also talk about how drinking affects weight loss and whether or not it’s possible to drink alcohol while still remaining in ketosis.
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Will Alcohol Kick Me Out of Ketosis?
Alcohol on its own does not kick you out of ketosis.
Alcohol is metabolized by the liver and the liver has a pathway to convert alcohol into energy.
If anything, the ketogenic diet might have a slight advantage when drinking because there’s less glucose available in your system – but that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to burn fat while you are drinking alcohol.
One thing to be aware of is that you will often get drunker quicker while on Keto, and sometimes the hangovers are worse as well!
Different alcohols have different carb levels, so some alcohol will have an effect on being in ketosis.
Knowing which alcohol to have on Keto is important to ensure you don’t get kicked out of ketosis.
What alcohol is lowest in carbs?
The carb count in alcohol differs greatly depending on what you are drinking.
- Alcohol with a high percentage of carbs include:
- Beer – around 13-24g per pint (depending on the type)
- Wine – 12g per glass (red or white)
- Champagne/sparkling wines – up to 30g in one glass!
Low carbohydrate alcohol options include :
- Dry white wines – around 0.75g of carbs per glass (white or red)
- Spirits like vodka, whisky and tequila with zero carbs!
- Keto specific wines, like those from Keto Wines Co
Alcohol isn’t necessarily bad for you.
Alcohol is actually recommended in moderation by many health experts and doctors because moderate consumption has been shown to be beneficial for your health overall!
That being said, there are some pitfalls to drinking alcohol on Keto that you should be aware of so you can make an informed decision on whether to drink alcohol on Keto.
What are the health benefits of drinking alcohol?
Alcohol isn’t 100% all bad news.
Drinking a moderate amount of alcohol has been shown to be beneficial because it can protect your heart, lower risk of diabetes and reduce the effects of ageing on skin (source)
Some other health benefits of drinking alcohol are that it may reduce your risk of cognitive decline and memory loss. (source)
These health benefits have been hotly debated recently though, and we all know pregnant and breastfeeding women shouldn’t drink alcohol.
The difficult part is knowing how much alcohol is healthy to drink on keto.
What is a healthy amount of alcohol to drink on Keto?
It’s hard to say what the healthiest amount of alcohol is on keto because there are still so many unknowns when it comes to drinking.
The medical definition of a healthy amount of alcohol is to drink no more than 14 units a week, so we’ll use that as our benchmark. A unit of alcohol is the equivalent of:
- One small glass (125ml) of red, white or rose wine.
- Half a pint of low strength beer/lager.
- Two shots (25 ml) standard spirits like vodka and whisky etc
The World Health Organisation recommends drinking no more than 15g of alcohol per day on keto (that’s around one standard drink).
Already you can see there is conflicting advice: 15 grams of alcohol per day would be 7 drinks over the week. Which is half of the 14 units per week recommendation from the medical definition, so there is conflict here.
Integrating alcohol into your keto diet is about finding balance between what you gain from it, and what it costs you overall.
Alcohol may provide some health benefits but will take a negative toll on your weight loss efforts so understanding the pros and cons, and making an informed choice is the key to finding this balance.
The Negative Effects of Alcohol on Keto
So we’ve established some boundaries for a moderate amount of alcohol, but what are the negative effects of alcohol on Keto? Alcohol
- Calories: Alcohol contains quite a lot of calories (around seven calories per gram), which can add up quickly if you’re drinking every day or even once or twice a week. If you’re watching your calories, do you really want to have a nutritionally deficit drink like vodka, or use those calories to improve your overall health?
- Blood Glucose: Alcohol spikes your blood glucose levels, which means it can prevent your body from using insulin efficiently. Alcohol also messes with blood sugar levels and is an easily accessible source of carbs for your body so definitely avoid drinking if you’re borderline diabetic or pre-diabetic, as it will only make those symptoms worse!
- Fatigue: You may already be feeling a bit tired if you’ve just started Keto. Alcohol may give you a temporary energy boost , but it will drain your energy and leave you feeling worse than when you started drinking.
- Mental Health Issues: Alcohol can exacerbate existing mental health issues and make them harder to deal with. Using alcohol as a coping mechanism is a common problem, and will only make your mental health worse in the long term. Alcohol can also cause hangovers which are usually characterized by headaches, nausea and feeling lethargic – all symptoms you don’t want to feel if you’re trying to lose weight!
- Sleep: Alcohol also affects sleep, so you may end up feeling worse in the morning when you’re trying to get back on track and stick to Keto! Alcohol affects sleep by preventing deep and REM sleep, which means you won’t feel as well-rested. Having a poor night’s sleep can also make you feel worse the next day, especially for those dealing with anxiety anyway. You feel the anxiety peak the next day, so you reach for another drink and the cycle continues.
