The 3 Rules of Drinking Alcohol on the Keto Diet
You have committed to the keto diet and you are on your way to having more energy and a smaller waistline. You are clear on counting and tracking macros, intermittent fasting, and fat bombs. You’ve replaced bread and flour with a low carb alternative (try our NuTrail— Keto Flour) and don’t even miss the real thing.
Congratulations to you! Everything is going great, but one very serious question remains after a long week of work and everyone is keen to catch up for a drink (or three). Can you drink alcohol on the keto diet?
Dear readers, we have some stellar news for you! Keto and alcohol are NOT mutually exclusive.
“Cool! So, you’re saying I get to party like a rock star AND because of Keto I get to have a body like one??”
Not so fast! We are not saying that you can binge drink or even drink every day or every weekend. The key to success with alcohol on the keto diet is moderation.
Let’s face it — you probably didn’t delve deep into the whole keto lifestyle because you are reckless with your body to begin with. Or maybe you were, and you have adopted the diet because you felt like you really needed to make a positive life change. Regardless of your reason, we support and believe in you and your ability to self-regulate.
You have arrived where you are because you want to be the best possible version of yourself. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to sacrifice social outings.
With any diet, consistency is key. One adult beverage isn’t going to ruin your die-hard keto love affair, just like one trip to the gym isn’t going to give you a six-pack. So, you can, in fact, kick back and enjoy happy hour with the posse once in a while. Just remember that when you are in ketosis, one drink may hit you much harder than usual.
Alcohol is processed a lot faster since your body has been conditioned to consume fat for energy. Once the alcohol is in your system, your body is going to metabolize that first.
So, aside from our top rule, which is don’t accidentally be that guy (or gal) at the party, we have three rules for drinking on the keto diet. Read on to learn what they are.
1. Drink tequila. It is the most keto-friendly alcohol.
Tequila is your new go-to. Actually, any straight-up hard liquor is free of carbs, so technically you can take your pick of any of them. Just make sure it is a once in a while indulgence, and not a 5pm daily ritual.
Also remember that no alcohol is free of calories and that those can really add up, especially when they are, “empty calories.” Overconsumption can lead to all kinds of other dietary issues.
The reason we suggest tequila as the top choice is because it metabolizes differently than other spirits. This is because, unlike any other alcohol (aside from its cousin, Mezcal) it is distilled from the blue agave plant.
When you drink tequila, you are ingesting a spirit derived from agavins, which are the sugars found in the plant. They are fermented and then distilled. This specific form of sugar is not digestible and therefore acts as a dietary fiber in your system.
If you count carbs, you likely understand that you subtract dietary fiber from the total carbohydrates to determine the amount of net carbs. So, we are telling you that tequila has no carbs and that the agavins count as negative points on your total!
This means that your glucose levels will actually lower and your insulin levels will rise, contributing to overall lower blood sugar. Tequila can also act as an appetite suppressant. Hallelujah! Who is ready for a shot?
Another awesome benefit of tequila is that because it is fermented, it is probiotic. That makes it good for your gut health.
If you have been invested in the keto diet for a while, chances are you already take probiotic supplements. While the goal is to eat mostly healthy fats, it is easy to accidentally binge on dairy and bacon when you aren’t being very careful with keto.
Probiotics help counter some of the negative effects on your system from eating heavy foods. So, why not consume them in liquid form? Espolon, anyone?
2. Hard seltzer is your, “I am taking it easy tonight,” keto alcohol solution.
Okay, so maybe it’s 5pm on a Monday and you had a rough day at the office. You could really go for a drink.
No matter how much you wish it wasn’t so, Tuesday morning will arrive, and you will be back to work by 8am.
This means that throwing back shots of tequila is probably not a wise choice tonight. (Is it ever?) What are you to do?
Enter the CLAW! And by, “Claw,” we obviously mean White Claw. These spiked seltzer waters are a keto dream!
Each can contains only 100 calories and 2g net carbs. Plus, a lot of stores sell them as singles so you don’t have to buy a whole pack and you can mix and match.
Anything in a can gets points for the convenience factor! There are a lot of places where it would seem excessive to show up with a bottle of tequila, but totally casual to show up with a can or two of White Claw. (Like say, dinner with the in-laws.) They taste amazing and come in several fun and fruity flavors.
Another similar product is Truly. They have just released some really creative flavors (like blueberry & acai) and also only have 100 calories and 2g net carbs.
Since the boom of the hard seltzer trend, which at first was considered somewhat crafty and niche (read: a hipster trend), more mainstream companies, such as Budweiser have jumped on the bandwagon.
You can now purchase Bud Light Seltzer by the pack. Just be careful when drinking these delightful and effervescent little treats. They average 5% alcohol by volume and have been known to creep up.
Stay hydrated and remember — moderation is key, even with keto-friendly alcohol!
3. Avoid all sugary mixers, chasers, and additives.
Drinking alcohol on keto comes with the very important caveat that you should never drink with sugary mixers, chasers or additives.
As we explained above, pure liquors on their own contain no carbs. It is when you begin to add sodas, juices, and liqueurs that the carbs (and hangover headaches) start to add up.
As the civilized and productive adults that you are, you shan’t only be taking shots when you go out.
That’s not a great look, especially in professional settings. Most bars and restaurants don’t have hard seltzer on tap or in cans yet. So, what to do? What else can you drink?
The best mixer for the keto diet is seltzer water. However, some bars and restaurants may only have club soda, which is also fine. Unlike seltzer water, club soda contains sodium.
Adding salt to your diet is actually beneficial when you are in ketosis. Because your body is using fat for fuel, it is easy to lose too many electrolytes. Adding extra salt into your diet (or cocktail) is a good thing, within reason.
Feel free to squeeze in extra lemon or lime (but no maraschino cherries — those are soaked in high-fructose corn syrup).
You can also opt for a martini. Vermouth has less than 1g net carb per serving, so you don’t need to worry too much about it being mixed in.
If you are being very strict with your intake, you can order it extra dry. Olive juice has 0g net carbs, so feel free to order it as dirty as you’d like.
If you are drinking at home or at a friend’s house, you can make keto-friendly mixers from scratch.
Monk-fruit sweetener, stevia, or swerve are all great alternatives to sugar. You can make simple syrup with them and add in your favorite herbs (fresh mint) or low carb fruit (citrus). Keto mojito anyone? How about a blended keto margarita? Yes, please!
Some fruits that can be consumed in moderation on keto are blackberries, rhubarb, starfruit, raspberries, cantaloupe, strawberries, and watermelon.
Any herbs (like rosemary, thyme, and basil) are fine on the keto diet as well. That ought to present some options for creative mixology! You are on your way to opening your own hipster craft cocktail bar.
If you’ve ever asked yourself, “what alcohol can you drink on keto?” you may be pleasantly surprised with all the options at your disposal.
While it may take some getting used to, it is very doable to stay in keto and also drink a moderate amount of alcohol. You just have to make more intentional choices when ordering or mixing cocktails.
Just like the dietary restrictions in the diet, once you are in the routine, you won’t even miss your old ways.
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