The DO’s [and DON’Ts] of Alcohol On The Ketogenic Diet Explained

The DO’s [and DON’Ts] of Alcohol On The Ketogenic Diet Explained


Can you drink alcohol on the keto diet?
The short answer is YES but being able to enjoy a drink and still achieve your
goals goes beyond simply counting the carbs in alcoholic drinks.
Let’s find out more… Hey, Carb Dodgers! My name is Dr Dan Maggs, now I struggle with my weight for pretty much the first thirty years of my life
until I learned how to do a low carb diet properly and I lost thirty
kilograms or about sixty six pounds in just over six months and I’ve maintained
that for over three years now. And it changed the way I practice medicine and
I want to share what I’ve learned with you to help you live a longer leaner
healthier life. I upload new videos every Tuesday and
I’d love it if you’d subscribe to my channel. Just click the subscribe button
and then the bell 🔔 to get notified when a new video goes live. So today I’m going
to answer one of the questions that I get asked on a regular basis. “Can you
drink alcohol on the keto diet?” In a nutshell, yes. Many people consume
low-carb alcohol such as wine or spirits in moderation on a ketogenic diet and
are still able to lose weight. Many so-called diets require you to
completely abstain from alcohol and yes if you’re trying to lose weight then you
may wish to keep your alcohol to a minimum in order to maximize your
results. But completely abstaining from alcohol isn’t often necessary and I
think if we’re gonna move from diet to lifestyle then we have to acknowledge the role that alcohol plays in many of our lives and many of our cultures.
Look at how we can integrate it into our lives and still achieve our goals in the
longer term and I know altogether too well from my day-to-day medical work
that alcohol causes a lot of people a lot of devastating consequences in their
lives. So I’m not promoting drinking alcohol in it this video but I’d like to
think that we can have an ADULT conversation about it. So we have to
acknowledge that drinking is an important part of many cultures and in
fact when we look at some of the areas of the world where we find people with
the longest lifespan, so-called blue zones; such as Sardinia
and PRP in Italy. We find that alcohol consumption in moderation is
an important part of their social lives. There is a lot more to understanding
alcohol and ketosis than just knowing the carb counts of various drinks. So in
this video, I’m going to cover how alcohol affects you differently when
you’re in ketosis, namely, you get drunk a lot quicker and your hangovers can be a
lot worse. I’ll be explaining why this is. Secondly, I’ll be looking at why
alcohol can actually pause the process of ketosis itself and then I’ll be
answering the question that is important for many people,
will alcohol consumption slow down my weight loss while I’m doing the keto
diet? And to finish up I’m gonna be taking you through some of the good and
some of the not-so-good choices for alcohol whilst doing keto. So we’ve got a
lot to cover so let’s get going. So ketosis changes the way our bodies
respond to alcohol. The first thing you’ll probably notice, the first time you have a drink after starting keto it’s not your alcohol tolerance is
really low. Now depending on your perspective, this can be a good thing or it might be a bad thing. It’s certainly gonna mean you’re a cheap date. There are lots of things that affect your alcohol tolerance things like your genetics, your
body weight, your hydration and how frequently and how heavily you drink on
a regular basis but diet also has an important impact and keto is a great
example of this. So why does this happen? Well there are a couple of things that
are involved. High carb meals we know slow down alcohol absorption. And if you’ve ever drunk on an empty stomach you’ll know that you’re gonna feel much
more intoxicated much more quickly than you would have if you’ve eaten. You
may have noticed that you need a larger amount of alcohol to reach the same
effect after a large carb base meal. We know that alcohol absorption is
prolonged for around two hours after a high carb
and whilst I’m not aware of any scientific studies that directly compare
the alcohol absorption after a low carb meal versus after a high carb meal…
Anecdotally it does seem that alcohol is absorbed more quickly after a low carb
meal than a high carb one. The second is low glycogen levels. Glycogen is our
short term stores of easy-to-access carbohydrates that we find in muscles
and in the liver and it’s the liver we’re interested in because that’s where
alcohol is mainly metabolized in your body. If you’re on a high carb diet then
your glycogen stores in your liver are usually pretty full and if you’ve
