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November 26, 2018 3 min read

The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet used by many people to lose weight and improve health.

It typically requires careful planning so that you stick within your daily carb allotment and keep your body in ketosis. This may mean giving up sweets, snacks and other high-carb indulgences like soft drinks and alcohol.

However, there are plenty of low-carb alcoholic beverages that you can enjoy in moderation — even on a keto diet.

 

 

Keto-Friendly Drinks

Many low-carb alcohol options are available if you follow a keto diet.

For instance, pure forms of alcohol like whiskey, gin, tequila, rum and vodka are all completely free of carbs.

These beverages can be drunk straight or combined with low-carb mixers for more flavor.

Wine and light varieties of beer are also relatively low in carbs — usually 3–4 grams per serving.

Here is how the top keto-friendly drinks stack up (1):

Type of alcohol Serving size Carb content
Rum 1.5 ounces (44 ml) 0 grams
Vodka 1.5 ounces (44 ml) 0 grams
Gin 1.5 ounces (44 ml) 0 grams
Tequila 1.5 ounces (44 ml) 0 grams
Whiskey 1.5 ounces (44 ml) 0 grams
Red wine 5 ounces (148 ml) 3–4 grams
White wine 5 ounces (148 ml) 3–4 grams
Light beer 12 ounces (355 ml) 3 grams

 

Low-Carb Mixers

Keto-friendly mixers are just as important as the alcohol itself.

Watch out for common mixers like juice, soda, sweeteners and energy drinks — they can quickly turn a carb-free drink into a high-calorie carb bomb.

Instead, opt for low-carb mixers like diet soda, sugar-free tonic water, seltzer or powdered flavor packets.

These mixers can keep your carb intake low while boosting your beverage’s taste.

Here is the carb content for a few keto-friendly drink mixers (1):

Type of mixer Serving size Carb content
Seltzer 1 cup (240 ml) 0 grams
Sugar-free tonic water 1 cup (240 ml) 0 grams
Diet soda 12-ounce (355-ml) can 0 grams
Crystal Light drink mix 1/2 teaspoon (2 grams)

0 grams

 

Drinks to Avoid

Many alcoholic beverages are loaded with carbs, some varieties packing over 30 grams in a single serving.

For example, cocktails and mixed drinks usually rely on high-carb, sugary ingredients like juice, soda, sweeteners or syrups.

Meanwhile, regular beer is produced from starch and can contain upwards of 12 grams of carbs in just one can.

Here is a comparison of the carb content of several popular alcoholic beverages — which you should avoid if you’re on a keto diet (1)

Type of alcohol Serving size Carb content
Margarita 1 cup (240 ml) 13 grams
Bloody Mary 1 cup (240 ml) 10 grams
Whiskey sour 3.5 ounces (105 ml) 14 grams
Sangria 1 cup (240 ml) 27 grams
Piña colada 4.5 ounces (133 ml) 32 grams
Cosmopolitan 3.5 ounces (105 ml) 22 grams
Regular beer 12-ounce (355-ml) can

12 grams

Moderation Is Key

Although there are plenty of low-carb, keto-friendly alcoholic beverages available, that doesn’t mean that they should become a regular part of your routine.

Even low-carb varieties of alcohol are still rich in empty calories, meaning that they supply many calories with little to no essential nutrients like protein, fiber, vitamins or minerals.

Not only can overindulging in booze increase your risk of nutritional deficiencies over time, but it may also contribute to gradual weight gain.

In fact, in one eight-year study in 49,324 women, consuming at least two drinks per day was associated with an increased risk of significant weight gain, compared to light or moderate drinking (2).

Alcohol can also suppress fat burning and increase body fat by storing extra calories as fat tissue in your body (3).

Excessive drinking may also contribute to other serious health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, liver problems and cancer (4).

For this reason, it’s best to keep alcohol intake moderate — defined as one drink per day for women and two per day for men (5).