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March 17, 2019 by Dr. Varner in Ketogenic Diet

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up and I’m sure a lot of you are wondering if you can still drink on keto. Everyone knows alcohol makes you pile on the pounds, so is there a solution?

Yes! There are actually some viable low-carb drinks that can go well with keto, if that’s your thing. You just need to know where to look…  

Other than the amount of carbs in your drinks, you need to be careful about how much you drink as your alcohol tolerance is way lower on keto. This is because your body isn’t busy breaking down all the carbs from foods, and this changes the way your liver metabolizes alcohol.  It isn’t fully understood by biochemists yet–but keto will make you a lightweight.

I want to make it clear that I am not endorsing alcohol. Honestly, I think it’s poison. But I know that every once in awhile it’s nice to sit down with a glass of wine. So if you’re going to do it, at least do it in a way that won’t throw you completely off your diet.

Top low-carb alcoholic drinks

Champagne or sparkling wine

Keep up your class while you keep up keto. Champagne, cava and prosecco are all dry drinks that only contain two grams of carbs per glass. The key is in the dryness. The drier the drink, the lower-carb it tends to be.

Dry wines

Whether it be red or white, as long as it’s dry, it’s ok. They also contain two grams of carbs per glass, and they pair well with red meat and cheese. The key is to avoid the fruitier options, as fruit tends to be full of sugar and carb-heavy. (There are some exceptions, thankfully.)

Whiskey

Whether you enjoy brooding at a bar or you just want something with a lot of kick, whiskey is a good keto option. It’s ironic, given that it comes from whole grains, but whiskey contains zero carbs. You can enjoy it neat, with ice or with soda water.

Dry martini

We tend to wear green on St. Patrick’s day, but if that’s not your aesthetic, maybe a tuxedo would suit better. This ‘Bond-esque’ drink is also completely absent of carbs, and can have a mix of vodka, gin, white wine and a garnish. Lemon and olives make a great addition, as they’re some of the best fruit and veg for keto –just keep it dry!

The worst alcoholic drinks on keto

Beer

This one should come as no surprise to you. ‘Liquid bread’ doesn’t have any place on the keto diet, as it’s packed full of calories and sugar –beer bellies are an epidemic for a reason! Beers like Stella Artois, Corona, and most important, Guiness, all have up to 14 grams of carbs per serving. That’s six times the amount of dry wines!

There are exceptions, however. You can squeeze very light beers, like Michelob Ultra, Select, Busch Light and Natural Light into your keto diet, but as a general rule avoid the beers.

Alcopops

I don’t recommend drinking in general, but alcopops are especially bad. Some drinks have a sprinkling of sugar to give it flavor, but alcopops are the other way around. They’re packed with sugar, sickly sweet and you should avoid these drinks as much as possible.

Mixers

Everyone knows to avoid beer, but people often forget that mixers are the biggest culprit when it comes to accidentally drinking sugar. Never ask for energy drinks, lemonade or Coca-Cola with your spirits, you’ll ingest more carbs than you can handle.

But remember, more innocent-looking mixers like fruit juice and tonic water are also packed with sugar. Stick to soda water!

Cocktails

The same applies to cocktails. It’s the same story as food products –it’s difficult to pinpoint what’s actually in the drink. Even if it lists the basic ingredients, you don’t really know what you’re getting.

Cocktails are often loaded with sugar so they’re definitely ones to avoid! A White Russian looks like a keto option, as it contains cream and coffee, but it actually contains as many carbs as a beer.

Conclusion

As with all things keto, you may initially be disappointed that you have to give up some of your favorite food and drink. But luckily this isn’t always the case. It’s perfectly acceptable to let your hair down on keto and keep your carbs low. It’s all about finding the right alternative that works for you.

This information is intended to help readers be more informed about their health options when speaking with a professional, but it should not be used alone to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. Be sure to speak to a qualified doctor before taking any action to make sure that your choices reflect your actual health situation.

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