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Being on the ketogenic diet means high-carb food like pasta, bread, and fries are off-limits. But what about alcohol? Alcohol is made of natural sugars, grains, potatoes, and fruits. But the fermentation and distillation process where sugar is converted to ethyl alcohol makes some alcohol keto-friendly when consumed in moderation.
So does alcohol affect ketosis? It may not kick you out of ketosis but it can negatively affect your body in many ways, especially when you’re on the keto diet. Read all about how alcohol affects keto dieters and what keto drinks you can have and what you should avoid!
Can Alcohol Kick You Out of Ketosis?
One glass of something won’t knock your body out of ketosis. In fact, many believe that drinking alcohol increases your ketosis. But don’t easily fall for it as you’re only getting half of the story!
Alcohol may indeed help with ketosis, but it slows down your progress, especially if your goal is weight loss. The liver can make ketones out of alcohol, so you can drink and still stay in ketosis.
A small study from 1970 illustrated how alcohol consumption and a high-fat diet led to ketonuria or a large excess of ketones found in the volunteers’ urine.
However, your liver will eventually start to use alcohol for energy instead of fat. That means less fat-burning over time. This is because your body treats ethanol as a toxin, attempting to get rid of it as soon as possible.
Long story short, drinking alcohol won’t erase all your progress, but it will impact the rate of your fat burning and weight loss.
How Alcohol Affects Your Body on Keto
Ingestion of alcohol while on the keto diet may affect your body in many ways aside from a slower weight loss. For instance, you’ll have worse hangovers! While eating a carb-heavy meal before drinking can keep you from getting drunk too quickly because the glycogen stores are filled, the opposite happens when you lack carbs.
It may lead to becoming intoxicated more quickly and suffering a worse hangover. When you’re in ketosis, alcohol hits your system faster and stronger than it did when your body was housing more carbohydrates.
Alcohol may also lead you to be tempted to eat non-keto food. Who doesn’t love eating with good wine? Having a few glasses might make you less able to resist French fries, pizza, and even pasta, which are all not keto-friendly.
You’ll be more likely to overeat unhealthy foods since your inhibitions are lowered, making your stomach seem like a bottomless pit, scrounging for more calories as soon as you finish your first drink.
If you know that drinking too much can cause you to crave different food, you might need to moderate or even just opt for water to avoid temptation.
That said, maintaining a healthy ketogenic lifestyle means you need more discipline and willpower. Even if you choose your liquor carefully, the bad choices you make after those drinks may end up throwing you out of ketosis.
It’s hard to have a social life on the keto diet since going to a bar usually means exposing yourself to carbs! Although it doesn’t hurt to enjoy a little, you should remain disciplined throughout.
Here are some keto-friendly alcoholic beverages you may opt for.
- Hard liquor – Most clear liquors that are around 40 percent alcohol, like vodka, whiskey, gin, scotch, brandy, rum, and tequila. They contain no carbs and sugars on their own, which means they’re keto-friendly in moderation. Drink them straight or mix them with a keto-friendly option to avoid getting kicked out of ketosis!
- Wine – While most cheap wine comes with little sugar it may still be harmless to have a glass of dry red or white wine. Dry wines usually have a gram or less of sugar per ounce. Try sauvignon blanc, pinot blanc, or an Italian pinot grigio for white, and cabernet sauvignon or pinot noir for red.
If you want keto-friendly mixers to boost your drink’s taste, try using seltzer, sugar-free tonic water, diet soda, or a sugar-free drink mix.
Still, it does not mean that alcohol should be part of your routine whether you’re on the keto diet or not. For keto dieters, even a drink with very low carbs can still be rich in calories, which means you are getting too many calories with little to no essential nutrients like protein, fiber, vitamins, or minerals.
Drinks to Avoid on Keto
Meanwhile, here are some alcoholic beverages to avoid on the keto diet. These drinks are loaded with carbs, some varieties packing over 30 grams in a single serving.
- Bloody Mary
- Whiskey sour
- Pina colada
- Regular beer
Whether you’re drinking keto-friendly booze or not, consuming alcohol can still lead to weight gain because of the extra calories they supply. 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.
Excessive drinking can also contribute to serious health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, liver problems, and even cancer. Hence, it’s best to keep alcohol intake moderate.
Moderation is Key!
It’s time to debunk the myth about alcohol consumption and ketosis saying that alcohol can help you stay in ketosis. While it may produce ketones, it slows down the whole process by becoming your source of energy, instead of fat fulfilling this role.
Liquor can also supply your body with unnecessary calories that have little to no health benefits and may result in weight gain. While a glass of pinot noir doesn’t hurt your diet, you still need to be cautious. There are alcoholic beverages that have too many carbs that will kick you out of ketosis.
Drinking on the keto diet may also cause you to have worsened hangovers and intense cravings for food prohibited on the keto diet. Remember to stay focused and have the willpower to achieve your keto goals!