Hello, and welcome back to the Ketogasm podcast, Easy Keto with Tasha! If you’re new to the keto diet or an experienced ketoer looking for tips to fine-tune your diet, then you’re in the right place!
Today’s episode is all about ALCOHOL! Specifically, we are discussing how keto affects alcohol tolerance and what you can do to avoid the dreaded keto hangover.
Alcohol and Carb Restriction
Surprise! Alcohol is not entirely off-limits if you are following a keto diet. However, as we’ve discussed in previous episodes, the first step to keto is carbohydrate restriction and keeping your carb intake low. As long as carbs are kept low enough, technically anything can be keto. There is no specific list of ingredients that you absolutely can or cannot eat.
Enter alcohol. Alcohol can be consumed on keto, as long as a person’s carb intake allows it. This doesn’t mean that alcohol is nutritious, or necessary, or part of a healthy lifestyle; all this means is that as an adult, sometimes you want a drink. And as a keto dieter, it’s important to know that having a drink won’t destroy your diet.
Keto Alcohol Intolerance
While you might have been able to handle a high number of drinks before, it is very important to take things slowly. Your alcohol tolerance will be much lower than usual when drinking on keto. This is due to the fact that your body does not metabolize alcohol the same way it used to.
Just as you have created a new relationship with food, you will have to create a new relationship with alcohol. Take things slowly, understand your body’s new limitations, and remember that alcohol has carbs too!
Why Are Keto Hangovers Worse?
Ketogenic diets are natural diuretics; this means that during the diet, your body gets rid of a lot of the excess retained water it has stored. However, the same thing happens when you drink alcohol! When you drink while on keto, it is very easy for your body to become dehydrated. Add in the fact that your body metabolizes alcohol differently while on keto, and it’s no surprise hangovers are worse!
The easiest way to prevent keto hangover is to avoid alcohol. The second easiest way is to avoid drinking too much alcohol. This is where taking things slow is the best course of action. Play it cool and see how you feel after one or two drinks. Give yourself the time to understand that your body has changed. Avoid going too hard, because keto hangovers are NOT fun.
Keto Hangover Cure: Before & After Electrolytes
Electrolytes play a major part in creating major keto hangovers. With your body dumping a ton of water, as it does during both keto and consuming alcohol, you are dumping electrolytes as well. These electrolytes are necessary to keep the body running smoothly, so an imbalance is bound to cause issues.
For some of you, you may have experienced this at the beginning of your keto journey as well. If you were someone who got a bad headache, heart palpitations, or leg cramps, there’s a big chance that was due to electrolyte imbalance.
Tips to decrease electrolyte imbalance:
- Take magnesium supplements
- Eat high potassium food
- Focus on nutrient-dense food instead of typical drunk foods
- Drink sugar-free Gatorade or Powerade between alcoholic beverages
- Increase your sodium with salty broth or bouillon cubes
- Create your own electrolyte mixes or supplement with pre-made mixes, such as LMNT
What Alcoholic Drinks Can I Have on Keto?
Now that you’ve prepared yourself in what to expect when drinking on keto, now you get to decide what to actually drink! Some alcohol is more keto-friendly than others, but there are definitely options to suit any desire. To make your life a little easier, check out our Keto Diet Alcohol Guide for a comprehensive list of alcohols sorted by carb count.
As we discussed earlier, carb intake does play a part in consuming alcohol. Because of this, it is wise to avoid fruity, sugar-heavy cocktails. Hard alcohol tends to be quite low in carbohydrates; it’s the mixers you have to avoid (or at least choose diet or sugar-free options).
Mixers to watch out for:
- Tonic water
Being that I have never been much of a beer-drinker, I do not have any personal experience with low carb beer. However, it is definitely available! I can’t vouch for the taste or consistency of any particular brand, but there may be something that suits your needs.
It may come as a shock, but you can drink wine on keto. It is important that you opt for dry wines instead of sugary dessert wines. Dry wines contain a much lower sugar content than their syrupy counterparts, which helps to dramatically reduce the carb content.
These wines tend to be lower in carbs:
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Dry Riesling
I am a huge fan of the two sisters behind Boozy Ketones. Not only are they hilarious, but they also share beautifully-made, keto-friendly alcoholic beverages. If you’re stuck in a rut on what to drink and need a laugh, check them out!
1:12 - Alcohol and Carb Restriction
3:24 - Keto Alcohol Intolerance
4:35 - Why are Hangovers Worse on Keto?
5:30 - Keto Hangover Cure: Before & After Electrolytes
9:02 - What Alcoholic Drinks Can I Have on Keto?
9:35 - Boozy Ketones
10:22 - Mixed Drinks
11:52 - Beer
12:29 - Wine
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Hi, I'm Tasha–nutritionist, recipe developer, and multi-published cookbook author.