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Are you wondering about alcohol on a keto diet? Whether it will stop ketosis or affect your progress? If keto friendly alcohol drinks exist? What low carb cocktails and keto cocktails are the healthiest? You’ve come to the right spot. I’m sharing this massive guide to answer all of these questions and more. I’ll dive into what your options are for low carb alcoholic drinks, and the low carb drinks you should choose to ensure that you stay in ketosis.

There are many times when you’re looking for keto drinks besides water. Maybe it’s a celebration, maybe it’s a work happy hour, or maybe you just want to enjoy some keto cocktails! Whatever your reason, drinking alcohol on keto is just fine – so long as you know what to drink and you keep it in moderation.

In this guide you’ll find ideas for keto friendly alcohol drinks (of course!), but also more about how alcohol can affect you if you’re following a keto diet, the best low carb alcohol to enjoy, what to look for in low carb mixed drinks, and the counts of carbs in beer (various varieties!).

Before we get to the guide for alcohol on keto and the low carb alcoholic drinks, check the guide for how to start a keto diet and the keto food list, so that you understand how it works overall. You may also want to read about keto flu symptoms and remedies, to make sure you avoid or remedy that before trying to add alcohol.

Contents

Can You Drink Alcohol On The Keto Diet?

Yes, you can drink alcohol on keto. But, you need to choose the right low carb alcoholic drinks and enjoy them in moderation.

Does Alcohol Stop Ketosis?

No, alcohol itself will not kick you out of ketosis. (Alcohol is not sugar and does not spike blood sugar, which is what kicks you out of ketosis.)

However, alcohol de-prioritizes utilization of fat to make ketones.

Here is the difference in metabolism on “normal keto” versus when you drink alcohol on keto:

  • When you follow a keto diet, your body burns fat (from your food and your body) for fuel and produces ketones.
  • When you drink alcohol on keto, your body sees the alcohol as poison and its first priority is to get rid of it (by metabolizing it). So, your body stops breaking down both sugar and fat in order to break down the alcohol instead. That means that any excess sugar or fat is more prone to get stored, in the form of glycogen in the liver (for any trace amounts of sugar) and primarily body fat.

Why Does Keto Lower Alcohol Tolerance?

To understand why you get drunk faster on keto, you need to understand how your liver works (to some extent).

Your liver has many functions, but the ones important for the keto and alcohol consumption include:

  • Storage of extra glucose (in the form of glycogen) and its release when necessary
  • Blood detoxification and purification, including the processing of alcohol

When you eat a diet high in carbohydrates, the liver stores plenty of glycogen. The storage and release of glycogen in the liver slows down alcohol metabolism. This is one of the reasons that eating carbs can help you feel less drunk.

When you are in ketosis, the liver stores very little glycogen, and this causes alcohol to be metabolized a lot faster. Therefore, the alcohol will enter your bloodstream more quickly and your alcohol tolerance will be lower.

What Alcohol Can You Drink On Keto?

So, what drinks are ok on keto? There are a few different categories of low carb alcoholic drinks and keto friendly alcohol drinks:

  • Hard Liquor – Vodka, rum, tequila, gin, brandy, whiskey, etc. Most of these have 0 carbs, which is great, but you need to be careful with what you mix them with.
  • Dry Wine – Dry red wine, dry white wine, dry rose wine, dry sparkling wine, etc.
  • Light Beer – Most light beers are fine, but you can look up the carb counts of your favorite brands.
  • Light Seltzers – These are basically spiked flavored seltzer water, with no sugar added.

What Alcohol To Avoid On Keto?

And here is a list of NOT keto friendly alcohol drinks:

  • Most mixed drinks – Anything with simple syrup, agave, margarita mix, sweet & sour mix, vermouth, etc. Most mixed drinks will fall into this category.
  • Drinks with soda or juice – Including regular cola or lemon-lime soda, ginger ale, orange juice, cranberry juice, etc.
  • Sweet wines – Such as riesling, moscato, port, sherry, etc.
  • Liqueurs – These are loaded with sugar and typically made with some kind of syrup.
  • Hard ciders or wine coolers – These are essentially spiked fruit juice.
  • Sangrias – The wine in them is usually fine, but the added fruit, sugar, and/or juice is not.

Alcohol On Keto: The Best Low Carb Alcoholic Drinks Guide:
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Carb Counts In Low Carb Drinks

The table below shows the carb counts in the best drinks for keto – hard liquor, wine, light beer, and seltzers. You can read more about mixers further below.

Type Drink Serving Size Net Carbs Calories
Hard liquor Vodka 1.5 fl oz 0g 97
Hard liquor Rum (unflavored) 1.5 fl oz 0g 97
Hard liquor Tequila 1.5 fl oz 0g 97
Hard liquor Gin 1.5 fl oz 0g 110
Hard liquor Brandy & cognac 1.5 fl oz 0g – 3g 96
Hard liquor Whiskey 1.5 fl oz 0g 105
Red wine Cabernet sauvignon 5 fl oz 3.8g 123
Red wine Merlot 5 fl oz 3.7g 123
Red wine Pinor noir 5 fl oz 3.4g 122
Red wine Syrah 5 fl oz 3.8g 123
White wine Chardonnay 5 fl oz 3.4g 122
White wine Pinot grigio 5 fl oz 3g 123
White wine Riesling 5 fl oz 5.5g 120
Sparkling wine Cava 5 fl oz 2.5g 128
Sparkling wine Champagne 5 fl oz 4g 125
Sparkling wine Dry sparkling wine 5 fl oz 4g 125
Beer Ultra light beer – Budweiser Select 55, Michelob Ultra, Miller 64 1 bottle (~12 oz) 0.5g – 2.6g 55-95
Beer Very light beer – Beck’s Premier Light, Budweiser Select, Miller Lite 1 bottle (~12 oz) 3.1g – 3.7g 64-95
Beer Light beer – Amstel Light, Bud Light, Coors Light, Heineken Light, Miller Chill 1 bottle (~12 oz) 4g – 6.8g 95-104
Spiked seltzer Spiked seltzer 1 bottle (~12 oz) 2g – 5g 100-140

Is Wine Ok On Keto?

