And then, suddenly, a special occasion happens. It could be a wedding, a birthday, or a concert. It might just be one of those nights out that you've been looking forward to for a long time (so you can show off that new waistline). No matter what the cause for getting together, it's pretty common for people to drink alcohol when they gather. If you don't drink, there's no need to worry about this dietary quandary; please continue crushing it. If you do, you might want to consider alcohol's effect on ketosis and do a little planning before you go off into the night.
The short answer is yes, you can drink certain kinds of alcohol on Keto. Read on for some insight into the best choices.
Beer: Not the BestThe emphasis on extra-low carb and sugar intake is what makes Keto the weight loss weapon it is. Since we have to stay under our daily limits in order to stay in ketosis, that (nearly) eliminates one entire genre of alcoholic drinks: beer.
Beer tends to be high in carbohydrates and sugars. Many dieters avoid beer as a general rule, no matter what diet they're using. The hops, grains, and yeast in beer all contribute to its high carb count. The brewing process for each beer differs greatly based on desired alcohol by volume (ABV) and strength of flavor, but it's usually safe to assume the darker, heavier, and more flavorful the beer, the higher the carbs. Losing weight requires many a change and often a sacrifice, so it might be time to look into other forms of alcohol besides these carb-and-sugar bombs.
If you're a die-hard brew drinker, there are some lighter options available. Low-carb and even no-carb beers do indeed exist, they just might be harder to find and might leave something to be desired in terms of flavor. They're getting more popular in New Zealand as more people look to the low-carb life for health and happiness. DB Export 33 has only 1.5 carbs per serving. Heineken Light is another popular choice. It's a good idea to try and figure out what beers will be sold where you're going. And once there, if you must drink beer, have a plan to stay under your carb limits.
Wine: WiserWine seems to be the most popular alcoholic beverage among followers of Keto. A bit of quick research shows that a glass of wine has, on average, 4 grams of carbs per glass and a significantly higher ABV than beer. The carbs in wine come from leftover, or residual, sugars that don't ferment during the winemaking process. The carb content of wine is more or less the same for reds and whites but sugar content can vary greatly wine by wine.
Some wines are sweeter than others. Just because a wine has low carbs doesn't mean the sugar count isn't off the charts. Be sure to choose dry wines. In fact, a dry bubbly white, or Brut Champagne, is a classic weight loss go-to drink with around 2.8 grams of carbs per glass. Other wines that are popular among Keto dieters are Saugivnon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and dry Riesling. We've all got the internet, so it's possible to do a quick nutrition facts check on any specific wine you want to order.
Spirits: SaferGood news for the spirit drinker: whiskey, tequila, rum, vodka, and gin are completely carb-free! Many practitioners of Keto love to sip whiskey on the rocks for this very reason. Spirits also go well with mixers, but most "mixed drinks" sold in bars aren't the way to go because they're usually extremely sugary and very high in calories. It's better to use sparkling water (soda water), diet soda, or sugar-free tonic water as a mixer. A lot of people look to sugar-free seltzers like La Croix or Waterloo to add fizz and fruity flavor without the carbs, sugar, or calories.
It's important to know that the body uses alcohol as fuel first. When you're drinking, whether or not you're in ketosis, your body is taking in that alcohol and burning it as its number one energy priority, before fat, carbs, and sugars. Although your glass of fine whiskey is not going to throw you out of ketosis, it will cause your body to skip burning fat for the duration. In other words, drinking spirits or alcohol of any kind will most certainly stall the weight loss process.