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Can You Drink Alcohol on Keto?

Who said keto and alcohol don’t mix? It’s true that the ketogenic diet restricts carb intake but that doesn’t mean you need to stop socializing over a glass of wine or a gorgeous vodka martini.

Truth be told I rarely drink, however when I follow some simple rules I don’t have to fully abstain. 

Here’s what I have experienced with Alcohol on Keto while still maintaining my low carb lifestyle.

Does Alcohol Kick You Out of Ketosis??

This is a common question asked by keto dieters. The answer, like so many things in life, is it depends. If you drink alcohol in excess, it will certainly kick you out of ketosis.

It is important to note that sometimes it’s what you ADD TO alcoholic drinks (sugary syrups and fruit juices) that causes MORE problems. 

However, if you drink in moderation, the answer is no – alcohol does not kick you out of ketosis. In fact, some keto dieters report that they enjoy a drink or two on special occasions while still staying in ketosis.

Alcohol can’t be stored like carbohydrates, protein, or fat. Alcohol inhibits the metabolism of other calories because it can’t be stored.

As a result, until it is broken down, it prevents the metabolism of various types of calories from progressing. When alcohol is consumed in a keto diet, fat metabolism is stopped to allow the body to process alcohol.

Acetate, a by-product of alcohol metabolism, is used for energy by your body. If you drink alcohol while on keto, your body will switch to using acetate as an energy source rather than fat.

Even if the alcohol is not high in carbohydrates, it instead provides energy for the body to burn rather than fat, which slows down ketosis.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the odd drink. It’s all about moderation.

Alcohol Tolerance on Keto

You might get tipsy fast…so be aware of how much you drink. 

Alcohol tolerance may be reduced if you follow a ketosis diet. Carbs are stored in your body as glycogen, and there are very limited amounts of glycogen during ketosis. Low glycogen levels mean your body has a reduced ability to absorb alcohol.

Blood alcohol levels can be reduced by carbohydrates. Alcohol is processed more swiftly when you’re in ketosis since there are so few carbohydrates available for its metabolism.

Consequently, in nutritional ketosis, you have fewer glycogen stores and you’ll experience a lower alcohol tolerance.

And don’t forget the price you can pay the next day. The last thing you want to experience is a keto hangover!!

How to Enjoy a Guilt-Free Keto Drink

Let’s start with a baseline for alcoholic beverages.

Visit a pub and you’ll have a choice between cans, bottles, or draft beer. Draft beer is often served by the pint in either 16 or 20oz mugs.

Bars and restaurants serve wines by the glass usually in 5 or 8-ounce quantities. Spirits are usually measured in 1.5oz shots.

Faced with these choices, it’s best to know what constitutes the basic measurements of a standard drink.

Beer = 12 ounces of regular beer, normally 5% alcohol

Wine = 5 ounces, usually 12% alcohol

Spirits = 1.5 ounces, 40% alcohol

Keto Vodka

Using these baseline measurements gives you the tools to make the correct keto decisions when ordering or pouring your own.

If you want to conduct your own search, consult the USDA’s web portal where you can find the nutrient breakdown of virtually any food, including alcoholic beverages.

Beer

A 12oz glass of beer with a 5% alcohol content has 12.7 grams of carbohydrates and 155 calories.

That’s a lot of carbs so commonsense tells you that it’s best to avoid if you’re trying to stay in ketosis – the chances are you’ll probably have more than one and you’ll hit your daily carb max pretty fast.

If beer is your go-to, then definitely choose light beer or even the newly popular Low Carb Beers on the market. The carb count is dramatically better at 5.9g for 12oz….and some cases less.

Keto Beer

Wine and Champagne

I’m a wine lover so as a keto aficionado I just had to find wines that would keep me in keto while enjoying one of life’s pleasures.

That’s why I put together The Best Keto Wine – you can find low-carb wines (1-5 grams per 5oz glass) here with low residual sugar. Add some soda water for a refreshing wine spritzer.

I’ve done the research for you. Just keep the number of glasses to a minimum and alternate your glasses of wine with water to keep hydrated.

Red wine and White Wine

Spirits

Pure alcohol has zero carbs. But that doesn’t mean you can go overboard. 

Moderation is the key – remember that on keto, your alcohol tolerance tends to be much lower. If you like to drink your scotch or vodka straight up, then make sure you alternate with water for maintaining hydration.

Mixers should always be calorie-free sodas. Avoid sweet liqueurs, mixes, sugary syrups and fruit juices.

There is a huge range of keto-friendly cocktails and if you have a favorite, make sure you’re not adding anything that isn’t sugar-free. 

Keto Martini

The good news is that some of the most popular highballs are on the keto-friendly list!

Gin & Tonic = Gin + Diet Tonic Water + Fresh-squeezed Lime Juice

Scotch & Soda = You Guessed It: Scotch + Club Soda

Gin or Vodka Martini = Gin or Vodka + Dry Vermouth + Lemon garnish or 3 olives

Pickleback = Vodka + Pickle Juice

Enjoy Social Hours and Celebrations and Stay on the Keto Track

I know that following the ketogenic diet can be tough when you’re also trying to maintain your social life. That’s why I compiled these simple rules for enjoying your favorite cocktail while maintaining keto’s low-carb, high-fat protocol. 

Moderation and hydration are the keys to staying in ketosis. 

If you need help with creating a unique keto-friendly drink for a special occasion or if you’re having trouble finding low-carb substitutions for popular recipes, contact eat@thekelliekitchen.com.

I’m always here for you on your journey to a healthy lifestyle.

MEDICAL AND NUTRITION DISCLAIMER…Please note that I am not a medical or nutritional professional. I am simply recounting and sharing my own experiences on this blog. Nutritional break downs are done using a commercial nutrition calculator. Nothing I express here should be taken as medical advice and you should consult with your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program. I provide nutritional information for my recipes simply as a courtesy to my readers, this should never be construed as medical advice.

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