watched my how ketones are formed in the body video, which I’ll link to in the
description below this video, then you’ll know that in order to get into ketosis
you must have used up your glycogen stores and it’s these glycogen stores
that seem to act like a cushion for absorbing some of the alcohol but when
you’re in ketosis you’ll process the alcohol much more rapidly and you’ll
feel it effects sooner because you don’t have that glycogen cushion there anymore. The second thing that you might notice and I hope that you don’t is that
hangovers can be a lot worse when you’re in ketosis and again there aren’t any
definitive studies that I know about they explain exactly why this is but it
likely has to do with dehydration and electrolyte abnormalities which are
creating the perfect recipe for a bad hangover. So now we come to an important
question, “Will alcohol affect ketosis?” As I mentioned, alcohol metabolism occurs
mainly in the liver but so does ketone production and yes alcohol absolutely
affects ketone production. One of the core aims of eating a ketogenic diet is
to keep the levels of insulin low to reduce the storage of fat. So most
hormones in the body have an opposite hormone and insulin is no different
insulins opposite hormone is glucagon and what’s the insulin is produced in
response to high blood glucose levels glucagon is the opposite it’s produced
in response to low blood glucose level. Firstly, it signals the breakdown of
those glycogen stores we mentioned earlier and if there’s no glycogen left
it tells the liver to produce ketones from stored body fat. So being in ketosis
is a low insulin high glucagon state. So what’s this got to do with alcohol?
Well alcohol consumption reduces glucagon levels reducing or stopping the
production of ketones and when we think about it this makes sense because your
body is all of a sudden found a new energy source and alcohol is an energy
source. So it doesn’t need to keep breaking down fat for energy. So alcohol
pauses ketosis and you can test this yourself if you have a blood ketone
meter you’re in ketones sticks are too slow to respond to this change and
alcohol will actually cause a false positive result if you’re using one of
the ketone breath monitors. There is however one exception which to be honest
is probably more of an interest to me as a doctor, in heavy and frequent drinkers
the opposite can actually be true. There is a condition called “alcoholic
ketoacidosis” where loads of ketones are produced and this is a common reason why
people with alcoholism end up admitted into hospitals but for the average
person who occasionally consumed a small or moderate amount of alcohol
intermittently this doesn’t occur. So, YES, alcohol will disrupt ketosis but only
temporarily and this is really really useful to know when we talk about the
effects of drinking on weight loss which brings me on to ask the all important
question… “Will alcohol slow down my weight loss when I’m on the keto diet?” You’ve probably guessed that it does. It inhibits glucagon which is the hormone
that promotes fat breakdown into ketones but it’s useful to know that it only
pushes pause on this process and once the body has done dealing with the
alcohol ketosis can quickly resume you can compare that temporary pause to when
we consume carbohydrates where we begin to fill up our empty glycogen stores
from where it can take several days in order to get back into ketosis. So in your weight loss journey consuming alcohol is like standing still for a
moment before you continue on with your journey
whereas consuming carbohydrates it’s like taking several steps backwards and
those are steps that you will have to take again in order to get back to where
you were before and what about the carbs in alcohol? Yes, we do have to consider
the carb count of the alcoholic drink itself and I’m actually going to be
covering some of the better low carb options later in this video. The other thing that we have to consider is that Alcohol is an “energy source”.
In fact, alcohol is often referred to as the fourth macronutrient along with proteins
fats and carbohydrates. You may have heard of alcohol being referred to as
just empty calories and this is true it provides a source of energy to the body
that doesn’t really have any nutritional value and the energy that we get from
alcohol is energy that we don’t need to get from elsewhere such as your fat
stores so yes you do have to account for the calories that alcohol provides as
well as the carbs. Finally when it comes to thinking about alcohol and weight loss we have to consider the effect that alcohol has on our decision-making
abilities especially when we have a lower tolerance to alcohol because as we
know we’re in ketosis. Where is that one low carb drink going to lead to? Are you
