Best Alcoholic Beverages on a Keto Diet

Best Alcoholic Beverages on a Keto Diet

Best Alcoholic Beverages on a Keto Diet

For many people on the ketogenic diet, enjoying a glass of wine or a few beers with some friends might have been a regular part of our past social lives. The 10-15 grams of carbohydrates in a normal bottle of beer, however, will obviously take up a notable portion of your carbohydrate “budget”, especially if drinking a few beers, and this may frustrate your low-carb dietary goals. Fortunately, there are certain types of alcohol that are compatible with a keto diet. Below, we offer a complete rundown of some of the challenges with alcohol consumption that should be considered while on a keto diet, and some of the best alcoholic beverages for people on a keto diet.


Challenges of Alcohol on the Keto Diet

Before looking at the exact carbohydrate content of certain types of alcoholic beverages, it’s important to understand that drinking any type of alcohol comes with a special set of challenges for people on a low carb diet.

Firstly, it is important to recognize that drinking alcohol will have a fairly complex effect on ketosis, which we discuss here. Although alcohol consumption will not kick anyone out of ketosis, consumption will have a strong effect on the metabolic processes that occur within the liver, which can easily become negative at moderate to high doses. Essentially, alcohol consumption may generate ketones and actually increase their concentration (which may initially seem like a good thing), but this will also halt the process of converting fatty acids and amino acids into glucose, which can cause hypoglycemia, and high consumption of alcohol may actually increase ketone levels in the blood to undesirably high levels.

Thus, despite some sources raving that alcohol can produce ketones, it will not yield any large benefits given that the process of gluconeogenesis will be negatively affected, it will lower the pH of the blood (making it more acidic) when consumed in high amounts, and because alcohol itself contains kilocalories which will surely cause weight gain with excessive consumption. Furthermore, alcohol is highly toxic to the liver at moderate to high doses and impairs motor function. Using alcohol to “boost” ketone production, then, is certainly not a safe course of action.

Another consideration is that some people on the keto diet might also experience more intense hangovers after drinking. If you used to be able to drink several beers or glasses of wine with limited hangover effects, it is important to recognize that the keto diet can change your alcohol tolerance levels. As your liver is involved in metabolizing the ethanol from alcohol, as mentioned above, it will not be making any glucose through gluconeogenesis. This can lower blood glucose levels, and severe hangovers can result due to hypoglycemia. Dehydration and electrolyte imbalances also worsen the sensation of hangovers. Thus, when drinking alcohol on keto, it is always a good idea to stay hydrated. As a general rule of thumb, drink one glass of water for each shot or glass of alcohol you drink.


What are the Best Alcoholic Beverages on a Keto Diet?

When you think about what alcohol is originally made from, it is easy to understand why some types of alcohol have high carb content. Beer is made from barley and other grains. Wine is made from pure fruit juice. And hard liquors are made from potatoes, wheat, corn, and other types of high-carb grains. Despite the origin of the ingredients, the distillation process for hard liquor turns the sugars, carbs, and glucose into ethyl alcohol. While the fermentation process associated with making beer and wine does the same thing, many of the sugars remain once fermentation ends.

Therefore, wine and beer products will almost always have higher carbohydrate content than pure forms of alcohol such as vodka, rum, gin, tequila, and whiskey. In fact, when unsweetened, unflavored, and without any other additives, liquor will have 0 grams of carbs. Liqueurs, which are sweetened spirits with various flavors, oils, and extracts added, will have a higher carb content due to the added sweeteners.

Straight shots of hard liquor such as whiskey, rum, vodka, gin, and tequila are thus the best types of alcohol for people who want to enjoy a night out with friends with adding to their daily carbohydrate intake. We understand, however, that not everyone has the stomach and palate to enjoy a straight shot of whiskey on the rocks. For that reason, below we offer some advice on the best low carb alternatives for beer, wine, and flavored shots.