Yes, you can drink wine on keto in moderation. Choose dry wines over sweet.

Refer to the table above for wine carb counts based on type.

I personally love natural Dry Farm Wines. They have no sugar and low carbs (less than 1 gram per liter!), low sulfites, no artificial additives, and must pass incredibly strict standards for taste. If you want to try them out, they’re offering my friends (YOU!) a bottle of wine for $0.01 (YES, A PENNY!) with your first order.

Can I Drink Beer On Keto?

Yes, you can drink light beer on keto in moderation. There are carbs in beer, but as you can see in the list below, they range from about 2 grams – 7 grams, so choose appropriately!

Here are some low carb beer options, perfect for keto:

  • Amstel Light – 5g net carbs
  • Beck’s Premier Light – 3.2g net carbs
  • Budweiser Select 55, Budweiser Select, Bud Light – 1.9g, 3.1g and 6.6g net carbs, respectively
  • Coors Light – 5g net carbs
  • Heineken Light – 6.8g net carbs
  • Michelob Ultra – 2.6g net carbs
  • Miller 64, Miller Chill, Miller Lite – 2.4g, 3.2g, and 4g net carbs, respectively

What Is The Lowest Carb Cocktail?

Put simply, the lowest carb cocktail is one that does not have any sugar added. There are several options, but the formula for keto cocktails is the same.

If you are looking for keto friendly cocktails to order at a bar, your best bet is to…

1) Choose a hard liquor:

  • Vodka
  • Rum
  • Tequila
  • Gin
  • Brandy
  • Whiskey

2) Add a sugar-free mixer:

  • Soda water – Also called seltzer water or club soda.
  • Unsweetened iced tea – Flavors are fine too, as long as they are unsweetened.
  • Lemon or lime juice – Specify “no sugar or simple syrup” to make it clear that you only want the lime juice. Typically you’ll also want to add some water (still or sparkling) to dilute the sour citrus.
  • Diet soda – These will not kick you out of ketosis, but typically use artificial sweeteners. Use in moderation.
  • Sugar-free energy drinks – Same warning as diet soda above.

You can also make your own keto friendly alcohol drinks at home. I’ll share some low carb cocktails for you to make below.

But first, I want to cover the not-so-fun part: why we shouldn’t go crazy with the alcohol on a keto diet…

Reasons To Limit Alcohol On Keto

There are many reasons to limit alcohol on keto, and if you’ve ever had a few too many drinks, you probably are familiar with the reasons:

1) Alcohol reduces self-control.

Alcohol actually changes your brain chemistry, which can impact your mood, your behavior, your memory, and more. Higher levels of norepinephrine can result in an increase in impulsivity, which can lead us to make decisions we wouldn’t normally make. Such as eating things you normally wouldn’t.

2) Alcohol can stall weight loss even if you stay in ketosis.

Let me explain how a few low carb vodka drinks can stall weight loss. In a nutshell, your body will prioritize getting rid of the alcohol before it burns any sugar or fat (from your food or your body). This means both sugar and fat are more likely to get stored as body fat when you drink alcohol. For more detail, see the “Does Alcohol Stop Ketosis?” section above.

3) Alcohol has a lot of calories.

Alcohol has 7 calories per gram (compared to 9 calories per gram of fat, 4 calories per gram of protein, and 4 calories per gram of carbs), which is relatively high.

While calories may not be our #1 focus on the keto diet, they do still count! And calories from alcohol are not providing any sort of nutrition, so there is no benefit (or use!) for these calories.

4) Alcohol can increase hunger or cravings.

Urban dictionary defines this as “drunchies” aka drunk munchies, but there is actually some science behind it. Essentially, your brain goes into starvation mode because certain neurons that deal with hunger are activated when you are intoxicated. In addition to alcohol reducing self-control, alcohol make it difficult to stick on your diet.

5) Alcohol on keto may amplify hangovers.

As mentioned above, alcoholic drinks on keto are metabolized much faster and can lead you to feeling drunk quicker. If you don’t keep your keto drinks to a moderate level, you’ll feel even worse the next day.

6) Alcohol can dehydrate you.

Alcohol causes your body to release more fluid, leaving you dehydrated, which will leave you feeling terrible. Re-hydrate with water if you’re drinking alcohol on keto.

So, How Can You Have Alcohol On Keto?

Despite the warnings above, you can still enjoy alcohol on a low carb diet. As cliche as it sounds, the key is to do drink responsibly. 🙂

Here is how to drink alcohol on keto:

  • Drink in moderation. There’s no reason to miss out on an occasional drink when you are out, but limit it to one or two. This will not only keep carbs and calories in check, it will also decrease the chance of stalling weight loss or a hangover the next day.
  • Drink plenty of water. Aim for a glass of water for every drink you have, and an extra one before bed. This will reduce dehydration and you’ll be less likely to get a hangover.
  • Choose low carb drink options. I covered low carb alcohol choices at a bar above, but if you miss classic sugar-laden mixed drinks, check out the list below for low carb drink recipes to make at home.

