Answer – Yes, you can drink alcohol while on keto but you need to keep in mind two things:
- The number of carbohydrates in the drink.
- The total number of calories in the drink.
First, let’s discuss carbohydrates:
The production and utilization of ketones is what makes the keto diet unique and provides its purported health benefits.
Ketosis is achieved by limiting carbohydrate consumption in the diet – to typically around 5% of daily caloric intake. If someone following the keto diet consumes too many carbs, they risk “kicking” their body out of ketosis.
Alcoholic drinks can vary widely in their carbohydrate content – from virtually zero carbs for hard liquor to 20+ grams of carbs for some beers.
So, when considering drinking alcohol, the keto dieter will want to choose drinks that are low in carbohydrate content and avoid high-carb drinks.
This means sticking to more hard liquor, such as vodka, gin and whiskey, and avoiding high carb drinks, such as beer.
You’ll also want to be careful of using mixers with your drinks. While a base of hard liquor is low in carbs, adding a high carb mixer can dramatically increase the drink’s carbohydrate content.
Wine can also be consumed while following a keto diet, but the same caveats apply – be aware of the carb content. Typical wine carbohydrate content ranges from 2 to 3 grams per glass of white wine, to 4 or 5 grams for a glass of red.
Second, be aware of total calories in your alcoholic drinks:
That means, not only is total carbohydrate consumption important (to maintain ketosis) but so is total calorie consumption.
Taking in fewer calories than are utilized by the body, is the basic math of weight loss.
So, while certain alcoholic drinks may not negatively affect your state of ketosis, too many drinks may harm your weight loss efforts because of taking in excess calories.
As long as the calories in your drink fit within your daily caloric target, drinking alcohol shouldn’t negatively affect your diet.
Again, be aware of adding mixers to your drinks, as some of these can contain a significant amount of calories, which could derail your diet efforts.
If you want to learn more about consuming alcohol while on keto, click here for a comprehensive guide – with video – that goes into much more detail (and includes handy charts showing the carbohydrate and calorie content of many common drinks).