Can You Drink Alcohol on a Keto Diet?

A lot of people first starting off on their keto journey find themselves doing plenty of research on what they can and cannot eat, and the overall rules of the ketogenic diet, such as the topic of alcohol consumption.

Going strictly keto means improved cognitive ability, more energy, and mental focus[1]. This article will serve to shed light on the keto rules concerning alcohol so you can continue making the best decisions to help reach your weight goals.

So…Can I?

Yes and no. Keep in mind, not all alcoholic drinks are created equal. Sure, ethanol (alcohol) always remains the same and, yes, yeast acts on the sugar compounds to make both alcohol and carbon dioxide, but the type of drink mixture you ingest and the specific sugar compound used is what will determine how your body reacts.

Take beer for instance. Ahh beer. It’s cold, it’s refreshing, it’s full of carbohydrates, so watch out! The carbs in grain, which is the basis of beer, are fermented by yeasts. This leaves beer with plenty of residual sugars (carbs) after fermentation, making it plenty dangerous for your keto diet.

If you find that you can’t go on without a cold brew, opt for something lighter and lower in carbs, such as Bud Select, Miller 64, or Michelob Ultra.

How Alcohol Affects Your Body

Now that you know what to avoid when it comes to alcohol, let’s review why. In a nutshell, consuming alcohol slows ketone production. This happens because your body receives signals that there is a toxic substance present (alcohol), and swiftly sends its resources to the liver to process the toxin. This pulls resources responsible for ketone production—such as fat oxidation— away from its task.

Even if you’re still able to stay in ketosis despite drinking alcohol, it can still slow down weight loss. Since your liver is now busy processing alcohol, it’s being used by the body before all other nutrients, like fat. Having that delicious Raspberry Tini means you’re body will convert less fatty acids to ketones.

Do or Do Not, There is No Try

Yes, these wise words from Yoda are applicable even here. If social pressures are wearing you down and you simply must get your happy hour on, do it right. Go for low-carb drinks such as dry wines or clear, hard liquor. If, on the other hand, you’re serious about quitting alcohol cold turkey, studies have shown that a ketogenic diet actually suppress alcohol withdrawal[2].

Just remember, alcohol is nothing but empty calories. Unlike plenty of friendly and even unfriendly keto foods, alcohol has calories with zero nutritional benefit. So begin approaching alcohol as something that doesn’t have a place in your natural diet.

More Readings:

Best Exogenous Ketone Supplements

How to Avoid Dehydration and Electrolyte Imbalances on Keto

References:

[1] Bradbury J. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA): An ancient nutrient for the modern human brain. Nutrients. 2011;3:529–554.

[2] Dencker D, Molander A, Thomsen M, Schlumberger C, Wortwein G, Weikop P, Benveniste H, Volkow ND, Fink-Jensen A. Ketogenic Diet Suppresses Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome in Rats. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2018 Feb;42(2):270-277.

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Jessica Cotzin is a freelance writer, web developer, and avid traveler. Born and raised in South Florida, she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Multi-Media Journalism from Florida Atlantic University and currently resides in Miami Beach. Her passions lie in reading great literature and traveling the world, bumping blindly into new adventures.

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