Low Carb Keto Cocktail Recipes

Now that you know everything you need to know about alcohol on keto, I’m excited to share some low carb keto cocktails that you can make at home!

These keto friendly, low carb alcoholic drink recipes are all naturally low in sugars and super easy to make:

  • Keto Skinny Margarita – This 5 ingredient skinny margarita low carb, paleo, and naturally sweetened.
  • Keto Mudslide – You won’t believe that this dessert drink is keto-friendly!
  • Skinny Raspberry Lime Rickey – This beautiful cocktail has just 16 calories and 4 grams of carbs per serving.
  • Low Carb Strawberry Daiquiri – Refreshing, light, and sweet.
  • Low Carb Raspberry Sangria – No need for extra sugars or juice in this low carb sangria recipe.
  • Tequila Lemonade – Best enjoyed outside on a hot day. It’s
  • Low Carb Margarita Sorbet – The perfect summer dessert for a Mexican meal.
  • Copycat Bailey’s Irish Cream – You’ll want to pour this decadent drink in just about everything.
  • Barbados Rum Punch – This one will have you feeling like you’re on the beach.
  • Tequila Sunset – This infused tequila gives great flavor to this drink, and looks pretty, too!
  • Wild Berry Mimosa – Perfect for parties, this bright drink is super festive.
  • Keto Low Carb Mojito – This is currently my favorite keto alcoholic drink recipe! My husband actually came up with it by modifying a mojito at a restaurant and asking them to leave out the simple syrup. You can order it at virtually any bar (just ask for a mojito with no simple syrup or sweetener of any kind), but it’s easy to make at home as well. Find this skinny mojito recipe below!

So there you have it. The Ultimate Guide to Keto Cocktails! As you’ve learned, there are many keto friendly alcohol drinks out there, and there’s no reason you can’t enjoy some keto cocktails in moderation. Cheers to that!

Sugar-Free Low Carb Skinny Mojito Recipe:
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More Low Carb Recipes To Love

Sugar-Free Low Carb Skinny Mojito Recipe

This sugar-free low carb skinny mojito recipe has just 3 grams carbs and is incredibly refreshing.

Course Drinks Cuisine American Keyword keto cocktails, low carb drinks, skinny mojito recipe Calories 109 kcal Prep Time 5 minutes Total Time 5 minutes Author Maya Krampf from WholesomeYum.com Servings 2 servings

Recipe Video

Click or tap on the image below to play the video. It’s the easiest way to learn how to make this recipe!

Ingredients

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  • 6 tbsp Lime juice
  • 16 leaves Fresh mint
  • 2 cups Ice cubes
  • 3 oz White rum (or tequila)
  • 1 cup Sparkling water (or enough to fill the glass)

Instructions

RECIPE TIPS + VIDEO in the post above, nutrition info + recipe notes below!

Click on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.

  1. Divide the lime juice and mint leaves among 2 glasses. Mash the mint leaves using a muddler or spoon.

  2. Fill the glasses almost to the top with ice.

  3. Add 1.5 fl oz (44 mL) tequila or rum to each glass. Fill the glasses to the top with carbonated water. Use a straw or muddler to stir.

Recipe Notes

Serving size: 1 glass, or 1/2 the recipe.

This drink is unsweetened, and tastes light and lime-y. If you want it sweet, you can add liquid natural sweetener, such as pure stevia or pure monk fruit drops to taste.

Video Showing How To Make Sugar-Free Mojitos:

Don’t miss the VIDEO above – it’s the easiest way to learn how to make Sugar-Free Mojitos!

Nutrition Information Per Serving

Nutrition Facts Amount per serving. Serving size in recipe notes above. Calories 109 Fat 0g Protein 0g Total Carbs 3g Net Carbs 3g Fiber 0g Sugar 0g

Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database. You can find individual ingredient carb counts we use in the Low Carb & Keto Food List. Carb count excludes sugar alcohols. Net carb count excludes both fiber and sugar alcohols, because these do not affect blood sugar in most people. We try to be accurate, but feel free to make your own calculations.

More Low Carb & Keto Support

If you want to know more about how to start a low carb diet, want to substitute sweeteners, need a food list, or need support, check these guides:

Low Carb & Keto Diet Plan
Starter Guide Sweetener Conversion Calculator Keto Low Carb Macro Calculator Low Carb Keto Food List + Printable PDF

© Copyright Maya Krampf for Wholesome Yum. We’d LOVE for you to share a link to this recipe, but please DO NOT COPY/PASTE the recipe instructions to social media or websites. You may share a photo with a link back instead.

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7 Drinks You Can Enjoy on the Keto Diet

The ketogenic diet is all about achieving ketosis, a metabolic state that burns fat for fuel, instead of carbohydrates or protein. To remain in that heightened fat-torching state, you need to limit your carb intake to 5-10% of your total calories. For most women, that translates to about 25-40 grams of carbs per day (about the amount in a single English muffin, or one glass of fruit juice)—which is why followers of the diet need to be so careful not only about what they eat, but what they drink too. To help you choose your sips wisely, here’s a list of seven keto-friendly drinks that’ll make it a little easier to meet your carb cap.

Water with lemon or lime

Still or sparking zero-calorie, zero-carb water is always going to be a dieter’s best choice. But go ahead and add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime to your glass. The sour juices have a negligible amounts of carbs. What’s more, drinking water before meals has been shown to be an effective way to help curb appetite.

