Your Keto Alcohol Guide: Drinking on Keto Without the Sabotage

Your Keto Alcohol Guide: Drinking on Keto Without the Sabotage
If we were to say new keto-ers that they could never have another drink so long as they're following a ketogenic diet, that would be unrealistic and unsustainable. We're all about making the ketogenic diet super easy to follow, and part of that is making it easy to stick to so it can become a lifestyle rather than a yo-yo diet.

So instead, we give them the tools to succeed with keto alcohol. And we're passing some of those tools on to you.

To remain in ketosis or reduce the impact of the carb load on your keto progress, but still enjoy a night out here and there, follow the strategies below.

Following them may not mean you'll remain in ketosis, but the impact of your indulgence can be minimized.

Keto Drinking Tip #1: Bank Your Carbohydrates

Think of your daily carbohydrate allowance as a carb budget, and "save" those carbs for your drinks in the evening.

Let's say that 5% of your daily caloric intake in carbs equates to 30g. If you stick to high-fat, extremely low carb foods during the day and limit your daytime intake to 5g, then come happy hour, that's 25g of carbs you can theoretically consume without kicking yourself out of ketosis.

That could mean a low-carb dinner worth 10g of carbs, plus:

  • 5 glasses of Budweiser Select 55 (1.9g of carbs per serving)
  • 8 glasses of Champagne (1.2g of carbs per serving)
  • A lot of Dry Martinis (0g of carbs per serving)
Of course, don't do this regularly (the carbs you do consume should be coming from quality foods packed with micronutrients and minerals). But every once in a while, you're good to go.

Keto Drinking Tip #2: Stick with Hard Liquor

You may have found this article by searching something like “keto beer”, but your best bet for remaining in ketosis while also letting loose every once in a while is to stick with hard liquor.

Vodka, gin, and tequila can be lower in carb count (or even zero-carb) and mixes well with carb-free mixers like Zevia, soda water, and BHB.

Here’s a delicious keto cocktail recipe:

You can get your buzz on with this cocktail and minimize the impact of the imbibement. Just know your limit and drink within it, please.

Generally speaking, top-shelf liquor tends to be purer and many people claim a lesser impact both in hangover strength and blood ketone levels. Those might be a bit expensive, but you can use it as an excuse to treat yourself to the good stuff ;)

Keto Drinking Tip #3: Maintain Ketosis with Exogenous Ketones

Beta-hydroxybutyrate, also known as BHB is an exogenous ketone body that can help support ketosis.

These are used by many ketogenic dieters to reduce appetite and carb cravings, enhance ketosis, replace sugary drinks and replenish electrolytes (the loss of which usually results in the symptoms dubbed as the “keto flu”.

Because BHB is effective in supporting ketosis, you can drink them before, during, and after your happy hour to maintain your ketogenic state (and feel great).

Bonus: Ketone salts, the ketone bodies in BHB (Exogenous Ketones) are chock full of the minerals that make up electrolytes, which are excellent hangover cures (hence why you crave high sodium and potassium foods when you’re hungover).

Keto Drinking Tip #4: Pre-Game Intermittent Fasting

One way to minimize your carb intake during the day prior to your night out is to skip breakfast.

Yes, don't eat "the most important meal of the day". Intermittent fasting is a common eating schedule that suits many ketogenic dieters, as well as busy CEOs and entrepreneurs.

Intermittent fasting promotes mental clarity, weight loss, and autophagy, which is why many people begin to forgo one of their meals.

But it also simplifies meal prep, reduces "decision fatigue" as it removes the mental load of figuring out what to eat and when, and promotes fasting ketosis.

As it relates to you enjoying a couple of drinks, intermittent fasting will:

  1. Save the carbs you otherwise would have eaten during your morning meal to be banked for your evening out
  2. Support ketosis through fasting.
Most people who do intermittent fasting eat in a 16:8 feeding window. That means that they consume all of their food each day within an 8-hour window, and "fast" for 16 hours.

If you're planning on having a few drinks, try the intermittent fasting and following a 16:8 feeding window. Eat and drink within an 8 hour period of time, thereby skipping breakfast and leaving those carbs and calories for your night out.

Keto Drinking Tip #5: Pair Your Drinks with Fat 

To minimize sharp spikes in blood glucose levels and impact to your insulin response when you’re consuming any high-carbohydrate food or drink, try to pair those carbs with fat.

Fat is a large molecule that breaks down slowly in the digestive system, which is one of the reasons it’s so satiating when compared to carbohydrates (a small, fast-absorption molecule).

The theory is that the food you eat digests at the rate of the slowest digesting molecules, so when you pair a snack that’s high in carbs with a quality fat source like MCT or coconut oil, nut butter, avocado, butter or cheese, those carbs will be slower to hit your bloodstream, and therefore the impact will be minimized.

We’re not suggesting you have keto coffee and Bailey’s (although, honestly, we haven’t tried it!). This also doesn’t mean you can drink a margarita and take a shot of MCT oil and call it even.

But if you’re looking to minimize your blood glucose impact and maintain the progress you’ve made on keto, ensuring your dinner meal or happy hour keto snacks are high in fat and extremely low in carbs is a good move.

Keto Drinking Tip #6: Get Back Into Ketosis Through Fasting 

We do not recommend drinking alcohol in a fasted state.

Without any food in your system, the alcohol will go straight to your head as the saying goes. However, let's say you have a few drinks one night, and you wake up feeling as if you've completely sabotaged your ketogenic diet.

Maybe you have, maybe you haven't. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater, though. You can get back into ketosis by fasting the next day (or the day after, if you're not feeling so hot the next day).

A full day fast is usually enough to get you back into ketosis quickly, even if you went a little overboard at happy hour.

Don’t Let A Night Out Derail Your Keto Progress

There’s an interesting phenomenon among dieters and even people just wanting to improve their health.

When people are making massive progress, and they slip up, they are far more likely to let a small cheat kick them off of their healthy track.

We don’t want you to let a night out, or a cheat meal or a slip up derail your progress. You’ve made great strides to get to where you are now. Letting one night out derail you is like getting a flat tire and then slashing the other three tires.

The best thing about keto is that it can be a lifestyle. And to make a lifestyle sustainable, you have to be able to let loose sometimes. Even the strictest of keto-ers indulge in some carbs sometimes.

When you’re fat adapted, you can do so with minimal impact to your ketone levels. And until then, you just need to take a few precautions like the ones above.

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