gonna find yourself waking up at five o’clock in the morning still drunk from
the night before with pizza on your face that you’ve
passed out in whilst drunk the previous evening. Now you know yourself better than anyone so all I ask of you is to be honest with
yourself, are you someone who can do alcohol in moderation and this is one of
the areas that I discuss really early on with my coaching clients because I found
time and time again people whose social lives revolve around drinking quite
heavily are really unlikely to succeed on a ketogenic diet unless they really
address that part of their lives. So of course, if you’re trying to lose weight
and are struggling to do so whilst drinking alcohol then you may wish to
abstain from it and it’s worth mentioning that whilst many people do
ketogenic diets for weight loss that there are also a lot of people who do it
to reverse the effects of metabolic syndrome such as type 2 diabetes and
fatty liver disease and if you are on a ketogenic diet to reverse the effects of
fatty liver disease then you should absolutely abstain from alcohol until
you reverse the underlying problem. A fatty liver looks the same whether it’s
been caused by alcohol or by carbohydrates and consuming either is
likely to make it worse or at least help your recovery so if you do decide that
you want to drink whilst on keto… What alcohols are keto friendly? Well, first of all spirits and the best options are the highly distilled spirits
such as vodka tequila and gin things like that and these can be paired with a
low carb or no carb mixer one really popular zero carb choice is vodka with
soda water which I just found out is called seltzer water in the USA, who knew.
Basically vodka with fizzy water and lime juice. Now this cocktail has a name which might be considered somewhat rude so I’m not
going to say it here but if anyone does know what it’s called
then please drop that in the comments down below this video. So wine is another
good option which is low carb although not zero carbs. White wines are generally
lower in carbs than red. Dry wines are generally lower in carbs and sweet ones
Champagne and Carver the dry end of the sparkling wine sections are also really
good options. Now I don’t want to go through the carb counts in all the
different great varieties of wine but I do have a free downloadable PDF guide
which contains all that information and also covers the carb counts of loads of
different food groups such as fruits vegetables nuts and seeds and also non
alcoholic low-carb drinks. So if you’re new to keto then make sure you go and check the link to find it is in the comments
down below this video. So annoyingly for me, beer is on the list of drinks to
avoid as are any of the other sweetened alcoholic drinks or cocktails but
depending on where you are in the world there are more and more low carb alcohol
products being made for those of us living the keto lifestyle so that’s
about it lots to think about there I just wanna sum things up and talk about
some of the ways that you can minimize some of the negative effects that we’ve
talked about so far and #1 Drink in moderation and infrequently excess
alcohol is never good for you #2 Drink on a full stomach low
carb might not be able to absorb as much alcohol as a large high carb meal but
it’s better than drinking on an empty stomach #3 Keep hydrated when
you’re drinking why not try alternating alcoholic drinks with water. #4 If you’re trying to lose weight you may wish to abstain from alcohol but if not
then be sure to measure the effects of drinking alcohol on your weight loss
goals and #5 is Avoid alcohol if you have fatty liver disease. So that’s it for this week’s video. I hope you’ve enjoyed it I’ve definitely
gone a lot deeper with this week’s video and I hope the information has been
useful to you I always try to make videos that are
gonna be able to help you be successful in your goals so if you have found this
video helpful then please give it a thumbs up and maybe leave me a comment
down below I do try and respond to every comment
thank you to everybody who’s left me a comment
previously on videos it’s really really great to hear how you’re getting on with
things how you’re progressing in your own journeys and if you’ve got any
suggestions for future videos that you’d like me to make that’d be helpful to you
then that’s a great place to leave your suggestions if you think you’d know
someone who benefit from this video I’d love it if you’d go ahead and share it
with them and if you want to stay in touch then don’t forget to subscribe to
this channel and if you hit the belt you’ll get notified whenever I upload a
new video which I do every Tuesday that’s it for today hope
I’ll see you next Tuesday