Diet soda and other diet beverages

Most diet sodas and beverages sweetened with sugar substitutes have zero grams of carbs. Some keto purists may claim sugar subs are not actually keto-friendly, because they believe the sweet stuff increases cravings for carbs. But there is no evidence to suggest using carb-free sugar substitutes will interfere with your weight-loss efforts. (What’s more, many packaged keto snacks and foods made with carb-free sweeteners actually make it easier to stick to a keto lifestyle longer, so you can lose weight and keep it off.)

When selecting a diet drink, check the Nutrition Facts panel to make sure it contains less than 5 grams total sugars or 20 calories from carbs. Of course, you’ll need to count any carbohydrates in these beverages against your allotted daily carb budget.

Keep in mind that as a general rule, diet beverages that are clear have fewer questionable ingredients. There are also diet beverages, like Zevia, that are sweetened with all-natural stevia.

RELATED: 9 Fruits You Can Actually Eat on the Keto Diet

Coffee and tea (with cream, coconut oil, or butter)

If you like a dollop of butter whipped into your morning cup of Joe, you’ll be happy to learn that bulletproof coffee is indeed keto-friendly. When you blend fat like butter or coconut oil or heavy cream into your coffee or tea, you’re not adding carbs.

If you prefer a more traditional cup of coffee or tea, you’ll need to drink it either plain (or with sugar substitutes) and with very little milk since milk contributes some carbs.

Cow’s milk

On the keto diet you can drink some milk without disrupting ketosis. A ½ cup of milk has 6 grams of carbs (24 calories) while providing plenty of protein (4 grams), and much-needed nutrients like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin D.

RELATED: 5 Supplements You Should Take If You’re on the Keto Diet

Almond milk

Unsweetened almond milk has around 30 calories per 8-ounce serving and no sugar, making it a great option for those following a keto lifestyle. Look for brands that are fortified with calcium and vitamins A and D.

Keto smoothies

While many smoothies are super sugary thanks to the fruit and milk base, a quick Google search of “keto smoothie” or “low-carb smoothie” will return millions of recipes. The best way to keep carbs low and taste and satisfaction high is to make your smoothie base with fats like nut butters, avocado, or coconut oil. Then add in some low-carb veggies like leafy greens, cucumbers, celery or beets, and smaller amounts of fruits like berries, apples or pears. If you need liquid, use ice, water or unsweetened almond milk.

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Is Gatorade Zero Keto?

Explanation

Sweet, refreshing, and full of electrolytes, Gatorade is the perfect way to rehydrate after a workout. But the original formula is full of sugar — impossible for keto adherents to enjoy without exceeding their carb limits. Fortunately, now there’s Gatorade Zero, with none of the sugar and all of the electrolytes of the original formula.

It’s important to remember the ‘zero’ in Gatorade Zero refers to sugar. There are still carbs, and there are still calories, but with just 5 calories and 1 g of net carbs in a 20 oz bottle, there aren’t very many. The non-sugar carbs come from the drink’s natural flavoring.

The artificial sweeteners sucralose and acesulfame potassium give Gatorade Zero its sweet-without-sugar flavor. While some sweeteners can have negative health impacts, more than 100 FDA-reviewed studies support the safety of these two sweeteners.

Sports drinks love to boast that they’re full of electrolytes, but few people really understand what electrolytes are or how they affect the body. Sodium and potassium, Gatorade Zero’s two primary electrolytes, are responsible for regulating muscle function. Heavy exercise can drain your electrolytes, leaving your muscles tired, dehydrated, and cramped. After a tough workout or long hike, the quick shot of electrolytes in Gatorade Zero can help you recover.

Although you’re less likely to be drinking alcohol on the keto diet, electrolyte depletion is part of what makes hangovers so unpleasant. If you’re ever suffering after a night of heavy drinking, Gatorade Zero can help you feel better in a keto-friendly fashion.

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If you are about to begin the Keto diet, you may have heard about the Keto Flu. This is one way your body reacts to the drastic changes in the foods you are used to eating. As your body begins to go into ketosis, you may have reactions that, for some, feel like the flu. These tips are to help you learn How to Deal with the Keto Flu!

How to Deal with the Keto Flu

To begin, don’t forget to check out our tips for How to start the Keto diet and our easy Beginner Keto Diet Shopping List. Both of these posts will help lead you in the right direction right away! Your health journey will take off and you’ll start feeling great and losing weight in no time!

If you aren’t sure if you have the Keto Flu, the following are common symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Exhaustion, sleepiness, fatigue
  • Foggy brain or struggles to concentrate

Test regularly for ketosis

Using the keto urinalysis test strips on a regular basis in the first few days and weeks of your keto journey will help you to understand your body and reactions. As you begin to see changes in your diet happening, your body will react by going into ketosis. Using the test strips will help you to determine if what you are eating and your portion of carbohydrates each day is right for your body and working. Yes, you can feel ill for many reasons, so doing the tests a lot at first helps make sure you know you are on the right track.

I like to use the Smackfat Ketone Test Strips. They are affordable and work great.

Stay well hydrated

Staying hydrated will help you during the keto flu process. It usually doesn’t last long, but you don’t want to compound the issue by getting dehydrated. As your body adjusts to changes, it needs extra fluids to help.

Keep sugar free electrolytes on hand

Electrolytes are much needed during the Keto flu. Most people reach for Gatorade or Powerade when looking for electrolytes, but these are sugar laden and not Keto Friendly. Instead, look for sugar-free versions like the G2 or Powerade Zero options. While you want to be careful about sugar substitutes as well (they can stall your loss), you need to make sure your body is provided with electrolytes. So, a few here and there won’t hurt.

Another option that is more preferred by many is to use bone broth as a way to stay hydrated. This is an excellent source of nutrients and is a much healthier option that is recommended by most experts.

