If you enjoy the occasional drink (or two), you don’t have to stop just because you’ve started a keto diet. However, there are some things you should know before you mix a drink.
First, the bad news:
Tracking macros is important in the keto diet, and alcohol is often joked as being the “fourth macro.” Generally speaking, alcohol is empty calories. There are no vitamins or minerals, no nutritional value at all. If you are enjoying an occasional drink, be sure you are paying attention to the calories and tracking them.
Alcohol will also alter your metabolism. Drinking alcohol will slow down your weight loss and fat loss, even if you are still in ketosis. Your liver will react to alcohol quickly, which means that your body will stop burning the food you at and the fat you’re trying to get rid of. If you drink often, you may actually be promoting fat storage and sabotaging your keto diet.
The keto diet lowers your tolerance of alcohol. Drink slowly; you’ll feel drunk with less alcohol, which leads to lower inhibitions and poor food choices and/or snacking. Pay attention to how your body reacts to alcohol. Some people won’t notice a change and some will see alcohol dramatically affect their progress. If your body does not react well to alcohol, you may want to consider eliminating it all together.
Now, for the good news:
While there are still calories present, most spirits have zero carbs. Some wines are low carb. You can even find low carb beer, if you look hard enough. If you aren’t concerned about fat loss or weight loss and don’t want to slow down your ketosis, look for clear, hard liquor. Tequila, vodka, rum, brandy, cognac, and gin (unflavored) will generally have zero carbs. Whiskey, scotch, and bourbon are good no carb choices also. Avoid sweet mixers or anything that tastes sweet. There are options for carb and sugar free mixers: diet tonic water, seltzer water, sugar-free or diet drinks, and sugar-free carbonated water.
It is best to avoid wines and beer. But, if you can't, make the best choice you can. Avoid sweet wines and choose dry or semi-dry wines. Pinot noir, pinot blanc, and sauvignon blanc are your best choices. For beer, choose light and low carb options. Check out our full list of keto approved alcohol here.