Is alcohol strictly prohibited on the ketogenic diet?
The answer is, it depends. While you obviously don’t need alcohol to live, many people like to have a drink or two to wind down after a long day of work.
In this Keto Beginners Series, you’ll learn more about whether or not alcohol is okay to consume (and which ones you should drink on keto).
How Alcohol Affects Us
Alcohol is known as the fourth macronutrient which provides our body with 7 calories per gram.
But since alcohol is a macro that isn’t required to live, it’s considered toxic.
When we consume alcohol, our body starts metabolizing it to produce energy. We break down alcohol before any other macro because it’s a toxic substance so it tries to get rid of it as soon as possible.
The drunk feeling we get after drinking alcohol comes from the metabolization of it.
How Alcohol Metabolization Affects the Fat Burning Process
Most people who drink alcohol will find that their weight loss efforts stall. While we know that sugary drinks like sweet cocktails are filled with carbs that can knock you out of ketosis, even straight liquor can cause issues.
Why? It’s not necessarily the calories, but how our body processes the liquor.If you’re on a ketogenic diet, your body is running on fats for energy.
As you drink alcohol, your liver will prioritize the byproducts of metabolized alcohol instead of fat.
Ketone production is temporarily stopped until all alcohol is fully processed.
This means the more frequently you drink alcohol on keto, the longer it’ll take for your body to start burning fat for energy because it has to metabolize alcohol first.
The Ketogenic Diet WILL Make You Drunk Faster
Carbohydrates do a great job in reducing the effects of alcohol because your metabolism processes glucose quickly, which slows down the metabolization of alcohol.
But when you’re on the ketogenic diet, you have depleted glycogen stores which means alcohol is processed much faster.
You’ll find that it takes nearly half the amount of alcohol to experience the same effects as if you were to eat carbohydrates and drink.
Be very careful not to drink a lot while you’re on the low carb, high fat ketogenic lifestyle.
Keto-Approved Alcoholic Drinks
While we know that alcohol hinders ketosis, there are some beverages that keto-ers encourage over others because they don’t contain additional carbohydrates.
Here are our keto-approved recommendations:
Stick to liquors that contain zero carbs and zero sugars. Clear liquors at about 40% alcohol is your safest bet. These include:
Note: If you cannot drink it straight, make sure you’re using a chaser that contains zero calories. For example, get a vodka club instead of a vodka with soda.
Stick to wines that have little to no sugar. Dry red or white wine consumed sparingly is perfectly okay on keto. Just be very careful when choosing your wine because most cheap wine contain large amounts of sugar.
Here are our keto-approved wine recommendations:
Similar to wine, there are several types of beer that you should avoid at all costs on the ketogenic diet. Beer is a dangerous alcohol drink to consider because most of them have a high carbohydrate content. After all, beer is known as “liquid bread”.
If you really want to drink beer on keto, stick to these low-carb options:
Alcohol to Avoid on Keto
Any alcohol beverages with tons of sugar should be strictly avoided. If you’re going to drink straight liquor, make sure the chaser you mix it with contains zero calories.
Avoid these sugary drinks:
Drink Alcohol Sparingly On the Ketogenic Diet
There’s no problem with enjoying a drink or two every once in a while to ease the stresses of your day while you’re on the ketogenic diet.
If your main goal is to lose weight and stay in ketosis, alcohol is best to be avoided altogether.
But, if you’d still like to drink alcohol, make sure you choose a beverage from our keto-approved list above and avoid sugary drinks at all costs.
Carb Manager is the easiest and most powerful way to count carbs and live the low carb life. In this blog, we've invited experts on LCHF to contribute their views on everything low carb.