Eat more fat and watch protein intake

This may seem like an oxymoron since protein is the core of the Keto diet, however, too much can create issues in the early days. Focus on healthy fats like avocado, coconut, olives, and cheeses to help fuel your body. Don’t overdo the protein, but stay on the low end of recommended macros for your body.

More Keto Tips:

Top Keto Diet Pantry Must Haves

Beginner Keto Meal Plan

Summer Keto Weekly Menu Plan

How to Meal Prep for the Keto Diet

Melissa is a soccer mom who has been married to her best friend for 21 years. She loves sharing recipes, travel reviews and tips that focus on helping busy families make memories.

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8 of the Best Keto-Friendly Drinks

If you’re on a ketogenic diet, you’re super focused on what you’re eating (and especially what you’re not eating). But don’t forget that what you sip can set you up for success, too.

Why Staying Hydrated Is Crucial on the Keto Diet

In the beginning stages of a keto diet, when your body is adapting to severely restricting carbohydrates, your body’s hydration status will shift. After all, your body stores carbohydrates as glycogen, which holds onto water. Exhaust these glycogen stores, and you’re going to dump water weight with it. What’s more, taking out processed foods from your diet — which are traditionally higher in sodium — can also affect your body’s electrolyte and fluid balance because salt can lead to water retention.

“Hydration is difficult for many on the keto diet, especially in the beginning. You need to make sure you’re drinking a lot of water and replenishing electrolytes,” says Kendra Whitmire, a nutritionist and dietitian in Laguna Beach, California, who practices functional and therapeutic nutrition.

RELATED: 8 Steps Beginners Should Take on the Keto Diet

Drinks You Should Try to Avoid on the Keto Diet

Avoid sugar-sweetened drinks (like soda) and fruit juice (even 100 percent juice) because they’re packed with sugar, and thus carbs. Dairy milk is also high in carbs, so it’s not keto-friendly. Skip (or at the very least, limit) diet drinks, too, says Jill Keene, RDN, who’s in private practice in White Plains, New York. Some artificial sweeteners may negatively affect blood sugar, she says.

Is Diet Coke Allowed on Keto?

While beverages such as Diet Coke (or diet soda in general) are technically keto-compliant, they may lead you to crave more. A review published in January 2019 in BMJ suggested these artificially sweetened sips may trick the body into craving the calories and carbs it believes it’s getting from the diet soda. When your body realizes it isn’t, you may make up for it by overeating.

Regardless of whether that effect would hold true on keto, you have a lot of better, tasty drink options. Here are eight great drinks if you’re on this plan:

The ketogenic diet is known for being restrictive. The low-carb, high-fat diet only allows you to get about 10% of your daily calories come from carbs — and to maintain ketosis (the process by which your body uses fat as an energy source rather than carbs), dietitians say it’s best to keep your carb intake between 20-30 grams per day.

Naturally, this means you’ll have to ration out your carbs for when you really, really want them. This means that you probably won’t be drinking your favorite sugary beverages on the Keto Diet. Even so-called “healthy” drinks are chock-full of carbs: an eight-ounce glass of orange juice, for instance, has 27 grams of carbohydrates.

So what can you sip freely and what should your avoid? Here’s a handy keto-friendly beverage guide.

Can you drink juice on the keto diet?

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Only if it’s diet or reduced sugar juice. Most fruit juices are high in carbs, which makes them almost impossible to drink on the Keto Diet, according to Dr. Mike Israetel, a sports nutrition consultant and former professor of exercise science at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. Case in point: eight ounces of cranberry juice has 30 grams of carbs. Apple juice? That’s roughly 24 grams of carbs.

That said, there are diet or reduced sugar juices that contain minimal carbohydrates. These products are packaged similarly to the full-calorie versions, so Israetel says you’ll need to read the nutrition label to ensure your juices are really low-carb.

Can you drink tea and coffee on the keto diet?

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Yes. Plain, unsweetened coffee and tea served black are keto-friendly. If you drink your coffee with milk, however, that may be a problem, as one cup of whole milk has almost 13 grams of carbs. If you’re on the keto diet, Israetel recommends using heavy cream. A tablespoon has less than one gram of carbohydrates. There are even new, flavored creamers specifically for people who miss flavored coffee or tea on the Keto Diet. Try nut pods French vanilla dairy-free creamer ($14.20 per pack of 4, buy it here). Be careful of bottled coffee drinks, which may be loaded with carbs. Good, on-the-go option are unsweetened sparkling teas, like Sound and BOS, that are super flavoful without added sugar. Coffee addicts have plenty of options unsweetened options, like RISE.

Can you drink soda on the Keto Diet?

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No, but diet soda is OK on keto in moderation. Unsurprisingly, regular soft drinks are out, as a single 12-ounce can of Pepsi has 41 grams of carbohydrates. If you want to satisfy your soda craving, you’ll have to opt for diet sodas, which use artificial sweeteners. The same serving of Diet Pepsi ($4.99/pack of 12, buy it here) has zero carbs. Those who prefer natural sweeteners may want to check out Zevia, which uses Stevia to create calorie-free versions of cream soda, root beer, and cola ($24.99/24 pack, buy it here).

According to Israetel, the fake sugars won’t knock you out of ketosis. But he does say that artificial sugars, in addition to raising numerous health concerns, may trigger cravings that cause people to eat more. Numerous studies in insects and mice have linked overeating to consumption of synthetic sugars, presumably because the substance triggers cravings for more sugar, Scientific American reported.

Can you drink booze on the Keto Diet?

