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Alcohol and Health

Can You Drink Alcohol on Keto?

Published:
July 23, 2023
·
7 min read
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Written by
Reframe Content Team
A team of researchers and psychologists who specialize in behavioral health and neuroscience. This group collaborates to produce insightful and evidence-based content.
July 23, 2023
·
7 min read
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Certified recovery coach specialized in helping everyone redefine their relationship with alcohol. His approach in coaching focuses on habit formation and addressing the stress in our lives.
July 23, 2023
·
7 min read
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Recognized by Fortune and Fast Company as a top innovator shaping the future of health and known for his pivotal role in helping individuals change their relationship with alcohol.
July 23, 2023
·
7 min read
Reframe App LogoReframe App Logo
Reframe Content Team
July 23, 2023
·
7 min read

We often hear that humans are "social beings." This idea frequently refers to how we connect with each other — through shared meals and drinks, friendly exchanges, and significant gatherings. However, these social events can become stress-trigger points as we navigate personal life transitions like changing our drinking patterns or adopting healthier eating habits, such as the ketogenic diet. 

Let’s unpack the convoluted relationship between alcohol and the keto diet, and ultimately answer some common questions: Can I still drink alcohol on keto? How do I balance my keto diet and alcohol? Are there any keto drinks out there, and what are some keto-friendly drink options? Let’s find out more!

The Keto Diet: An Overview

The ketogenic or “keto” diet has soared in popularity due to its potential health benefits. This high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carb diet shifts our body's primary fuel source from glucose (sourced from carbs) to ketones (derived from fat). This metabolic state, known as “ketosis,” promotes fat burning, which can aid in weight loss. Moreover, research suggests that the keto diet may help manage a range of health conditions, from heart disease to certain neurological disorders. As we embark on such a health-oriented journey, it's vital to consider how lifestyle habits like alcohol consumption can fit into our new dietary framework.

Things to remember about drinking alcohol on a keto diet

Navigating Keto Drinks: The Worst Choices for the Keto Diet

When we think about alcohol and the keto diet, it's crucial to remember that not all drinks are created equal. Several alcoholic beverages are laden with sugars and, therefore, high in carbohydrates — the very nutrient we're aiming to minimize on a keto diet.

Cocktails with sweet mixers, dessert wines, and many beers are usually high in carbs. Take, for instance, a tropical piña colada — it packs a whopping 32 grams of carbs, a figure that could easily disrupt ketosis. Similarly, even though a glass of red wine seems harmless, it can contain 3-4 grams of carbs. These hidden carbs can quickly accumulate, possibly jeopardizing our keto-friendly eating plan.

Keto-Friendly Alcoholic Drinks

Thankfully, it's not all doom and gloom for those of us wanting to enjoy a drink while keeping our keto commitments. There are plenty of keto drinks out there for us to choose from, including low carb alcoholic drinks that could be compatible with the keto diet. Certain types of alcohol, particularly spirits like vodka, gin, rum, and tequila, have almost no carbs when consumed straight or mixed with a sugar-free beverage into “keto cocktails.”

Some of us aren’t fans of spirits, however. So, is wine keto? And what about keto-friendly beer? If you're a wine enthusiast, dry wine options have fewer carbs compared to their sweet counterparts. Light beers also fit into this low-carb category. Nevertheless, remember that moderation is essential. These drinks, while lower in carbs, can still contribute a significant number of calories. Excessive intake could lead to unwanted weight gain, an outcome we're likely trying to avoid on a keto diet.

Points To Remember When Balancing Alcohol on Keto

Although it's possible to include some alcohol in a keto diet, we should be aware of the unique ways alcohol can affect our bodies while in ketosis. Here are a few critical considerations:

  • Lower tolerance. When we're in ketosis, our bodies metabolize alcohol differently, resulting in a reduced tolerance. This change means that we will likely feel the effects of alcohol more quickly than we expect.
  • Interrupted fat burning. While our bodies are busy processing alcohol, they aren't burning fat. This diversion can potentially slow down our weight loss efforts.
  • Food cravings. Alcohol can stimulate our appetite, leading to cravings for non-keto-friendly foods, a hurdle that can challenge our commitment to the keto diet.

So can you drink alcohol on a keto diet? The answer isn't as simple as a straightforward “yes” or “no.” It leans more towards a “yes, but with mindfulness.” Yes, we can find keto drinks that won’t disrupt our diet, but we must make informed choices and practice moderation. By understanding the potential impacts of alcohol on our ketogenic journey, we can make decisions that honor both our social engagements and health aspirations.

