If a certain diet allows you to eat delicious food and it results in drastic weight loss, reduced appetite, controlled blood sugar levels, whiter teeth, glowing youthful skin and so on – then it’s no wonder that more and more people are joining in to discover the benefits for themselves. The Ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diet that also treats epilepsy in children, reduces the total cholesterol and even fights acne.
But how can you be on a diet and still have a social life? The desire for a perfectly healthy body as well as a happy social life is quite easy on a keto diet as there are certain alcoholic drinks that help you quench your desires while maintaining the state of ketosis. To know which drinks kick you out of ketosis, let’s take a quick look at how a keto diet works.
How the Keto Diet Affects Your Body
The keto diet alters the primary energy source of your body. In a keto diet, the carb levels are kept at a minimum, so the body cannot depend on glucose for energy. Your body turns to the fat sources in the diet and then the stored body fat for the fuel it needs.
The liver uses the available fatty acids and converts them to energy. This process is called Ketosis and the byproducts are called ketones. Thus the stored fat gets depleted and your body weight gradually comes down giving you a toned figure along with numerous other health benefits.
Alcohol on a Keto Diet
Alcohol is infamously known as the fourth macronutrient. When you have alcohol, your body gets the signal that a toxic substance is present. It will then send all its resources to assist the liver and to process the toxin out of the body as quickly as possible. As the liver becomes busy with all these activities, fat oxidation and the ketone production gets disrupted. The effectiveness of the keto diet gets reduced.
Alcohol tolerance is lower when on a keto diet, and it is aggravated if intermittent fasting is incorporated into the diet. On a low-carbohydrate diet, glycogen stores get depleted and you will be running on fats instead of glucose. So, the alcohol will be metabolized by the liver much faster than someone with high glycogen stores to burn through. This means that people on a Keto diet might ‘get drunk’ very easily.
It is also noteworthy that people on Keto diets react to the drinks very differently. Some people can enjoy cheat drinks to an extent while others just can’t. So keep a watch on your ketone levels. If ketone levels drop too much after having your drinks, then it is better you avoid it the next time around.
Alcohol provides empty calories- meaning they have no nutritional benefits such as vitamins or minerals. So it’s best not to keep alcohol as a regular part of the Keto diet.
So no matter what, the first thing to keep in mind is to keep your alcohol consumption at a minimum even if you choose keto-safe alcoholic beverages. Now let’s take a look at what are the keto-safe alcoholic beverages.
Keto-safe Alcoholic Beverages
Alcohol is a colorless, volatile, flammable liquid produced by the fermentation of natural sugars. The yeast acts on a sugar compound to make both carbon dioxide and the alcohol. But, all alcoholic drinks are not created equal. The type of sugar compound used and the ingredients in the drink mixture are what determines how intoxicating the alcoholic drink will be.
For example, beer is produced by the fermentation of barley, hops, and water. The main ingredient is barley which is broken down to sugar maltose on which the yeast acts and the alcohol is produced. Beer is rich in carbohydrates – meaning it will increase the level of glucose in your blood and thus kick you out of ketosis.
The drinks which are termed as Keto-safe are listed below:
- Vodka – Straight vodka or flavored ones with no added syrups or other sugars are safe.
- Tequila – Usually does not contain added sugars or flavorings, so it’s a good zero-carb choice.
- Whiskey, Scotch – These are dark liquors but they are still zero carb and therefore keto-friendly drinks.
- Rum – Generally all forms of Rum are zero carb unless they have been flavored.
- Gin, Brandy, and Cognac.
The Keto Safe Chasers
Chasers and mixers enhance the taste of a drink substantially. But chasers and mixers usually contain added sugars and flavorings. So stick to the safe carb and sugar-free additions such as:
- Diet tonic water
- Seltzer water
- Erythritol or stevia instead of sugar
- Sugar-free carbonated water
- Bitters – natural herbs infused into the alcohol to make it more concentrated.
- Water Enhancer – can be added with sparkling water or normal water to mix with the alcohol
- Sugar-free or diet drinks – those are sweetened with natural sugar-free options like erythritol or stevia
The Top 3 Keto Alcoholic Drinks
- Champagne or dry sparkling wine – one glass contains about only 1 grams of net carbs. The driest versions are safer and it can be consumed with food or as a stand-alone drink.
- Dry wine – red or white – one glass contains about 2 grams of net carbs. This is also safe on a Keto diet.
- “Skinny Bitch” – one long drink contains 0 grams of carbs. The main constituents are vodka, soda water, and lime. It is refreshing and sparkling.
A Word of Caution
Undoubtedly, a glass of wine or a shot of liquor is something you don’t have to resist on a Keto diet. The Keto Alcohol rules can be summarised as follows:
- Keep a tab on the ketone levels as it indicated whether the ketosis is on or off.
- Alcohol is equivalent to drinking sugar water. So moderate drinking is the key.
- Anything that tastes sweet is not keto-friendly.
- Going clear is the safest way.
Needless to say that sugar is hidden everywhere. Sweet wines, sugary mixers, flavored alcohols, syrups, juices, fruit add-ins etc. are the ones you need to be very careful about. Even the innocent Gin and tonic can have more than 30g of carbs in it. Stick with the hard liquor and avoid sugary drinks like beer to maintain Ketosis. There are people who have experienced their worst hangovers while on a Keto diet. Drinking plenty of water helps reduce such a hangover. Choose your drinks wisely and continue on with your keto journey.