Can You Drink Alcohol and Stay in Ketosis?

minute read | Last update: Jul 4th2022

This article is backed by studies and reviewed by a certified dietician.

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According to a 2021 Gallup poll, in 2019, 65 percent of legal adults in the United States consumed alcohol that year. In 2020, it was 60 percent. Although that’s lower than average, most people enjoy an alcoholic beverage from time to time. You used to as well, but now that you’ve started the keto diet, you’re not so sure if you should. Can you stay in ketosis if you drink alcohol?


Whether you can drink alcohol and stay in ketosis depends on the alcohol you choose. Light beer tends to contain about 3 grams of carbs per bottle, which isn’t bad. Most beer though has upwards of 13 grams of carbs. Whisky, Rum, Vodka etc. are all considered "keto friendly" because they contain very low amounts of carbs. Watch also what you eat when you drink, as most bar food is carb-heavy!


In this guide to keto-friendly alcoholic drinks, we’ll go through your favorite wines, beers, and spirits to assess which will allow you to stay in ketosis and which could knock you right out of that fat-burning state. You won’t want to miss it!

Is There Room in the Keto Diet for Alcohol?

First, we want to make clear that keto dieters can absolutely enjoy an alcoholic beverage or two on occasion if they’re of legal age and they drink responsibly. This section will guide you towards beverages to consider as well as those you should avoid.

Beer

According to food resource Tastessence, across the globe, as many as 20,000 beer brands exist. Those include all your favorites like Busch, Corona, Heineken, Bud, Coors, and Beck’s as well as thousands and thousands more you have likely never heard of.


When you’re at the game with your buddies, hanging out at a bar, or with colleagues at a social function, you like to reach for a beer. If so, then stick with the light versions of your favorite brands.


A bottle of Busch Light contains 3.2 grams of carbs in one 12-ounce bottle. Coors Light has 5 grams of carbs. Even Bud Light has only 7 grams but be careful if you like to have one more than bottle while enjoying time out.


Two bottles of Bud Light would be 14 grams of carbs, and on a 20 or 30-gram limit, you’re cutting into the carbs you can eat for the rest of the day.


Non-light beer is not very keto-friendly. One bottle of Heineken beer contains 11 grams of carbs, a bottle of Corona Extra has 14 grams, and a bottle of Guinness also has 14 grams.

Wine

Unlike beer and spirits, wine poses some health benefits.


Red wine is full of antioxidants, and it may be able to lower bad cholesterol. Further, wine can control your blood sugar, boost heart health, and possibly even help you maintain your weight.


All this is assuming, of course, that you enjoy wine in moderation, drinking one to two glasses a day, which is no more than 300 milliliters.


So where–if anywhere–does wine fit into the keto diet?


There’s definitely room for wine in the keto diet! Whether it’s white wine, red wine, or sparkling wine, a glass contains 2 grams of carbs in 150 milliliters or 5 ounces.


You could have the requisite two glasses per day and only ingest 4 grams of carbs. Even on a tight requirement of 20 grams of carbs per day, that’d give you about 15 grams of carbs to work with for the rest of the day.

Spirits

Maybe you’re more of a cocktail guy or gal. As was the case with beer, depending on which cocktail whets your appetite, you might have to cut back on the keto diet, or you can continue to enjoy the beverage periodically.


Whiskey has zero grams of carbs per serving, as does brandy. You can down a few tequila shots and you’ll contribute zero grams of carbs to your macros. Vodka and soda water has no carbs, and neither does a dry martini.


However, the amount of carbs in your favorite spirits goes up quite steeply from there. The classic bloody Mary has 7 grams of carbs while a margarita has 8 grams.


If you drank two margs at brunch, you’d have already chewed through 16 grams of carbs for the day. On a diet of 20 grams of carbs, you’d have to go without carbs for the rest of the day.

Spirits get even more carb-heavy from there. The classy cosmopolitan has 13 grams of carbs per serving. A refreshing gin and tonic will load you up with 14 grams of carbs, as will a white Russian.


Do you like vodka and orange juice? This boozy beverage has 18 grams of carbs per glass while a rum and coke is the most egregious at 22 grams of carbs.


Even on a generous diet of 40 grams of carbs per day, you’d be over the 40 grams if you drank two rum and cokes.


We’d recommend saving most spirits outside of whiskey, dry martini, brandy, and tequila for your cheat days. Otherwise, you’re spending almost all your carbs for the day on one drink.


Here's a full list of alcoholic keto drinks that you can have on the keto diet.

Watch Your Bar Snacking when you're on a keto diet!

When you kick back with some alcoholic beverages and time out with your buddies, you’re not just drinking. You’re probably eating too. Here is a list of common pub grub and the nutrition content for each.

  • Wings: 43 calories, 0 grams of carbs, 1.7 grams of fat, and 6.4 grams of protein per wing
  • French fries: 365 calories, 48 grams of carbs, 17 grams of fat, and 4 grams of protein per medium serving or 117 grams
  • Hard pretzels: 163 calories, 34 grams of carbs, 1 gram of fat, and 4 grams of protein per 1.5 ounces or 42.5 grams
  • Soft pretzels: 408 calories, 84 grams of carbs, 4 grams of fat, and 10 grams of protein per one medium soft pretzel or 120 grams
  • Nachos: 346 calories, 36 grams of carbs, 19 grams of fat, and 9 grams of protein per 113 grams or six to eight nachos
  • Chips: 152 calories, 15 grams of carbs, 10 grams of fat, and 2 grams of protein per 1 ounce or 28.4 grams
  • Chicken quesadillas: 528 calories, 43 grams of carbs, 27 grams of fat, and 27 grams of protein per 180 grams
  • Peanuts: 161 calories, 4.6 grams of carbs, 14 grams of fat, and 7 grams of protein per 1 ounce or 28.4 grams
  • Chicken strips: 185 calories, 10 grams of carbs, 11 grams of fat, and 11 grams of protein per 4 pieces or 62 grams
  • Mozzarella sticks: 329 calories, 25 grams of carbs, 19 grams of fat, and 15 grams of protein per 100 grams
  • Hot dogs: 151 calories, 2.2 grams of carbs, 13 grams of fat, and 5 grams of protein per one hot dog or 52 grams

As you can see, many of those foods are not keto-friendly in the least. You can quickly derail your diet if you combine high-carb food with high-carb alcohol.

Conclusion

When you go to a bar to enjoy some adult beverages and entertainment, several factors are working against you staying in ketosis.


For one, it’s no secret that alcohol impairs your judgment. When you’re sober, you’ll care very much about what you ingest. As you have more drinks though, you can forget about your keto diet and go with the flow.


The social pressures can get to you, as can the fact that it’s a Friday night and you want to let loose.


You might want to wait until a cheat day to enjoy alcoholic beverages on ketosis if you’re concerned about the above. For those with iron willpower, sticking to certain beverages such as wine and light beer shouldn’t disrupt ketosis.

About the author

The Authentic Keto Team is here to bring you health tips that help you with losing weight fast. We focus on a clean keto diet for beginners because we believe that is the easiest and most simple way to healthy eating. Our keto weight loss tips will not only bring you into ketosis fast but will also help you to improve your mental health, sleep problems, and wellness.


- Our goal is to make keto success easy. -

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