Keto and Alcohol: The 40 Best and Worst Drinks for Ketosis

    
Emmie Satrazemis, RD, CSSD
Emmie Satrazemis, RD, CSSD

Is the occasional glass of wine or light beer enough to kick you out of ketosis and wreck havoc on your keto lifestyle? The answer might surprise you. When it comes to alcohol and dieting, there is a lot to consider. Here is everything you need to know about what your weekday happy hour is doing to your progress, along with the best and worst drinks to indulge with. 

Can You Drink Alcohol On Keto?

Yes, you can drink on a ketogenic diet and still see results, but there’s a catch. It depends on how much you drink and the types of alcohol you choose. 

Alcohol is technically the fourth macronutrient because it provides calories. In fact, alcohol contains nearly double the number of calories of protein and carbs - providing roughly seven calories for each gram consumed. 

This matters because calories still matter on keto. Especially if you are trying to lose weight. And because alcohol can pack a lot of calories on a single beverage, it can be easy to overdo it and slow your weight loss, or worse cause unintentional weight gain. Plus, unlike other macronutrients that provide various health and nutritional benefits, alcohol provides little to no nutritional value.    

Alcohol is also a toxin that is thought to mess with your normal metabolism (1). Some theories suggest that heavy drinking might interfere with the digestion, absorption, and body's ability to use certain nutrients. This may include the prioritization of breaking down and removing alcohol metabolites before anything else - including carbohydrates, fat, and protein from food (2,3,4,5).

Lastly, getting drunk can lead to poor decision making, including when it comes to your diet. After a few too many, you may not care how many carbs are in your food or how many calories you should be eating. 

Will Drinking Kick You Out of Ketosis?

Getting into ketosis and staying there is primarily driven by following a very low carb diet. So as long as you don’t go over your recommended daily net carb intake, the occasional drink likely won’t cause concern. 

Additionally, alcohol itself doesn’t mess with your body’s ability to produce ketones. In fact, the opposite may be true. Alcohol consumption has been associated with a decrease in blood sugar and an increase in ketone production in a few different studies (1,6,7). 

However, this absolutely does not mean you should drink a lot on keto to increase ketone levels. 

Excessive alcohol consumption can not only lead to serious health concerns but can also be deadly for diabetics because of its role increased ketone production, leading to alcoholic ketoacidosis (AKA).

It is also thought that being in ketosis can decrease alcohol tolerance. However, there is not much research to support this theory. 

For this and many other reasons, sound medical advice suggests that if you do choose to drink, to only do so in moderation and keep your intake below one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men (8). 

Bottom line, you are better off avoiding alcohol altogether. But If you do choose to drink occasionally, here are the best and worst types of alcohol for keto. 

Worst Alcoholic Drinks for Keto

High carb alcoholic drinks are the worst fit for your keto diet. These include mixed drinks made with fruit juices and sugary beverages, as well as certain beers, wine, and wine coolers. 

Here are some of the worst offenders. 

Liquors 

  • Aperol - 103 calories and 15 grams of carbs per shot (1.5 fl oz)
  • Bailey’s - 107 calories and 11 grams of carbs per shot (1 fl oz)
  • Coconut Rum -  75 calories and 8 grams of carbs per shot (1.5 fl oz)
  • Flavored Liquors - 130 calories and 10 grams of carbs per shot (1.5 fl oz)
  • Fireball - 106 calories and 11 grams of carbs per shot (1.5 fl oz)
  • Kaluha - 107 calories and 11 grams of carbs per shot (1 fl oz)
  • Ouzo - 155 calories and 15 grams of carbs per shot (1.5 fl oz)

Beer and Wine

  • Ale Beer - 195 calories and 9 grams of carbs per drink (12 fl oz)
  • Craft Beer - 195 calories and 9 grams of carbs per drink (12 fl oz)
  • Dessert Wine - 164 calories and 14 grams of carbs per drink (5 fl oz)
  • Hard Cider - 198 calories and 21 grams of carbs per drink (12 fl oz)
  • IPA Beer - 195 calories and 9 grams of carbs per drink (12 fl oz)
  • Lager Beer - 153 calories and 14 grams of carbs per drink (12 fl oz)
  • Port Wine - 70 calories and 10 grams of carbs per drink (5 fl oz)
  • Sangria - 175 calories and 15 grams of carbs per drink (6 fl oz)
  • Wheat Beer - 164 calories and 11 grams of carbs per drink (12 fl oz)

Mixed Drinks

  • Cranberry and Vodka - 131 calories and 17 grams of carbs per drink (12 fl oz)
  • Daiquiri - 244 calories and 30 grams of carbs per drink (12 fl oz)
  • Gin and Tonic - 207 calories and 16 grams of carbs per drink (12 fl oz)
  • Margarita - 225 calories and 22 grams of carbs per drink (12 fl oz)
  • Pina Colada - 655 calories and 87 grams of carbs per drink (12 fl oz)
  • Rum Punch - 231 calories and 25 grams of carbs per drink (12 fl oz)
  • Rum and Regular Coke - 178 calories and 12 grams of carbs per drink (12 fl oz)
  • Wine Cooler - 227 calories and 34 grams of carbs per drink (12 fl oz)

Best Keto Friendly Alcoholic Beverages

The best keto alcohol drinks contain zero carbohydrates or only small amounts and provide few calories overall. 

Most plain liquors, dry wine, and light beer fall into this category -  it’s not so much the alcohol but the mixers that rack up the calories and carbohydrate content. To keep the carbs and calories low enjoy straight or mix these with calorie and sugar-free beverages like soda water, fresh citrus, diet soda, etc. 

Keto Liquors 

  • Bourbon - 105 calories and 0 grams of carbs per shot (1.5 fl oz)
  • Brandy - 97 calories and 0 grams of carbs per shot (1.5 fl oz)
  • Gin - 97 calories and 0 grams of carbs per shot (1.5 fl oz)
  • Rum (light, dark, and spiced) - 97 calories and 0 grams of carbs per shot (1.5 fl oz)
  • Mezcal - 97 calories and 0 grams of carbs per shot (1.5 fl oz)
  • Tequila  - 97 calories and 0 grams of carbs per shot (1.5 fl oz)
  • Vodka - 97 calories and 0 grams of carbs per shot (1.5 fl oz)
  • Scotch Whiskey - 105 calories and 0 grams of carbs per shot (1.5 fl oz)

Keto Wine and Beer

  • Champagne - 120 calories and 4 grams of carbs per drink (6 fl oz)
  • Dry Red Wine - 120 calories and 4 grams of carbs per drink (5 fl oz)
  • Dry White Wine - 120 calories and 4 grams of carbs per drink (5 fl oz)
  • Hard Seltzer - 100 calories and 1 gram of carbs per drink (12 fl oz)
  • Light beer - 100 calories and 3+ grams of carbs per drink (12 fl oz)

Unfortunately how alcohol impacts nutrient metabolism is not well researched on any diet. But we do know that it can contribute to excess empty calories, poor decision making, and increased health risks if we aren’t careful.  Keeping your drinking to a reasonable amount or foregoing it all together is likely your best bet. 

If you do decide to include alcohol on keto, stick to low carb and low-calorie beverages and skip the sugary mixers!

Want a complete list of all things approved keto? Grab this free keto shopping list and start planning your ultimate keto meal plan.

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