Wondering what drinks are best to support your ketogenic lifestyle? Paying attention to the carbs you drink is only half of the battle, you’ll also want to reach for beverages that support your health and nutrition goals. Here are the best and worst drinks when it comes to keto macros and losing weight.
While you're at it, don't forget to check out our full keto diet foods list to pick and choose the right options for your goals.
Keto Friendly Drinks
While controlling carb content is the name of the game, the best keto drinks are those that also support good nutrition through either proper hydration or other potential benefits. These include beverages with a decent serving of vitamins and minerals. Here are our top picks:
1. Water and Sparkling Water
This can also include sparkling water and some unsweetened flavored water. This is really just water with air bubbles added, or fruit extracts.
2. Keto Coffee or Tea
Both unsweetened coffee and tea also pair well with a keto lifestyle, as they are naturally low calorie and contain no carbohydrates. Additionally, some research suggests that green tea and coffee may support fat loss in unique ways - helping to reduce appetite and support metabolism (7,8).
With keto, it is also common for people to put heavy cream in their cup or opt for bulletproof coffee made with butter to up the fat content. However, if you are looking to a ketogenic diet for weight loss, you may want to consider your daily energy intake.
Adding fat to your morning cup is an easy way to rack up excess calories you may not need. You may want to grab your daily fat intake from a healthy breakfast instead.
3. Keto Protein Shakes
Keto protein shakes, either pre-made or using protein powders, are an easy way to boost your daily protein intake on keto. Plus if they are made with low carb ingredients like non-starchy veggies, nuts, seeds, and nut butter, it can add a nice boost of nutrition to your day.
Similar to butter in your coffee, it is possible to go overboard on protein shakes and end up gaining weight if you aren’t careful. Most shakes should be consumed as a snack or meal replacement option. So if you find they just aren’t satisfying your hunger or cravings, you may want to skip them altogether.
4. Plant Based Milk
Most plain, nut-based milks (almond milk, cashew milk, etc) contain little to no carbs - with the exception of flavored varieties and milk made from grains like oat milk. Plus, the unsweetened varieties tend to be low in calories and provide a source of essential nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, and vitamin E.
5. Diet Energy Drinks
Sugar-free energy drinks can be hit or miss. Some are made with high amounts of caffeine and questionable ingredients, while others can supply a manageable amount of caffeine and potentially B vitamins and electrolytes.
A typical cup of coffee has 100 to 150 mg of caffeine and some energy drinks have twice that amount in a single serving size. For the best energy drinks, look for options with more simple ingredients and keep an eye out for too much caffeine.
6. Sugar Free Sports Drinks
Sports drinks, while traditionally made with high amounts of sugar for fuel, can also be found in low calorie, low carb varieties. Plus, they tend to be high in electrolytes that support hydration and may even help relieve some of the symptoms of keto flu.
7. Diet Soda
While they may not be the most nutritious choice, many diet drinks flavored with artificial sweeteners are an easy way to satisfy your sweet tooth without blowing your daily carbs out of the water. Making them keto approved and supportive of your goals!
Worst Drinks for Keto
While there are many sugar-free drinks out there to choose from, there are even more options that are high in carbs from added sugar that will put you over your carb count with single glass.
Here are some of the worst drinks for keto:
8. Soft Drinks
It’s no surprise that soda tops the list as one of the worst beverages for keto dieters. Soda is made almost entirely of added sugar and a single bottle typically contains more than twice your daily carb limit (one bottle of soda has about 50 grams of carbs).
9. Fruit Juice
Even though fruit is a nutritious food choice, most fruits are naturally high in sugar, and when the fruit is turned into juice, you get a concentrated dose of it - one glass of orange juice contains as much sugar and calories as two to three whole oranges. This also goes for most pressed juices, even veggie juice, as many plants contain some amount of carbohydrates.
Although a lot of dairy tends to be a keto diet food staple, cow milk is a natural source of carbohydrates - providing roughly 12 grams per glass. Try opting for a plant-based alternative in recipes or by the glass.
11. Flavored Beverages
Similar to soda, a lot of flavored beverages, like lemonade, juice cocktails, sweetened teas, chocolate milk, etc. are made with added sugar that makes controlling your carb intake nearly impossible.
Lastly, alcohol is not one of the best options for keto. It is possible to drink alcohol and stay in ketosis - especially when choosing low carb drinks - however, alcohol, in general, can be high calorie and doesn’t provide much nutritional value. It is also thought to negatively impact your nutrient absorption and metabolism, messing with your fitness goals.
Stick to your keto diet goals and make cutting carbs feel like a breeze with this free comprehensive keto shopping list. Complete with net carb counts for hundreds of foods.