If you recently started or are considering starting a Keto diet then you are most probably in the process of learning about what you can and cannot eat, what is permissible and what you must absolutely stay away from. Although diets are not solely about food, what about drink? If you are like me and enjoy the occasional drink or two then you are probably thinking, “Can you drink alcohol on a keto diet”? and “Alcohol causes weight gain doesn’t it?
This is true to a certain extent otherwise the phrase “beer belly” wouldn’t be in existence. The main objective of a Keto diet is to keep your carbohydrate intake at a very low level in order to put your body into the state of ketosis thus ensuring that you burn fat as a fuel source as a pose to glucose which generated by consuming a high carbohydrate diet. Depending on how strict you are with counting carbs will determine your approach to alcohol and whether it is worth including it or not.
However, it is not all doom and gloom. If you do enjoy a drink or two then there is some good news on the horizon. You can, in moderation, still enjoy alcohol from time to time and particularly if you are following a less strict low carb diet then you can afford to be a little more conservative. Hopefully my good, bad and ugly guide to alcohol and the keto diet below will help to point you in the right direction when it comes to making the right choices.
The following alcoholic beverages are considered to be acceptable for consumption due to the fact that the have little or no sugar/carb content. This category should be suitable for anyone following the strict Keto diet.
- Whiskey (0 carbs)
- Gin (0 carbs)
- Vodka (0 carbs)
- Brandy (0 carbs)
- Champagne (1 carb per glass)
- Dry White or Red Wine (1-2 carbs per glass)
- Irish Coffee (2g carbs)
Be careful not to add your favourite mixer to your spirits otherwise you will increase the carb content significantly. One good solution would be to use soda water (0g carbs) or slimline tonic (0g carbs) as an alternative. With wine really stick to the dry wines, try to avoid boxed wines as they tend to have additional sugar content for preservation.
The Bad category is probably more “middle of the road” than really bad. Generally if you have achieved your weight loss goals and you are more of a weight maintenance mode where you able to slightly increase the carb intake from time to time without any significant impact then you should be OK with these drinks.
- Light Beer (between 3 & 5 carbs per 33cl bottle) (eg: Coors Lite, Michelob Light, Bud Light)
- Port Wine (6 carbs per glass)
- Light Cocktails (3g to 7g per serving) (eg: Manhattan, Cosmopolitan, Vodka/Martini, Bloody Mary)
With this category you will have to experiment a little to find a balance. Obviously it is different strokes for different folks as some people are able to deal with higher carb content than others but to be on the safe side I would recommend to keep with the drinks from the Good category just to be sure.
You should stay away from these drinks completely, sorry real ale drinkers and cocktail fans, but you will surely stall or reverse any of the good work you have achieved if you consume any of these drinks. The main problem here is that these drinks have a LOT of sugar and we know that sugar = carbs.
- Stout (13g to 14g carbs per 33cl bottle) (Guinness, Murphys)
- Brown Ale (13 carbs per 33cl bottle)
- Draught Bitter (13g carbs per pint)
- Bottled lager (9g to 16g per 33cl bottle) (eg: Bud, Becks, Corona, Stella)
- Dry Cider (13g to 14g per 33cl bottle) (eg: Strongbow, Magners)
- Alcopos (30g to 40g carbs per 33cl bottle) (eg: Smirnoff Ice, Bacardi Breezer, WKD etc.)
- Cocktails (20g to 30g carbs per average serving (eg: Pina Colada, Margarita, Tequila Sunrise)
- Mixers (30g to 40g per average serving) (eg: Rum & Coke, Vodka & Orange, Vodka Red Bull)
- Honey Wine (40g+ per glass) (eg: Mead)
For me this category is a nightmare. I really enjoy dark beers such as Guinness and have to really limit myself to having one in every blue moon as a reward. Unfortunately they don’t come with a lighter lower carb alternative and to be honest even if they did I can’t image it would flavour would be of the same quality.
Something to take with You
So, can you drink alcohol on a keto diet?
The answer to that is yes but you need to understand what you should and should not consider. I hope that this post has provided you with some guidance on how to approach the whole alcohol angle. At the end of the day it is all about commitment and if you want to achieve your weight goals you will need to make sacrifices in certain areas. One significant thing to consider however, is that your tolerance for alcohol will be much lower on a low carb or keto diet than previously, therefore you should approach your alcohol intake with care. Your bodys’ ability to absorb alcohol will be less effective and you will start to feel the effects much quicker.
It is also worth noting that alcohol can increase cravings so the more you drink the higher risk that you will start to get the “munchies” and therefore potentially add to your overall food intake. If you reach a plateau in your weight loss journey then cut it out altogether as it could be holding you back. You can always introduce it slowly later once you have reached your goals.
I would love to hear about your experiences with alcohol and the low carb or keto diet so please leave a comment below and similarly if you have any questions I’d be happy to answer them and I will leave you with this:
Enjoy the Good (in moderation), dabble a little with the Bad but avoid the Ugly at all costs