Ketogenic Diet | Low Carb – Alcohol Guide

Alcohol & The Ketogenic (Low-Carb Diet)

Can you drink alcohol on a keto or low-carb diet? Well, the good news is yes you can as long as you make the right choices and stay relatively sugar-free, and stick to low carb alcohol.

All you need to do is enjoy your glass of wine or alcohol in moderation. You can have your alcoholic beverages and stay in ketosis if you on a ketogenic low-carb diet and stick to almost zero net carb counts if you are following the low-carb lifestyle.

Many dieters relax on the weekend with wines, shots, or beer. More importantly, there is no reason to feel restricted if you combine a low-carb diet or keto diet with your favorite alcohol, you might experience a noticeable difference.

This article is to help you navigate what alcohol you can drink without risking your dieting progress or lifestyle.

Many of us are not aware that we consume around thirty grams even more carbs by drinking only one serving of alcohol. The number of carbs in the alcohol might inspire any to replace their drinks with a lower carb option. It’s not that hard it just takes a little guidance.

The Impact of Alcohol on Our Body

The molecules in alcohol impact the way you think and behave. It will slow down the signals that control some behaviors that include talking and walking.

It is worth mentioning that alcohol is the fourth macronutrient. It can impact your body with seven calories only in one gram. So it is pretty calorie-dense as carbs and proteins are only 4 calories per gram.

Alcohol is not an important macronutrient for your body. You do not need it for your survival. Your body identifies alcohol as a toxin.

So as a result when you drink alcohol, your body starts to metabolize it immediately. Your body will break it down for energy. Since alcohol is toxic to your body your liver will try and metabolize it right away to eliminate the threat.

After drinking alcohol, it will metabolize fast and pass to all the parts of your body including your liver and brain. More than ninety-eight percent of alcohol will be processed in your liver. Only two percent will be excreted through sweat, breathing, and urine.

Once you drink alcohol, you might experience some adverse effects that include impaired judgment, slurred speech, and poor movement.

You experience all these changes due to the alcohol molecules. These impacts make alcohol a depressant. It slows down a few of our body functions.

Yes, it can slow down your weight loss journey as well. It also reduces your inhibitions! So that chocolate donut will look very tasty if you’ve been on a low-carb diet for a while .. and that 4th or 5th drink well keep ’em coming..

Those are just a few reasons to make sure that you keep your mindfulness on the fact that your playing with a potential sabotage agent.

The Science behind Alcohol & Fat Burning

Fat Oxidation

Many people find alcohol problematic for weight loss. It lowers inhibitions (You end up consuming a lot of empty alcohol calories ) and your liver will process alcohol fast. As a result, the fat loss process will be affected. Your liver will work to eliminate the alcohol from your body.

Also, alcohol will not work in the same way for everyone. It will differ from person to person. Some people will experience a dramatic increase in the effects of alcohol on a low-carb diet and will get buzzed a lot faster than they are used to another reason for moderation.

If you are following a normal (higher-carb) diet, a large amount of glycogen will be stored. Glycogen is known as a glucose by-product. It is also the secondary long-term energy storage.

However, the primary energy will be stored in the fat cells. When you follow a carb-rich diet, the pathways that work to burn fat deposits will be busy in breaking down sugars. When it comes to alcohol, it will take time for metabolization due to its hold-up ability.

When you follow a low-carb diet, it depletes the glycogen stores of your liver. It will start burning fats instead of targeting glucose and carbs. Therefore, you can lose your fat quickly and efficiently. (The science behind KetoOpens in a new tab.) (Source)Opens in a new tab.

With low glycogen storage, the consumed alcohol will not take long to be metabolized. The process will be done by your liver immediately. You can notice the difference. Needless to mention, your liver will not warn you about alcohol processing. If you are on a keto diet, you might have a lower tolerance.

How Alcohol Impacts Weight Loss

1) Alcohol is used as a primary source of fuel

When alcohol is consumed, it’s burned first as a fuel source before your body uses anything else. This includes glucose from carbohydrates or lipids from fats.

When your body burns the alcohol for energy and all other sources are depleted, any carbs you consume will be turned to fat!

2) Empty Calories

Alcoholic drinks have a lot of empty calories. In fact, there are 155 in one 12-ounce can and 125 per glass of wine! To put that into perspective, it’s like having an entire afternoon snack or lunch AND dinner all at once with few to no nutrients included.

A night out drinking is the equivalent to eating more than double your recommended daily calorie intake … Yikes! Add some mixers, fruit juice, or sugary soda, and ouch.