We often hear that humans are "social beings." This idea frequently refers to how we connect with each other — through shared meals and drinks, friendly exchanges, and significant gatherings. However, these social events can become stress-trigger points as we navigate personal life transitions like changing our drinking patterns or adopting healthier eating habits, such as the ketogenic diet. 

Let’s unpack the convoluted relationship between alcohol and the keto diet, and ultimately answer some common questions: Can I still drink alcohol on keto? How do I balance my keto diet and alcohol? Are there any keto drinks out there, and what are some keto-friendly drink options? Let’s find out more!

The Keto Diet: An Overview

The ketogenic or “keto” diet has soared in popularity due to its potential health benefits. This high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carb diet shifts our body's primary fuel source from glucose (sourced from carbs) to ketones (derived from fat). This metabolic state, known as “ketosis,” promotes fat burning, which can aid in weight loss. Moreover, research suggests that the keto diet may help manage a range of health conditions, from heart disease to certain neurological disorders. As we embark on such a health-oriented journey, it's vital to consider how lifestyle habits like alcohol consumption can fit into our new dietary framework.

Things to remember about drinking alcohol on a keto diet

Navigating Keto Drinks: The Worst Choices for the Keto Diet

When we think about alcohol and the keto diet, it's crucial to remember that not all drinks are created equal. Several alcoholic beverages are laden with sugars and, therefore, high in carbohydrates — the very nutrient we're aiming to minimize on a keto diet.

Cocktails with sweet mixers, dessert wines, and many beers are usually high in carbs. Take, for instance, a tropical piña colada — it packs a whopping 32 grams of carbs, a figure that could easily disrupt ketosis. Similarly, even though a glass of red wine seems harmless, it can contain 3-4 grams of carbs. These hidden carbs can quickly accumulate, possibly jeopardizing our keto-friendly eating plan.

Keto-Friendly Alcoholic Drinks

Thankfully, it's not all doom and gloom for those of us wanting to enjoy a drink while keeping our keto commitments. There are plenty of keto drinks out there for us to choose from, including low carb alcoholic drinks that could be compatible with the keto diet. Certain types of alcohol, particularly spirits like vodka, gin, rum, and tequila, have almost no carbs when consumed straight or mixed with a sugar-free beverage into “keto cocktails.”

Some of us aren’t fans of spirits, however. So, is wine keto? And what about keto-friendly beer? If you're a wine enthusiast, dry wine options have fewer carbs compared to their sweet counterparts. Light beers also fit into this low-carb category. Nevertheless, remember that moderation is essential. These drinks, while lower in carbs, can still contribute a significant number of calories. Excessive intake could lead to unwanted weight gain, an outcome we're likely trying to avoid on a keto diet.

Points To Remember When Balancing Alcohol on Keto

Although it's possible to include some alcohol in a keto diet, we should be aware of the unique ways alcohol can affect our bodies while in ketosis. Here are a few critical considerations:

  • Lower tolerance. When we're in ketosis, our bodies metabolize alcohol differently, resulting in a reduced tolerance. This change means that we will likely feel the effects of alcohol more quickly than we expect.
  • Interrupted fat burning. While our bodies are busy processing alcohol, they aren't burning fat. This diversion can potentially slow down our weight loss efforts.
  • Food cravings. Alcohol can stimulate our appetite, leading to cravings for non-keto-friendly foods, a hurdle that can challenge our commitment to the keto diet.

So can you drink alcohol on a keto diet? The answer isn't as simple as a straightforward “yes” or “no.” It leans more towards a “yes, but with mindfulness.” Yes, we can find keto drinks that won’t disrupt our diet, but we must make informed choices and practice moderation. By understanding the potential impacts of alcohol on our ketogenic journey, we can make decisions that honor both our social engagements and health aspirations.

Optimize Your Habits With Reframe!

Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually, with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to not only survive drinking less, but to thrive while you navigate the journey. Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol, and our in-app Toolkit provides the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

You’ll meet hundreds of fellow Reframers in our 24/7 Forum chat and daily Zoom check-in meetings. Receive encouragement from people worldwide who know exactly what you’re going through! You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with our licensed Reframe coaches for more personalized guidance.

Plus, we’re always introducing new features to optimize your in-app experience. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most powerful AI technology. Melody is here to help as you adjust to a life with less (or no) alcohol.

And that’s not all! Every month, we launch fun challenges, like Dry/Damp January, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more your thing!).

The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app through the App Store or Google Play today!

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