The Keto Diet and Alcohol — Can I Enjoy a Cocktail?
If you are a keto diet aficionado, then you have all the details about what foods to eat and what to avoid, how to manage your percentages, and where you can find indulgences for that special holiday.
But what about imbibing in an adult beverage?
Adopting a keto diet lifestyle doesn’t mean a cocktail or wine has to be off-limits. From spirits, like whiskey and tequila, to red wine and champagne, keto-friendly options are available to serve at home or when you’re out on the town.
Just remember to plan and factor in your net carbs with your daily totals before the party starts. Once the alcohol starts to flow, it’s much easier to over-indulge if you don’t have a set target.
Carb-Free and Low-Carb Beverages Go Mainstream
Today, keto has become so popular that many manufacturers, brewers, and distillers are embracing the trend and producing whole product lines of keto-friendly drinks.
From major beer companies to Napa Valley’s finest vintners, the combination of the keto diet and alcohol just makes good business.
So let’s take a look at some of your options when your week is done and it’s time to relax and spend quality time with friends and family.
You know you love it. Everybody’s favorite trend just keeps growing.
It seems that what started with just a few entrants has grown to embrace all of the big liquor companies.
Everyone from Anheuser-Busch to Topo Chico to Leinenkugel’s has a hard seltzer and most come in a variety of fun, fruity, tasty flavors that are perfect for a sunny day at the beach.
With total net carbs that average 2 per can and about 100 calories, hard seltzers seem the perfect keto diet lifestyle indulgence.
If there’s a downside to hard seltzers, it may be that they contain empty calories — with wine, you at least get antioxidants.
Speaking of Wine…
When it comes to keto-friendly drinks, dry wine (red or white) and champagne are great keto diet options.
Each register about 2 net carbs, so a glass or two fits into your daily count with no problems.
For the lowest carb counts, stick with red wines such as Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel.
For white wines, you are better drinking low-carb wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc, and Chardonnay.
Also, European wines, like Bordeaux, Chianti, and Nebbiolo, will usually have very low residual sugars.
Overall, value-driven wines, red or white, tend to have more sugar, so it’s better to splurge a little.
When it’s time to celebrate with a toast of bubbly, dry sparkling wines like Brut Champagne, Prosecco from Italy, or Cava from Spain, are all good choices.
Unfortunately, US winemakers aren’t required to put nutritional information on their labels.
So stick with dry wines that contain fewer sugars. You can also check online by searching for “fact sheet” or “pH levels” for a specific vintner.
Today, even beer is getting a makeover. It seems that every major brewery is making a low-carb option, including many craft breweries and specialty brewers. When you consider a regular bottle of beer has between 11 and 20 net carbs, these new entries on the market are pretty remarkable. Here is a sample:
Budweiser Select 55 Premium 1.8 Grams
Devil’s Backbone Tangerine Ale 2.0 Grams
Miller 64 Extra Light Lager 2.4 Grams
Michelob Ultra Pure Gold 2.5 Grams
Corona Premier 2.6 Grams
Lagunitas DayTime IPA 3.0 Grams
Natural Light 3.2 Grams
Kona Brewing Co. Kahana Blonde Ale 4.0 Grams
If you enjoy an occasional brew, there is no reason why you can’t try one of these keto-friendly alternatives and still maintain ketosis.
Choose Spirits — Better Yet, Choose Tequila
When it comes to keto-friendly drinks, pure distilled liquor, like vodka, whiskey, gin, or tequila, maybe your best bet.
They have zero carbs. They do, however, still have calories and empty calories at that.
For the keto diet, as long as you drink spirits on your own or with calorie-free mixers like club soda or diet soda, they are a great carb-less alternative.
Where you get into trouble is by adding in sugar- and carb-laden additives and a maraschino cherry.
Instead, try a dry martini (you like ’em dirty — no problem, there’s no carbs in olive juice). Or try vodka and soda and you still land at zero carbs.
There’s even a perfect margarita recipe that uses tequila, lime, and a splash of agave that weighs in at about 8 net carbs or substitute monk fruit for even fewer carbs.
And if you are considering entertaining over a keto diet breakfast or brunch with Bloody Mary’s or Bloody Maria’s — Bloody Mary’s made with tequila — use organic, unsweetened tomato juice.
For about 8 ounces of tomato juice, you get 3.75 grams of carbs. If you use vodka or tequila and additions like horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, and spicy hot sauce, your drink is tasty and low carb.
A Word About Tequila
Tequila is made from the juice of the blue agave plant that’s grown primarily in Jalisco, Mexico, northwest of Guadalajara.
But what makes tequila different than other spirits? Agavins.
Created during the fermentation and distillation process, agavins are the sugar (or carbohydrate) component found in tequila.
The interesting part is agavins are not digestible — they act more like a fiber in your system.
And as you know, subtracting fiber from your carbohydrate count is how you get a net carb number.
That means that as a fiber, agavins act to actually lower your glucose levels and increase your insulin levels, thereby lowering your blood sugar.
Now, this doesn’t mean that tequila is a health drink that should be consumed purely for its benefits.
But it does mean that you can enjoy tequila knowing that the agavins are acting like fiber offsetting any small amount of carbs in that lime juice.
What to Avoid — Mixers Loaded with Sugar
When you’re out to enjoy a drink with friends, forget the sugary mixers that will throw you out of ketosis.
Sodas, energy drinks, and fruit juices are not your friends and are best left to those not living a keto diet lifestyle.
They may taste great mixed with your favorite spirits, but they are loaded with sugar and carbs. Instead, try club soda or sugar-free tonic or seltzer with that vodka.
You can experiment with flavors from fresh citrus fruits, berries, fresh mint, basil, rosemary, or lavender.
Or try something elegant and unexpected — brandy and cognac are spirits that have zero carbs and look gorgeous in a snifter.
To release the intoxicating fragrance and aroma, you can gently roll the snifter in your hand to warm the liquid making it an even more refined experience.
Moderation is Still Key
“I know, I know,” you say! Moderation is still important, so gauge your daily carb intake and be sure you save the carb count to enjoy yourself without it feeling like a chore.
When it comes to the keto diet and alcohol tolerance — remember, drinking alcohol on keto can sneak up on you with your carb intake near zero, so be careful.
It can also make a hangover worse.
If your body is in ketosis, alcohol will affect you faster because your body isn’t stockpiling all those additional carbohydrates.
Remember to Stay Hydrated and Keep Food in Your System
Whether you’re out with friends or entertaining at home, be sure to drink plenty of water.
It is not only the key to staying hydrated, but it’s especially important to keep you feeling full and less likely to overindulge.
Try drinking a full glass of water between drinks as a way to enjoy your time responsibly.
Another idea is to keep nuts or savory snack blends available for you and your guests. It allows you to keep something in your system that helps you feel better in the long run.
And Last, Resist Temptation
Alcohol lowers your inhibitions! We have all been out late with friends and someone has the idea to get a late-night bite to eat.
Be careful not to overindulge — it’s easy to order that carb-loaded breakfast at midnight, but you will regret it in the morning.
To Sum Up
Living the keto diet lifestyle is filled with rewards and you don’t have to stop enjoying a cocktail with friends and family.
Whether it’s dinner out, an evening at the club, a day at the beach, or having friends over, with a little advanced planning and carb counting, you can enjoy yourself and still stay in ketosis.
Read more about the keto lifestyle and explore our products at NuTrail.com
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