Keto Alcohol and Wines
Best Low-Carb Drinks To Get Into

Keto Alcohol & Wines

To achieve a higher degree of overall health, many folks embrace the ultra-low-carb ketogenic diet. And it's easy to understand why. Ketosis provides myriad benefits for those who can stick to it including more stable blood glucose levels, sustainable weight loss and higher levels of mental and physical efficiency. One thing that quite a few keto adherents don't always consider before they go keto, however, is how the diet will affect their ability to enjoy a glass of wine or other adult beverage. Drinking on keto is not a topic that gets raised a lot, but if you are a fan of the grape, it's something you'll need to think about.

The Keto Diet and Alcohol

drinking while on a keto diet

Joining the local temperance movement is not a prerequisite for staying on the keto diet. In fact, it's not that difficult to enjoy a glass of wine now and then and remain in ketosis. But it will take some thoughtful consideration on your part and some discipline because a lack of either could bump you out of ketosis in a hurry. That said - and before we get into the specifics of the keto diet and wine - let's have a look at a few reasons why you might want to avoid alcohol altogether.

1. It can touch off cravings that can ruin your day - You’ll ingest an average of 7 calories per gram of alcohol. These are calories that offer zero nutritional value but can touch off cravings. Combine those cravings with the fact that your inhibitions may be compromised a bit after drinking wine, and you may find yourself justifying giving in to some unhealthy, keto-unfriendly, foods. The next thing you know you've set off a chain reaction, you're out of ketosis, and you're boiling up some excellent pasta to go with your vino. Therefore, unless you are sure of your ability to stay the keto course and not give in to temptation, it may just be wiser to skip the alcohol on keto altogether, regardless of whether it’s wine, beer or liquor.

2. Processing the alcohol will become your body’s primary function - Alcohol is a toxin, and your body treats it that way. That's why when a person has had too much alcohol they are said to be "intoxicated," i.e., poisoned. Therefore when you ingest alcohol, your body makes processing that alcohol as quickly as possible the number 1 priority. All other things, including burning fat for fuel, or ketosis, are put on the back burner. The body processes the alcohol and stores any excess calories as fat. Depending on how much you drank and how long it takes shape to handle the alcohol you may well wind up bumping yourself out of ketosis. Also, as we mentioned above, you may also find yourself beset by cravings for foods that will only make matters worse.​

3. Your tolerance will not be what it was - If you consider yourself someone who can handle alcohol without any problems being on the keto diet is going to force you to reassess that attitude. And if your tolerance for alcohol was never excellent, you're going to get drunk even faster when you enter ketosis. In fact, you may find that your understanding plummets to nearly nothing. That's because the glycogen your body used to store in droves and which is used as a cushion for metabolizing alcohol is gone. So it's like the alcohol takes off the cushy boxing gloves and starts working you over with bare knuckles. But the fun doesn't stop there. Not only will you feel the effects of the alcohol faster and in a more intense fashion, but you'll also experience hangovers to write home about.

woman holding a glass of alcoholic beverage

​​​The above facts regarding alcohol on a keto diet are not meant to scare anyone, to inform. It is, after all, possible as we said up front to still enjoy a glass of wine now and then. You need to be smart and disciplined. Here's how you do that.

Drinking Red Wines

Red Wine glass and bottle

It is possible to consume the occasional glass of red wine without endangering your keto status. But you need to be smart when it comes to keto and alcohol. Don't drink any alcohol during the first 2 weeks on keto simply because it will make the transition more difficult. Once you are securely ensconced in a state of ketosis, you can enjoy a bit of wine again. But you’ll need to keep close tabs on the amount of carb energy you are ingesting. The following chart shows the net carbs you’ll receive when you consume 5 ounces of various popular types of red wine.

Type of ​Red Wine

Serving

Net Carbohydrat​​​​es

​Pinot Noir

​5 oz

​3.4 grams

Merlot

​5 oz

​3.7 grams

​Cabernet

​5 oz

​​3.8 grams

​Sangiovese

​5 oz

​3.8 grams

​Burgundy

​5 oz

​5.4 grams

​What About White Wines?

Red wine tends to get most of the favorable health press and for a good reason. But white wine is not exactly the enemy of good health. White wine tends to contain lots of antioxidants and may not generate such a punishing hangover. Below is a chart detailing the impact of white wine on a ketones diet:

White Wine bottle and w glasses

Type of White Wine

Serving

Net Carbohydrat​​​​es

Sparkling wine

​5 oz

​1.5 grams

Brut Champagne

​5 oz

​2.8 grams

Pinot Grigio

​5 oz

​​3 grams

Chardonnay

​5 oz

​3.1 grams

Muscat

​5 oz

​7.9 grams

How About Beers?

glasses of beer

Well, this is a huge issue if you're trying keep a low-carb diet on. Beers are known for being loaded with carbs, some even call it "liquid bread". So, if you're trying to find a drink that is passable for the keto diet, you might be on the wrong path, buddy. Although, the are a couple of brands of "light beer" that may pass (possibly), but you will definitely need to put a hard cap on the drinking part as it might be "low-carb" but it is only when compared to actual beer which is very high. It's all very relative. 

Here are some brands that are worth looking into:

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    Select 55
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    Michelob ULTRA
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    Select
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    Busch Light
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    Natural Light

Lastly, Spirits and Mixed Drinks...

Well, this is probably your safest bet when it comes to drinking alcohol while on the keto diet. Spirits are known to be carb free but mixed drinks are a different story. If you straight up drink hard liquor, you're safe but once you add soft drinks, juice ad sweeteners, you're gonna have a bad time. 

Here are some drinks that are zero-carb that you can try:

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    Whiskey
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    Brandy
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    Tequila shot
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    Dry martini​​​​
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    Vodka soda
generic brand whiskey

As long as you follow this guide and not overdo the drinking part, you will be completely fine and will be able to stick to your low-carb lifestyle. Now, who says that you can't have fun while still being on keto? 

Last piece of advice though, don't drink and drive!

About the Author

Ryan is a personal trainer, athlete, health enthusiast, and entrepreneur. He is researching and expanding his knowledge about the ketogenic diet. He spends most of his time writing content about his new learnings of the ketogenic diet.