- Weight loss: drinking alcohol slows down your weight loss by slowing down your metabolism. Alcohol is an easily accessible source of carbs so it will be a lot easier to eat extra food if you’re drinking, which can have a negative impact on weight loss efforts.
How Can I Drink on Keto In A Healthy Way?
Now we’ve covered some of the reported health benefits of drinking alcohol on Keto, and explained the negative effects on your Keto lifestyle.
The decision is yours, so if you decide to drink alcohol on Keto, here are some ways you can ensure it is not doing too much damage.
- Track Alcohol Intake: Tracking your alcohol intake can be a useful way of making sure that it doesn’t have too much of an impact on weight loss efforts. You can track your alcohol intake by using the My Fitness Pal food diary app. Alcohol is one of the easiest things to track, as it’s listed in every type of bar and restaurant around you!
- Alternate Alcohol Intake: if you do decide to drink alcohol on Keto, make sure you alternate between alcoholic drinks with water or unsweetened tea/coffee so that you ‘re not getting a big hit of carbs without any other nutrients. Alcohol also dehydrates you so it’s important to make sure that you’re staying hydrated with water too!
- Plan Ahead: If there is alcohol being served at an event or party, do some meal prep before attending and create your own keto-friendly alcoholic drinks using a low carb alcohol mix like Zero Alcohol . This will ensure you have a keto-friendly drink with no added sugars and keep track of your macros.
- Find other coping mechanisms: If you’re like many people who feel like they need a wine to relax or de-stress after a long day, it is easy to fall into the trap of having no other way to relax. You can try to swap alcohol out for healthy coping mechanisms such as yoga, meditation or even reading a book. Alcohol is not the only way to relax and de-stress!
- Don’t binge drink: Alcohol can also trigger emotional eating , so it’s important that you don’t overdo it if you’re trying not to gain weight . Keep your drinking in moderation with one or two drinks per night max.
- Set a limit to your consumption: If you choose to include alcohol on your keto diet, having a firm limit is important. Once we have 1 or 2 drinks our decision making is impaired, and it’s easy to continue drinking and dismiss the consequences until the next day. Setting a limit of say 2 drinks on a Friday night while socialising can be helpful, then switching to another delicious drink you enjoy.
- Is Alcohol Serving You? Ask yourself this question : Alcohol has been playing a part in your life for years. Are you drinking too much? Alcohol can be used to cope with stress and anxiety, but if it has become part of every social situation or the answer to all your problems then maybe its time to consider another coping mechanism.
- Don’t drink alone: Drinking alone has been shown to be more harmful than drinking with friends, but if you do choose to drink alone make sure you are safe and have zero access to alcohol the next day. Drinking alone also makes it harder to moderate ourselves, if no one can see how much we are drinking. If you choose to drink, make it a special occasion surrounded by supportive loved ones!
SAVE INFOGRAPHICS ABOUT DRINKING ALCOHOL THE HEALTHY WAY TO PINTEREST FOR LATER
Can I Drink Alcohol on Keto – Making The Right Choice For you
Like any lifestyle decision, if we want to be healthier we need to weigh up the pros and cons and make the right decision for us.
If you are relying on alcohol to numb feelings, escape your life or cope with stress, then maybe its time to consider other coping mechanisms.
Alcohol might not be serving you anymore and it’s important that we can make the right choice for us!
The decision of whether or not alcohol fits into your lifestyle is a personal one and only you know what works best for you so if in doubt, leave it out!
If you’re not sure what is best for you, I encourage you to have a break from alcohol while starting your Keto diet.
Cutting out alcohol AND carbs is a surefire way to speed up your progress, increase your energy and feel great about your achievements.
Nothing beats a fresh, sunny Sunday morning walk and it’s 100% better than nursing a hangover and eating burgers to help deal with your emotions.
Resources to help with alcohol dependency
If you feel like you may have some dependency on alcohol – which may not look like addiction, but perhaps emotional reliance, below are some resources that have helped me in these periods.
- Hello Sunday Morning – a great website, app and instagram page to help those trying to drink less. Very positive vibes celebrating the joys of drinking less and a wonderful community!
- Instagram accounts – I love filling my instagram accounts with motivating and inspiring posts (and some cute cats, of course). Choose some accounts to follow that inspire you and leave you feeling great.
- Annie Grace – Annie has books and podcasts on reducing alcohol and enjoying your life, post alcohol. Her book “This Naked Mind” really helped me understand the true cost of drinking regularly.
Lastly, remember you are not alone on this journey.
Alcohol is one of the biggest costs to our society and there are so many more people affected by this than you may think.
Alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug so please don’t feel like this is your fault – it is a product designed to get us hooked and rely on it, just like any other drug.
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Not sure how to start Keto?
Here’s some resources to help you!