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Not really. Hardcore keto followers may want to avoid happy hour altogether, as alcohol “stops fat loss dead in its tracks,” Israetel says. Drinking alcohol temporarily bumps you out of ketosis, and it’ll also mean that you’ll get drunker faster, so you have to be careful.

Don’t want to give up booze, but still want to burn fat? Beer and wine are high in carbs, so you’ll want to stick to liquor, like vodka or whiskey, and drink it on the rocks. Going out for cocktails will also prove difficult, but you can easily make a low-carb mojito or margarita at home.

Can you drink protein shakes on the keto diet?

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Yes. Protein shakes are an easy on-the-go breakfast for keto dieters who can’t just pick up a smoothie. In fact, Israetel says chocolate protein powders make a great addition to coffee if you’re used to picking up a mocha on your way to the office.

Of course, not all protein powders are low in carbohydrates, so you’ll have to check the label. Israetel recommends a powder that contains casein protein, which is digested slowly to help you stay full longer. Or, you could try a protein powder formulated to be nearly carb-free for keto dieters.

One scoop of Perfect Keto protein powder ($37.04, buy it here) has only a single gram of carbs.

Can you drink almond milk on the keto diet?

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Yes. However, you’ll want to double check the label since some almond milks have added sugars that drive up the carbs. Plain unsweetened almond milk, like this one from Elmhurst, only has three grams of carbs per cup.

Can you drink soy milk on the keto diet?

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Yes! Unsweetened soy milk is a great alternative to traditional milk and won’t eat up your carbs. For example, one cup of regular unsweetened soy milk contains four grams of carbs. However, you’ll want to make sure to purchase unsweetened or flavored varieties as certain options can drive up carb count–and kick you out of ketosis.

Can you drink dairy milk on the keto diet?

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Yes, but you’ll have to be careful of serving size! Be sure to pick whole milk for the higher fat content and measure how much you drink. A single cup of whole milk has almost 12 grams of carbohydrates, which takes up nearly half of some dieters’ daily carb allowance.

Can you drink matcha on the keto diet?

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Yes, and it’s a great for people who miss their favorite sugary Starbucks drinks. Of course, you’ll have to check the label to ensure there’s no added sugar, but many brands offer low-carb mixes. For example, RSP Matcha Bomb only has two grams of carbs per scoop.

Can you drink milkshakes on the keto diet?

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Yup! Typically high in fat, milkshakes could be keto-friendly if prepared correctly. You’ll want to use low-carb bases–try mixing unsweetened almond milk and heavy cream. Then, add a tablespoon of nut butter that’s lower in carbohydrates, like FBomb Macadamia & Pecan, which only has four grams of carbohydrates per serving. You can’t add sugar, but stevia drops are a keto-friendly sweetener.

Can you drink smoothies on the keto diet?

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Only if you’re super careful about measuring ingredients! You’ll need to pick a low-carb base like unsweetened almond milk, add in a keto-friendly matcha or protein powder, plenty of ice and only a small amount of fruit. Berries have the lowest carbs, and are the safest bet. For example, a half-cup of blueberries comes in at around 10 grams of carbs. Be warned: enjoying a smoothie means you’ll have to skimp on carbs for the rest of your meals and snacks.

Can you drink energy drinks on the keto diet?

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This is another situation where you need to pay attention to labels. Some energy drinks can have upwards of 30 grams of carbs, so you’ll need to choose a sugar-free option, which lowers carb count. Zevia energy drinks are sweetened with Stevia and include no calories.

Melissa Matthews Health Writer Melissa Matthews is the Health Writer at Men’s Health, covering the latest in food, nutrition, and health.

How Can Zero-Calorie Diet Soda Be Bad for You?

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Nutrition facts are supposed to be reliable. After all, they’re regulated by the government and they’re the most convenient way to get the low-down on what you put into your body. If you’re looking to monitor your intake of calories, carbs, sugar or fat, you’re probably checking the nutrition facts of everything you eat.

But labels don’t always tell the full story. Perhaps nothing illustrates that fact better than one of the most popular beverages in America—diet soda. The nutrition facts of many diet sodas seem amazingly innocuous for such a tasty drink. For example, Diet Coke has zero calories, zero grams of fat, zero grams of sugar and no carbs. Nowadays, almost every diet soda on the market has no calories, sugar, fat or carbs. Compared to regular soda, which is packed with calories, carbs and sugar, diet soda seems like a nutritional angel. Heck, it even has the word diet right in the name.

However, ask almost any nutritionist about their thoughts on diet soda and they’ll tell you those zeroes on the label don’t necessarily mean its harmless. For example, a recent study linked diet soda to obesity. How can a drink that has almost no nutrients in it, both good and bad, have such an effect on our bodies? STACK talked to Ryan Andrews, nutrition coach at Precision Nutrition, and Leslie Bonci, director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, to find out how diet soda can wreak havoc on your health.

Zero Calories, Full Taste

How does diet soda manage to taste so good despite being devoid of calories, sugar and carbs? It’s not magic—it’s artificial sweetener. Artificial sweeteners go by many names, and they give diet soda the taste you love.

“Most diet sodas are sweetened with aspartame,” Andrews says. “Others include stevia, sucralose, erythritol and acesulfame potassium. Some sodas contain a mix of article sweeteners.”

Those artificial sweeteners are the key to diet soda’s squeaky clean nutrition facts. Regular soda has real sugar, and with real sugar comes calories and carbohydrates. A single gram of sugar contains roughly one gram of carbohydrates and four calories. By avoiding sugar, diet soda avoids all of those calories and carbs that come with it.