3) Contributes to Belly Fat Storage

The beer gut isn’t just a myth. It is, in fact, an actual thing that people end up getting when they consume foods rich in sugar and calories but don’t burn them off through physical activity like exercise or working at the office all day long. The body tends to accumulate fat around your stomach area due to this: it’s pretty ironic given how we usually associate “beer” with weight gain!

In addition to the above, alcohol does not offer any vitamins, minerals, or nutrients. Therefore, you are not going to be benefited from this consumption. For fun, you can have it in moderation and make sure that you are combining it with a healthy diet.

Can We Consume All Types of Alcohol?

No, you will have to choose the right alcohol on keto or low carb and the right amount. A small serving of wine and beer will contain almost the same amount of alcohol.

What Alcohol Can I Drink on a Keto Diet?


Clear liquors with around forty percent alcohol are considered safe. However, when it comes to low-carb keto and alcohol, you will have to be more careful.

You will have to avoid anything with carbohydrates (sugar). With a Keto diet or a low carb diet, you can consider any of the following hard liquor alcohols. All these are considered safe.

  • Rum
  • Vodka
  • Whiskey
  • Tequila
  • Gin
  • Scotch
  • Cognac
  • Brandy

Keto-friendly & Low Carb Wines

Yes, as we mentioned earlier, even if you are following a ketogenic diet or low-carb it, you can enjoy your beer and wine. You just need to know how and when you should have it.

You should know which wines can be consumed with a keto diet. Know the carbs in your wine, and then you can decide. You should go with dry or semi-dry wines. In the following, we are going to cover some keto-friendly wines. You can check them out and consider if you like the taste.

It is worth mentioning that the

carbs and calories will vary a little depending on the brand.

You will have to check the ingredients and then you can go ahead with the buying decision. Try and stay away from wines that contain sulfites because it will cause headaches a low-carb diet I’ve experienced this myself and it’s not pleasant.

I switched to organic wines and it fixed the problem. Here are some popular keto-friendly alcohols with average calorie counts.

Red Wines: ( 5 oz serving)

  • Merlot: 3.7 carbs and 120 calories
  • Cabernet Sauvignon: 3.8 carbs and 120 calories
  • Pinot Noir: 3.4 carbs and 121 calories

White Wines: (5 oz serving)

  • Sauvignon Blanc: 2.7 carbs and 122 calories
  • Riesling: 5.5 carbs and 118 calories
  • Pinot Grigio: 3.2 carbs and 122 calories
  • Chardonnay: 3.7 carbs and 118 calories
  • Champagne: 1.5 carbs and 96 calories

Keto-friendly & Low-carb Beers

As stated above, you can enjoy both wines and beers. Like wine, you will have to choose the right beer. Many low-carb beers are available in the current market. Check the ingredients to know how much carbs in that specific beer. To help you more, here are a few smart options. You can go through it.

Light Beers:( 12 0z)

  • Rolling Rock Green Light: 2.4 carbs and 92 calories
  • Miller Lite: 3.2 carbs and 96 calories
  • MGD 64: 2.4 carbs and 64 calories
  • Bud Select: 1.9 calories and 55:55 calories
  • Amstel Light: 5 carbs and 95 calories
  • Coors Light: 5 carbs and 102 calories
  • Bud Select:3.1 carbs and 99 calories
  • Natural Light: 3.2 carbs and 95 calories
  • Michelob Ultra Amber: 3.7 carbs and 114 calories
  • Michelob Ultra: 2.6 carbs and 95 calories
  • Bud Light: 6.6 carbs and 110 calories

Things to Consider When Consuming Alcohol on a Diet

You should remember that you will find sugar in many food items even in your tonics. Some tonics contain a high amount of sugar. We all know that sugar harms us in many ways. While drinking one glass of lime juice, you can be ended up consuming fifty grams of sugar. So, make sure that you are not consuming added sugar with your beer. Some beers can increase your calorie intake in no time. Here we can take the example of dessert wines, zinfandel, sweet wines, Moscato, port, and sangria.

In addition to the above, you will have to avoid sugary mixers, sugary syrups, whiskey sour mix, blue curacao, Triple sec, frozen margarita mixes, and grenadine. Also, you will have to avoid flavored alcohol, juices, and fruit add-ins. Different types of flavored alcohols are available. People like the taste and do not bother about the quantity. The same is about juices that include pineapple, oranges, berries, and cherries. When it comes to the fruit add-ins, you will have to avoid whipped cream, fudge, sweet creams, syrups, coconut cream, and fruit-flavored syrups. All these come with added sugars and can cause weight gain and many other health complications.

