Keto diet and alcohol

(carbs in vodka, whisky, rum)

Wanting to lose weight, but dreading to give up alcohol completely, is a concern for many. Does alcohol actually interfere with the weight loss process?

The subject of alcohol and weight loss is a controversial one, mainly because the main fate of alcohol is NOT to be stored as fat.

Can Ketosis and alcohol consumption go hand in hand?

Remember, being in a state of ketosis means a normal metabolic process where the body does not have enough glucose for energy, it burns stored fats instead! This, amazing fact that our body burns fat to gain energy, when enough glucose is not available, has been used to propose the ketogenic diet plans! It is a well established fact, backed by scientific research.

A strict low carb diet, will of course be disrupted by ingesting calories that acohol is bound to provide you. Let’s find out how?

The main problem:

In fact, less than 5% of the alcohol you drink is turned into fat. Rather, the main effect of alcohol is to reduce the amount of fat your body burns for energy.

Alcohol is labeled as containing 7.1 calories per gram. But the real value is slightly lower. Alcohol raises your metabolic rate for some time after you drink it.

Once this rise in metabolism is taken into account, which is larger than the rise seen with carbohydrate or fat, the “true” number of calories in a gram of alcohol is around 6 calories.

So, the problem that you are likely to encounter, is that your body will shift from the fat burning mode, to utilising the calories alcohol has provided you, as long as they are available. Once your body finishes off with them, it can again go back into ketosis.

What is alcohol? How is it made?

It is a must know that alcohol is actually produced by the fermentation process. Essentially, a sugar compound is acted upon by yeast and the yeast produces alcohol and carbon dioxide.

‘Depending on the type of sugar compound, you get different kinds of alcoholic beverages.’

By way of instance, beer is made with, essentially four ingredients. Barley, hops, water, and yeast. Barley is the principal ingredient, it is where the sugar (maltose) comes from for the yeast.

It is also very much like wheat. It’s a really bad carb. And it is the reason that some people today call beer “liquid bread”. It’s far too full of carbohydrates, not only the sugars, but another “glutenous carbohydrates”. So, Beer doesn’t fit to a ketogenic lifestyle.

Secondly have wine, which is made from fermented grapes. The issue with wine is that everybody reacts differently to it. It is better to play it safe and be the person you want to be than it is to have the temporary enjoyment of a glass or two of wine.

  • Lastly, there are spirits, hard liquor. Since these are essentially just alcohol and water (assuming we are talking gin, tequila, vodka, whiskey, or rum), these do not affect your insulin levels and, more than likely, do not affect your ability to stay in ketosis. Having a couple of cocktails, provided they do NOT contain sugary additives, is perfectly fine.

Clear liquors at about 40% alcohol are a safe bet and are considered keto alcohol, and anything that tastes sweet is not! Acceptable keto alcohol includes:

  • Vodka
  • Tequila
  • Gin
  • Whiskey
  • Rum
  • Scotch
  • Brandy
  • Cognac


Flavor infused spirits have some sugar in them. The label does not mention it. They are not sweet like liqueurs, but if you leave it to evaporate you’ll find they leave a sticky residue. The flavored vodka can disrupt ketosis!

Low carb alcohol and ketosis?

Alcohol have an effect on weight loss through a ketogenic diet, even once you drink low carb or carb free alcoholic drinks. This is because the body is able to use alcohol as a source of energy.

It is not stored as glycogen, such as carbohydrates, so once it’s burned off you’ll go straight back into ketosis, however this does mean you’re losing weight burning time when you drink.

How much this affects your weight loss varies between people. Some folks find their weight loss stalls if they drink anything alcoholic, whereas others find they could drink accountable amounts of wine, hard liquor or a low carb beer (they do exist) and keep losing weight.

Need to DETOX? You can go ‘Keto’!

The ketogenic diet might even assist alcoholics detox. The US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in Bethesda, Maryland is now beginning a new clinical trial to investigate the use of the ketogenic diet through detox for alcohol addiction. Principal investigator Corinde Wiers, PhD, notes that a variety of observations and studies on brain energetics imply that the ketogenic diet is a promising supplemental intervention for alcohol use disorders (AUD.)

Best to be on the moderate side!

Research says:

Moderation in drinking is still an important recommendation, together with a healthy lifestyle not conducive to weight gain. (NCBI)

Cheating on a keto diet!

If, for some reason, you do cheat on the keto regimen and take in alcohol someday. You don’t need to worry too much. There’s no use sitting and calculating or worrying about the number of calories in vodka, whisky, rum etc.

Just follow a simple rule that as long as you’ve not ingested too much, your body can get back into ketosis easily.

When the calories that your drinker had provided are burned off, you can take help of exogenous ketones supplements to easily get back into ketosis. Now you may follow your keto diet plan and be at peace.

Editor’s note: – If you are interested in ketosis, and following ketogenic diet plans, we recommend two very useful resources – Perfect Keto, a natural supplement to get you into the state of Ketosis as quickly and effectively as possible, and The Essential Keto Cookbook, a great way to kickstart your Keto journey