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Can I drink alcohol while on keto? And what is the relationship between alcohol and keto? These are questions we often ask ourselves, especially when we want to balance our diet with the (legitimate) desire to continue our usual social life.

So: is it possible to follow a keto lifestyle and drink alcohol? Simply put: more or less.

While many beers and classic cocktails fall outside the purview of a low-carb diet, that doesn't mean all alcoholic beverages are out of the question. So the question to ask yourself is: what alcohol can you drink on the keto diet? That's exactly what we want to talk to you about today.

Our keto booze guide will show you which booze fits into this low-carb, high-fat diet approach so you can drink responsibly without going out of ketosis.

Can you consume alcohol on the keto diet?

While it goes without saying that sweet cocktails and beer are full of sugars and carbohydrates that can kick you out of ketosis immediately, 'dry' spirits and wine can also cause problems for some people. When it comes to drinking during the keto diet, in fact, we need to consider the processes of alcohol metabolism by the body and the way in which this can interfere with ketosis.

Your health and body are unique, so it's important to understand that even if you drink a low-carb alcoholic beverage that's considered generally keto-friendly, your reaction may not be the same as the person in front of you. Listen to your body and act accordingly.

Have a drink like vodka with tonic water – it has very few calories and even fewer grams of sugar. However, even if you use a carbohydrate-free alcohol, it's not the calories in this simple drink that's causing a problem, it's the way the body metabolizes the alcohol.

Alcohol and metabolism: what's behind the relationship between alcohol and the keto diet

Alcohol has about 7 calories per gram, so it is sometimes classified as a fourth macronutrient, also due to the consumption that adults tend to consume. But unlike carbohydrates, fats and proteins, it is not an essential nutrient. You don't need it, that is, to survive.

On the keto diet, the body uses fat as an energy source instead of carbohydrates. In the absence of carbohydrates, the liver converts fat into energy molecules called ketones. When you drink alcohol, your body begins to metabolize the alcohol, i.e. break it down.

The thing is, when you're on keto, your liver focuses all of its attention on metabolized alcohol instead of fat. Until alcohol has been metabolized, the body won't make ketones from fat. This slows down the fat burning process and potentially slows down your weight loss goals.

Bottom line: If you're an occasional hard drinker, alcohol probably won't derail your keto lifestyle. But if you find yourself drinking high-carb beverages or drinking frequently throughout the week or every weekend, you may be slowing down the fat burning you desire on the ketogenic diet.

Alcohol and keto: The side effects that put your diet at risk

Another problem with the relationship between alcohol and keto is that it can lead you to eat foods that are not recommended at all, or that there can be interactions with the foods that are not recommended. In particular, carbohydrates are great for managing the feeling of being drunk. Pasta, pizza and bread are rich in glucose, which the body burns relatively quickly. This slows down the metabolization of alcohol, helping to lower blood alcohol levels.

But when you follow a ketogenic lifestyle, you eat few carbohydrates. This means that when you drink alcohol with the ketogenic diet, alcohol is processed faster, which leads to feeling tipsy or drunk much more quickly. In other words, the alcohol tolerance issue on the keto diet is not something to be taken lightly.

While this may seem like a boon to some, it also means that if you're new to the keto diet and consume the same amount of alcoholic beverages as you're used to on a night out (or in), you may feel the effects more quickly. and be taken by surprise.

alcohol and keto

For this reason, if you're out drinking with friends, it's even more important to appoint a sober designated driver and pay attention to how alcohol affects you now, rather than how many drinks you were able to have. Ultimately, it's best to take a "better safe than sorry" approach in situations that could involve alcohol tolerance issues.

Drink responsibly, in every sense

Maintaining a healthy ketogenic lifestyle requires focus and willpower. When you drink, however, your inhibitions and willpower are weakened. That's why it's so easy to choose a few pieces of pizza at 2 a.m. after a night of drinking instead of a handful of pistachios and a glass of water.

So even if you choose low-carb alcohol carefully, the choices you make after those drinks (for example, pizza or fast food) can end up kicking you out of ketosis. This is not a trivial problem, but an element to be taken into serious consideration when choosing to have a second or third drink.

Alcohol and keto: the siren songs not to listen to

If you've ever heard the phrase "drinking increases ketosis," you've only understood half the story. A small study from 1970 illustrated how high alcohol consumption (46% of the diet) and a high-fat diet increased "ketonuria", or the presence of more ketones in the urine of volunteers.

Here's the scientific explanation: The researchers hypothesized that ketonuria was caused by a "delayed change in intermediate metabolism" due to alcohol-induced glycogen depletion. The conclusion? Although alcohol can raise ketone levels, the study that found this phenomenon had nearly 50% of calories coming from alcohol. If you're looking for a fat-burning keto boost, look no further in alcohol. There are many safer options.