Do I Need to Avoid Hard Lemonade & Wine Coolers?

Yes, in addition to sugar-added alcohols, you need to avoid alcopops and wine coolers. These are basically the same as a full sugar soft drink. I have seen a few sugar-free versions popping up.. so if you must consume these go for the sugar-free versions Avoid the sugary version like the plague. It will knock you out of ketosis and sabotage your low-carb lifestyle. Here we can take the example of the Smirnoff Ice. In a 12oz serving, you will get 32g carbs.

How to Consume Alcohol without Experiencing the Negative Impact

Alcohol might not cause many health issues even weight gain if you take it in moderation. You will have to choose the right alcohol as well. At the same time, you will have to take care of your diet. When the alcohol consumption is in excess, the impact will be noticeable. It will impact your brain and some activities of your body. Also, some studies support that excessive alcohol consumption might lead to increased hunger. When the hunger is more, you will end up eating more. You can also eat unhealthy food. All these will contribute to weight gain and aggravate some existing health complications.

As stated earlier, you will have to avoid alcohol with added sugars. You can mix your alcohol with spirits to make it easy on your body. Many mixers/chasers are available. These are safe and can minimize the impact of alcohol. Here are some safe chasers or mixers you can consider.

  • Flavored seltzer water
  • Seltzer water
  • Diet flavored tonic water
  • Diet tonic water
  • Stir in erythritol or stevia while drinking at home
  • Mio water enhancement
  • Stur

You can order your favorite alcohol and add chasers and mixers to prepare your alcohol. The impact will be less when you mix some mixers.

How to Deal with Hangovers

It is easy and can be managed at your home. Find out the cause, and the solution is hiding in that only. Hangovers are the result of dehydration. Therefore, you will have to ensure that you are drinking enough water.

When you consume alcohol, you will have to focus more on the water intake to avoid dehydration. Drive your home safe and get the required sleep. If you notice any discomfort related to dehydration, drink more water. It is the most effective way to prevent hungover. It will work fast and more efficiently than any supplement. Follow a simple rule. Drink a cup of water between your drinks regardless of the place you are drinking. You will notice the difference immediately. By following this simple step, you can avoid headaches, nausea, and fatigue.

The best cure for a hangover is water, water, and water. You can add some aspirin to feel even better. But make sure that you are getting the much-needed rest. You will certainly feel better.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Alcohol Kick You Out of Ketosis?

If you’ve ever heard the phrase “drinking increases ketosis,” then trust me when I say that it only tells half of this story.

A small study from 1970 illustrated how alcohol consumption and a high-fat diet increased “ketonuria” — aka more ketones were found in the volunteers’ urine.[SourceOpens in a new tab.]

Here’s what happens: Researchers theorized that ketonuria was caused by the delayed change in intermediary metabolism from alcohol-induced glycogen depletion.

Drinking alcohol on the Keto diet might result in an instant burst of ketone activity, but your liver will eventually start to use it for energy instead of fat. That means less fat-burning.

What is the best alcohol to drink on keto?

Most clear liquors that are around 40% alcohol (vodka, whiskey, gin, scotch) contain 0 grams of carbs and sugars on their own. That means they’re super keto-friendly in moderation!

The issue comes when you want to mix your liquor with something else to make it more palatable. Stick to sugar-free and 0 calorie mixers and you should be ok. Just remember the more alcohol you drink the slower your rate of ketosis will become.

Which Wine has the least amount of carbs?

Dry whites are the lowest in carbs, and this refreshing white is one of the driest and crispest around (and with only approximately 2 grams of carbs per serving to boot). Classic Sauvignon Blancs will have nice notes like peach, pineapple delicious when your dieting.

What Are Some Good Keto Cocktail Recipes





Anthony MSc. Nutrition CPT

Anthony is a certified personal trainer, Certified Holistic Health Practitioner, and Strength and Conditioning coach. Today he works as a full-time fitness coach, writer, blogger, and author. In his spare time, he is an avid sailor, boating enthusiast, hiker, and backpacker His goal is to take the confusion out of weight loss and health and make it simple and easy to understand and follow. Anthony McGarr NASM CPT, CHHP, MSc. Nutrition, Certified Holistic Health Practitioner And Creator Of The Trans4m Diet

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