Now that the holidays are approaching, one of the most common doubts is alcohol in the ketogenic diet. First of all, I do not want you to believe that I encourage you to drink, I do not recommend drinking alcohol of course. But realistically, during the upcoming dates, we all like to have something to celebrate. I myself usually drink a glass of wine or cava to toast. We are not perfect and honestly when asked what do you miss the most since you have been on the keto diet? The first answer that comes to mind is bread, but if I think about it it’s probably beer! I don’t know of a keto recipe for. So let’s resolve your doubts.
Can you drink alcohol on the ketogenic or keto diet?
Technically yes, you can, as long as they are drinks without carbohydrates or very low. What’s the downside? It is not entirely recommended. There are no studies that it is more harmful to drink alcohol while living a keto lifestyle than a high carbohydrate diet. However, we know that alcohol burns in the liver, like ketones, so we could be overloading our liver with work if we drink excessively.
On the other hand, and probably due to the overload of the liver, alcohol tends to have much more effect on a person who is in a state of ketosis. So be careful with the dose, if before we drank four glasses of wine, it is likely that now with only two we will have more than enough.
Likewise, if we drink, it is quite likely that we have the worst hangover of our life. One of the symptoms of ketosis is the loss of water and electrolytes, this added to dehydration from having consumed alcohol can trigger a monumental hangover. If you are going to drink alcohol on the ketogenic diet, I recommend that you drink plenty of water before and after to minimize symptoms.
Another issue that we must be careful about if while in ketosis we have drunk alcohol and we are tested with the breathalyzer, it is more likely that we will test positive even if we have drunk little. The elimination of ketones through the breath can increase the level of alcohol that we expel when blowing, so be very careful when driving.
You should never drink excessively on an empty stomach as you run the risk of alcoholic ketoacidosis. This occurs when the level of ketones in the blood is very high and glucose is very low. Although it usually only happens to people who are very malnourished and addicted to alcohol, it never hurts to warn.
Will I stop losing weight if I drink alcohol on the ketogenic diet?
When we are in a state of ketosis, the body burns ketones from our stored fat. What happens if we drink alcohol? Our liver will prioritize the burning of that alcohol by converting it into glucose, so until it is eliminated from the body, you will not lose fat. Although we do not get out of ketosis, it will be on hold until we end all the alcohol reserves in our blood.
If you have drunk alcohol and want to burn fat again as soon as possible, I recommend you follow the advice in this post to quickly return to ketosis.
In addition to the suspension in fat burning, the large amount of calories that alcohol has can make us gain weight. Let’s not forget that if we want to lose weight we should not go overboard with calories and with alcohol we can do it almost without realizing it. A glass of wine, even very low in carbohydrates, can have around 200 calories. Be careful with that!
What alcoholic beverages can I consume during the ketogenic diet and which are not recommended?
If you don’t want to waste all the effort for a couple of drinks these Christmas holidays, there are certain drinks that are better not even close. No type of sugary or sweet drink will be allowed. Stay away from cocktails, those combined with sugary soft drinks, breezer-type preparations, sweet or semi-sweet wines, cider and fruit liqueurs, rum with honey etc. They are full of sugar, so better not even look at them!
Beer (sadly for me) is also not recommended, although if you only have a small beer it would not be a big problem. A bottle of beer, either 0’0 or with alcohol can have between 10 and 15 grams of carbohydrates, a shame for those of us who were brewers.
If you are more into wine, you are in luck, since although it is not carbohydrate-free it is usually quite low. A glass of dry wine (never sweet of course) be it red, white, or rose has about 2 grams of carbohydrates. If you don’t like wine too much, you can take it with homemade white or with Coca-Cola zero and a slice of lemon.
For fans of cava and champagne I have good news, since this Christmas you will be able to toast. A glass of dry or brut cava or champagne only has between 0 and 2 carbohydrates depending on the brand.
Non-carbohydrate alcoholic beverages
If you like strong drinks you are in luck, since most have zero carbohydrates, as long as you do not mix them with sugary soft drinks, fruit juices, tonics or they do not come flavored.
Vodka, whiskey, gin, tequila, martini, and cognac do not contain any carbohydrates. You can take them alone, with ice, with water, with soda, or with zero soda. But be careful with their high graduation, as we said a little above, they go to the head a lot!
Zaineb Fatima holds a BSc (Hons) degree in Food and Nutrition, and is dedicated to helping others maintain a healthy weight through the use of good supplements. In addition to consuming these supplements herself, she also shares her knowledge about their usage with others. Zaineb is also an expert on a range of health topics, and is happy to share her opinions and insights on matters related to food, health, and nutrition.