Can I Drink Alcohol on Keto?

Are you wondering whether or not you can have alcohol on a ketogenic diet? This is a very common question because not many people have a great understanding of what alcohol is and what it does in your body (besides get you drunk).

What Does Alcohol Do to My Body?

Before we dive into alcohol as it relates specifically to keto, it is important to mention that there are no physiological health benefits to alcohol. The things you have heard about a glass of wine being as good as an hour of exercise is not true.

In fact, alcohol can really slow down your progress on any diet. When you consume alcohol it has first priority in your body. Your body cannot store alcohol so before any other fuel sources are used It has to be metabolized. This means that alcohol can temporarily blunt fat burning and other fuel sources consumed with alcohol like carbohydrates and fat are pushed towards storage.

Simply put, over-consuming alcohol can stall your fat loss or even lead to weight gain.

With that being said, it’s still nice to enjoy a drink every once in a while. While there are not physiological health benefits to drinking, the social aspect that comes with drinking does offer some psychological health benefits. 

Moral of the story, I understand that some people will want to drink. But is drinking okay on keto?

Can I Drink Alcohol on Keto?

The answer is yes but its all about moderation and choosing the right alcohol.

As mentioned, over consuming alcohol will get in the way of you achieving your health goals so moderation is key. If you are drinking 3-4+ nights a week and are stuck at a weight loss plateau or not making progress towards your goal. Then you are over doing it.

If you are sticking to moderation, then the next step is choosing the right alcohol. Many alcohol choices out there are full of sugar making them even more harmful to your state of ketosis. Especially avoid these alcohol choices.

Below breakdown of more keto-friendly choices for different types of alcohol.

Beer

Beer is typically the least keto-friendly of alcohols but there are some light beers that can be okay in moderation.  Search for beers that have less than under 5g of total carbs per beer.  Here are a few of the most popular:

  • Michelob Ultra

  • Corona Premier

  • Miller Light

  • Miller 64

  • Select 55

  • Genesee Light

  • Beck’s Premier Light

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Spirits

Your tolerance to spirits will be especially lower so drink with caution.  Consume on the rocks or with water/soda water.  Here are the best options: 

  • Whiskey

  • Tequila/Mezcal

  • Vodka

  • Gin

  • Rum

  • Brandy

Wine

When searching for the best wine on keto, the dryer the better.

The dryness of wine refers to the sugar content of the wine.  The dryer the wine, the lower the sugar.  The percent of alcohol can also help you determine the sugar content of wine.  A higher percent alcohol wine is generally going to contain more sugar compared to a lower percent alcohol wine.  For this reason, look for wines with under 13% alcohol. 

If you really want to choose the healthiest wines then farming techniques and region should be considered. Wines made from grapes grown in hot climates contain more sugar compared to wine made of grapes from cooler climates. Region also matters for the quality of wine.  Most U.S. grown grapes contain many pesticides and are grown in nutrient deficient soils.  Finding wine that is organically grown, bio-dynamically farmed (Demeter certified), or dry farmed is the gold standard.  Due to climate and soil, two of the best regions for wine are Austria and Loire valley in France.

Another general rule is that red wines are going to be drier than whites.  Of the popular red wines, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir are of the driest red wines along with Merlot and Malbec falling in the middle range. However, there are some white wines with low sugar content such as Muscadet, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Grigio.  Most sparkling wines are also higher in sugar; however, sparkling wines that say brut nature on the label are classified as the lowest sugar of sparkling wines.

If you are a wine drinker and all of that sounded like a lot, then just do what I do and sign up for Dry Farm Wines. DFW is a subscription keto wine service that sends you the best sources, lowest sugar, and lowest sulfite wines from around the world. The quality is high, the sugar is low, and the taste is incredible. Getting their subscription every month or every two months is such a great experience and something that you and a partner or roommate can get excited about. The best part is that these high quality wines are not crazy expensive. Depending on the subscription you choose, each bottle will cost you between $24-$26. Thats for imported, high quality, natural wine that is going to be way better for your health!

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Tips for Drinking on Keto

Alcohol tolerance goes down on keto, which can cause you to get drunk quicker and have tougher hangovers. This is in part due to electrolyte deficiencies and dehydration which alcohol causes but is already accelerated on a ketogenic diet. For this reason, be sure to drink plenty of water and use electrolytes before and after drinking.

Do not drink on an empty stomach. I know earlier we talked about alcohol promoting storage of the foods you eat but drinking on an empty stomach can be dangerous. As long as you are not drinking frequently, then having that full stomach when you drink is not going to make a big impact on your progress. In this case, it is more important to be safe.

To wrap it up, alcohol can be consumed on keto but it is all about moderation and choosing the right drinks. Don’t let alcohol be the reason why you aren’t seeing progress. And obviously, drink responsibly.


Christopher Irvin