The Best Beer Options for People on a Keto Diet

A typical, 12-ounce bottle of Budweiser will have 145 calories, 10.6 grams of carbs, and 1.3 grams of protein. Other types of regular beer are comparable. Light beers will offer slightly lower carb levels, with a 12-ounce Bud Light offering 6.6 carbs and a Miller Light slightly lower at 3.2 carbs. If you´re trying to stay between 20 and 30 grams of net carbs per day, even two light beers will put you at about half of your total carb intake.

Fortunately, there are some extremely low carb beers that are starting to hit the market, tailored specifically toward people on low-carb diets. Budweiser Select, for example only has 55 calories and 1.9 grams of carbs per 12-ounce serving. 1.9g carbs (per 12-ounce serving). Even more impressive in terms of calories and carbs is Greens Trailblazer. This pale lager brewed in the UK is both gluten and wheat-free, and only has 0.5 grams of carbs per bottle. Other low carb beers on the market include:

  • Corona Premier: 2.6 grams of carbs and 90 calories per bottle
  • Labatt Premier: 2.4 grams of carbs and 92 calories per bottle
  • Michelob Ultra: 2.6 grams of carbs and 95 calories per bottle

In general, a couple of light beers during a night out with friends will probably be okay on the Keto Diet, though if you are serious about staying in Ketosis you will want to make sure that your carb intake from other foods is limited throughout the rest of the day.


The Best Wine Options for People on a Keto Diet

For wine lovers, it should be obvious that dry wines generally have a much lower carb content than sweet wines or dessert wines. A glass of dry Pinot Noir, for example, will only have an average of 3.4 grams per glass, while sweet wines like a Port will have at least double that amount. When it comes to white wines, sparkling white wines will generally have the lowest carb content, with a white Spanish Cava wine having an average of two grams of carbs per serving.

For wine lovers looking for a wider variety of low-carb wines, SkinnyGirl Wines has a wide collection of both red and white wines. Their SkinnyGirl Prosecco, for example, boasts just two grams of carbs per serving while their Pinot Grigio has just four carbs per serving.


The Best Low-Carb Mixers for Spirits for People on the Keto Diet

While most mixed drinks rely on a heavy dose of sugar in fruit juice, there are several ways to enjoy a cocktail without loading up on carbs. For example, a margarita made from lime juice, orange extract, and your favorite sugar substitute is a great way to accompany your low-carb roasted cauliflower tacos. Try a low-carb mojito by simply adding a lime, some fresh mint leaves, and some stevia. If you don’t want to play bartender and create your own mixes, Baja Bob´s Mixes offers a wide variety of 100 percent sugar-free cocktail mixes, many of which have zero carbs per serving, making them easily some of the best alcoholic beverages on a keto diet.


The Final Word on the Best Alcoholic Beverages on a Keto Diet

Maintaining a healthy and active social life is an important part of holistic mental health. When just beginning a new diet, helpful and encouraging friendships can play a major role in keeping you motivated and revived during the initial ups and downs that come with any major lifestyle change.

In fact, a recent study by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill suggests that people who enjoy supportive relationships may also enjoy better health. The study found a positive correlation between active social lives and lower blood pressure, smaller waist circumference and body mass index, and lower levels of inflammation.

Anyone who has attempted to strictly adhere to a rigorous diet, however, knows that our dietary choices can at times lead to difficulties in our social lives. Having to leave a dinner party early because the pizza and chicken wings served at the dinner were incompatible with your dietary goals can be frustrating. Furthermore, people on certain strict diets might fear that their nutritional choices come across as judgmental or hypercritical to certain friendships.

But, enjoying a healthy social life is an essential part of successfully making the transition to a low-carb, keto lifestyle. If enjoying a few drinks with friends on the weekends is a way to help you unwind and stay connected with your social group, the suggestions above show that enjoying a bit of alcohol doesn’t have to kick you out of ketosis.  As a general rule of thumb, stay away from sweet wines, regular beer, and sugar-infused cocktails. Straight shots of pure liquor will always be carb-free. Certain types of wine, beer, and cocktails can also have extremely low-carb content, allowing you to enjoy alcohol in moderation while still maintaining your nutritional goals.



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