For example, a can of regular Coca-Cola has 140 calories and 39 grams of carbs—almost all of which are a by-product of its 39 grams of sugar. “Diet soda can have no calories, carbs or sugar because it replaces sugar with artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are much sweeter than sugar. So it’s possible to use a very small amount for the sweet taste and have a very low level of calories,” Andrews says. Indeed, some article sweeteners are actually 600 times as sweet as sugar.

‘No Calories’ Doesn’t Mean No Worries

But what makes artificial sweeteners bad for you? If they don’t contribute a high number of calories, carbs, sugar or fat to your beverage, how can they negatively affect your body?

“There are a lot of theories on this,” Andrews says. “For one, artificial sweeteners might alter our ability to actually process sugar in the body.” With their sweet taste, artificial sweeteners can trick our brains into thinking we’re ingesting actual sugar when we consume them.

When your body thinks it’s getting sugar, it expects to receive calories.

“The sweet taste of diet soda may be a stimulus for the brain to say, ‘incoming calories, let’s eat,'” Bonci says.

When it doesn’t actually get those calories, your body gets confused. Over time, this behavior could wreak havoc on how your body releases insulin, the hormone that helps turn sugar into energy. If your body has adapted to artificial sweetener consumption, it might not release the proper levels of insulin when you consume actual sugar. This can lead to sugar remaining in the blood stream, which can cause things like diabetes and hyperglycemia.

Furthermore, by tricking your body into thinking it’s going to get calories, artificial sweeteners leave you susceptible to subsequent overeating. “Since the body and brain aren’t actually getting calories or carbs, we might get signals for strong rebound cravings after consuming artificial sweeteners,” Andrews says.

A recent study found diet soda drinkers consume a comparable amount of total calories per day as regular soda drinkers. That means they’re eating more calories from solid food than regular soda drinkers, filling in any caloric deficit they might be creating from their zero-calorie soda consumption. “Less calories in your glass may lead to more on your plate,” Bonci says.

Artificial sweeteners may also change the way foods taste to us. “Our taste buds calibrate to what we’re used to,” Andrews says. “If someone is drinking highly sweetened diet soda each day, then other naturally sweet foods, such as fruit, likely won’t taste as sweet or be appealing. Then they gravitate toward even more highly processed and sugary foods in their diet.”

Studies have shown diet soda drinker’s brains actually look different than non diet soda drinkers. One study found that as a participant’s diet soda consumption increased, an area of their brain known as the “caudate head” diminished in activity. The caudate head plays a role in food motivation and satiety, and helps send the signal that the sweet taste of sugar equals incoming calories. If this part of the brain isn’t active, your body won’t help you naturally regulate your consumption of sugary snacks. Decreased activity in this area has been linked with an increased risk of obesity.

Fizzy Addiction

Many experts agree downing an occasional diet soda won’t do you much harm. “If you’re an otherwise healthy person, and your biggest vice is a diet soda a couple times per week, you probably don’t have much to worry about,” Andrews says.

However, many diet soda drinkers don’t follow that pattern of consumption. Many guzzle diet soda at all hours of the day, almost like it’s an addiction. The most obvious answer to this behavior is diet soda’s caffeine content. Regular consumption of caffeine can lead to a dependence upon it just like substances such as alcohol or cigarettes. But caffeine might not play the only role.

The sweet taste of article sweeteners has shown to be addictive as well. In an animal study, rats were more easily addicted to saccharin, a calorie-free artificial sweetener used in Tab soda, than they were cocaine. Diet soda makes it exceptionally easy to get addicted to that sweet taste, as it’s achieved without the easily noticeable negative side effects of sugar consumption (such as crashes).

Ultimately, a diet soda now and again won’t hurt you. But if you’re downing several a day and think you’re not having a negative impact on your health, you’re mistaken. If you love the fizzy taste, go for a smarter alternative. “Opt for seltzer or soda water, there are some with hints of flavor and they don’t contain artificial sweeteners,” Bonci says.

RELATED: 5 Drinks You Had No Idea Were As Bad As (or Worse Than) Soda

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Is Diet Coke Keto?

Louise Hendon | April 10

Tasty, energizing, low in carbohydrates and zero sugar – the perfect keto drink. Or is it? What I have described is diet coke, one of the most popular low-calorie sodas on the market.

But can you drink it safely on a keto diet?

It’s Delicious and Low Carb…So Can I Drink Diet Coke on Keto?

I’m going to jump the gun and just state the obvious…

Diet coke isn’t healthy, but the occasional diet coke will not ruin your keto diet!

What you need to understand though, is that diet sodas cannot be justified from a nutritional standpoint. These drinks are not healthy and should not be a regular feature of any healthy diet.

Beginners on the keto diet often think it is OK to eat unhealthy foods as long as it’s low carb and keeps your ketone levels high.

You might be able to get some results that way in the short term, but your long-term health will be affected.

Keto is a great way to help you lose weight, but you should achieve ketosis using a healthy keto diet. That means you have to cut out unhealthy foods like diet coke, or at least minimize your intake dramatically.

Bottom Line:

Avoid diet coke on Keto – it’s not nutritious even if it is low carb.

Like I wrote above, I’m stating the obvious here, but you might want to dig a bit further…

Diet coke could make you fat…

I know this is a controversial topic, so let me explain.

Yes, diet coke does not contain any calories and calories do play a part in weight-loss and weight-gain. So, technically, diet coke in the abstract doesn’t make you gain weight.

But your weight isn’t just determined by calories in and calories out…

In particular, the artificial sweeteners in diet sodas (like aspartame in diet Coke or sucralose in diet Pepsi) could be to blame. (1)

As the author of this mini-review (1) explains:

while people often choose “diet” or “light” products to lose weight, research studies suggest that artificial sweeteners may contribute to weight gain.

For example, the San Antonio Heart Study found that people who drank diet soda had higher BMIs. (2)

And in another study where participants replaced regular sugary soda with diet soda, there wasn’t a meaningful reduction in BMI over the length of the study (25 weeks) except for the participants with the most weight to lose. (3)

There are several possible reasons for the link between diet sodas and weight-gain:

  1. Artificial sweeteners can enhance appetites just like regular sugar. (4) Health Coach Nathan Marsala notes, “Artificial sweeteners alter our cravings and the reward centers in the brain and gut that results in cravings for more sugary foods and simple carbohydrates.”
  2. Compensatory overeating: you are likely to eat more calories when you drink diet sodas to overcompensate for the zero calories in your drink. (5) Registered Nurse Juli Romero, RN calls this the “Hamburger, large fries, and a diet soda please” syndrome. She explains, “Consuming artificial sweeteners and no calorie drinks can lead to eating more food and calories due to feeling ‘ok’ with larger portions because of the calories ‘saved’ by having a diet drink.”
  3. Lack of nutrients in artificial sweeteners could make you want to eat more because you don’t feel satisfied after eating. (6)

Bottom Line:

Even though diet coke has zero calories, it could still lead to unhealthy eating habits, overeating, and potential weight gain.

And diet coke might kick you out of ketosis

Even if you think you can control your appetite and not overeat, it’s possible that drinking diet coke could knock you out of ketosis.

Debates about what will and won’t lower your ketone levels are a constant feature of the keto diet community.

While there’s no definitive scientific evidence, several n=1 self-experiments have shown that diet sodas could lower your ketone levels. (7, 8)

The reason for the decreased ketone levels could be because artificial sweeteners like aspartame in diet coke raise insulin levels and thereby decreases ketone levels.

So, when you drink diet sodas like diet coke, you could be:

  • Increasing your insulin levels
  • Reducing your ketone levels.
  • Knocking yourself out of ketosis.

Bottom Line:

Diet coke may be tasty and have no calories or carbohydrates, but it could raise your insulin and thereby reduce your ketones levels. If you are looking to boost your ketone levels, listen in here.

Is Aspartame Safe? The Jury Is Still Out

Aspartame is the sweetener in diet coke as well as coke zero, and it’s also known by the brand names NutraSweet, Equal, Sweet One. It has been used as an artificial sweetener for a long time, and countless hours of research have been dedicated to researching it.

Dr. Christiane Northrup, M.D., says that Diet Coke has an addictive quality. “It is a combination of aspartame, which is an excitotoxin that actually kills brain cells, but before they die, there’s this sort of heightened jolt to the brain, aspartame and caffeine. And caffeine, of course, is a neurotoxin, but it’s okay in small doses. But the combination of aspartame and caffeine is particularly addictive in certain kinds of brains.”

Despite all the scrutiny, it’s still unclear whether aspartame is safe or not. In general, there seem to be 3 potential concerns about aspartame:

Aspartame Leads To The Creation of ‘Free Methanol’

One worrying effect of aspartame is the way it is broken down into methanol in your body. (9) As a chemical, methanol occurs naturally and can be found in other sweet drinks, but the methanol found in aspartame works in very unnatural ways.

The key difference between naturally occurring methanol and the methanol found in aspartame is how it is processed. Natural methanol is generally bound to pectin, which allows it to pass through the digestive system without entering the bloodstream.

Methanol found in aspartame is only lightly bound to the phenylalanine molecule and separates easily, becoming ‘free methanol’. This molecule of methanol can then easily be converted to formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. (10)

However, many other foods (including fruit juice) create way more methanol than aspartame-sweetened drinks. So the levels found in diet coke is not considered dangerous.

Aspartame Could Decrease Serotonin Levels

One of the compounds aspartame is broken down into is phenylalanine, and the presence of phenylalanine above natural levels could decrease serotonin levels. (12)

Reduced serotonin levels have been linked to a variety of disorders, including depression. (13)

But I Heard Aspartame Causes Cancer

The American Cancer Society (ACS) states:

“Most studies in people have not found that aspartame use is linked to an increased risk of cancer.” (14)

And the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) found no “potential risk of aspartame causing damage to genes and inducing cancer” after examining hundreds of studies. (15)

While there have been some studies linking aspartame to cancer, the vast majority of studies seem to suggest no link is present. And that’s what the ACS, FDA, and EFSA have based their recommendations on.

Bottom Line:

There’s not much good scientific evidence linking aspartame to serious health issues, but that doesn’t mean you should go out and consume lots of it. Just because it might not be harmful doesn’t mean it’s healthy!

Drink these Keto sodas instead of diet coke:

It is not all doom and gloom though. There are many keto-friendly drinks.

These keto-friendly sodas have been crafted to give you that tasty drink you crave, while keeping you firmly in fat burning ketosis:

  • LaCroix, a sweetener-free fizzy drink that uses a blend of natural flavors.
  • Homemade sodas, where you combine sparkling water with the flavorings and sweeteners of your choice.
  • If you are really concerned about what goes into your body, this is the best option. For specific recipes, check out this massive list of keto drink recipes.

As Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Michelle Dudash, RDN, says, “The end goal…should be to reduce the amount of soda, regardless of the type. It’s prudent to replace artificially sweetened foods with more nutrient-rich, lower sugar foods.”

Bottom Line:

Skip the diet coke and make your own Keto drinks instead. Or else give flavored sodas like LaCroix a try.

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