70 Replies to “The DO’s [and DON’Ts] of Alcohol On The Ketogenic Diet Explained

  1. Don't drink alcohol and don't need to lose weight but enjoyed your video! Pleased that you mentioned the devastating effects that alcohol has had in many many lives.

  2. I don't drink but this is very informational. Something to share with friends who are drinking and is "trying" keto diet. What is the drink you mentioned in your video that you won't mention?

  3. The pause and rewind effect was very useful as I certainly find myself carb sensitive if I deter from strict keto. 2–3 days to get back in ketosis and can often result in 2-3lbs gain too. I rarely have alcohol now but it’s wine when I do and my tolerance is much lower. I want my bed after 2 glasses! Loved the more in-depth scientific explanations but I would as a biochemist! Top job Dr Dan 🙌🏻

  4. Thanks so much for this video. Since Keto is not thoroughly established as a sanctified diet (at least here in the US), there is a lot of conflicting information. For a future video, perhaps you can talk about “carb-cycling.” Many say it’s helpful, but others say it’s sabotaging the diet. For myself, as an full- blown carb addict, I can’t see it as ever being helpful for me, but maybe it’s different for others.

  5. Hi Dr. Dan, I have a penchant for strong Belgian ale that I have given up since going keto. However, occasionally I would like to indulge on special occasions. Given that a bottle has maybe 40g carbs, which will likely be used to replace glycogen stores, would doing hard exercise the next day help to expedite a return to ketosis? I figure that the sooner the glycogen stores can be emptied, the sooner ketosis will resume. Is my line of thinking here on track? Thanks!

  6. Hey Doc! I have just found you, you've got to put more videos out!!! I love your work and want more! Instfan after one video. m/

  7. I didn't drink for 17 yrs and did tons of running. At 178 cm, I could still never get my weight below ~80.5 kg. I always still had a belly, but I did nothing about my diet. Now I am trying no alcohol for 30 days, exercising mostly by walking and calisthenics, and doing a keto diet w intermittent fasting. I am waiting for a bicycle to arrive. Trying to get down to ~77 kg. I apppreciate your videos!

  8. Thanks for this. I have been on the Keto diet now for 4 weeks and have lost 6kg, although now I have reached a bit of a plateau. I started this diet primarily to lose weight, but most of my weight gain has been due to alcohol which I have had a problem with for the last 20 years, and especially the last year or so since retirement as I look forward to it by midday… I am an anaesthetist and so have had a very busy working at a large public hospital, and the only time I abstained was when I was on call, otherwise rarely a day would go by without having a drink of some sort. I have noticed that since starting the Keto diet that my craving for alcohol has decreased drastically, and I don't even think about it for most of the day which has been a real surprise for me. In one month I have had alcohol on three occasions (slow learner) and each time I felt pretty awful. Firstly I didn't get the effect I was looking forward to, and later felt dull, dry and just befuddled. I'm wondering if this is a common benefit of Keto, or am I motivated to feel this way as I have been keen to stop drinking for a long time and it's mostly in my head… Thanks again for the great videos.

  9. Thank you so much. I thought this was probably true, but to hear it aloud by you helped me make the decision to cut way back on drinking at night. I'm a month in on Keto diet, lost 15lbs but I know it's going slower than it needs to bc I drink a few whiskeys on ice every night. I'm switching to 2 nights off/1on and will let you know the results. Thx for everything.

  10. I like vodka but rarely. I heard there was a cranberry juice with low carbs as an option to add. I will occasionally have a glass of red or blush wine. Not much of a drinker though.

  11. I stopped going to the pub a month ago, and stopped the alcohol 2 weeks ago when hitting the keto and omad. The thing is, I will break this at Christmas, and for me this lasts 2 weeks. The tough thing will be getting back into it in the new year as at the moment I have a target to aim for but afterthe celebrations then Easter is a long way. I certainly won't be drinking wine or spirits as never have done and the lowest carb beer, Marstons resolution is hard to get in shops never mind the pub. Holsten pils and other pilsners are lowish and I will likely try those although I'm a real ale drinker normally. Just don't want to do too much damage. I will also try and lay off the roast spuds, parsnips, yorkshire pudding and stuff my face with meat, cauli and sprouts. Damn stilton has to have a cracker with it though but I'm fortunate I don't like mince pies or plum pudding 🙂

  12. As a fellow Brit, i know what "see you next tuesday" really means 😀 But im sure your use of it was perfectly innocent
    Anyway new subscriber here, about to work my way through your other videos, its great to find a british doctor to hear the opinions of, while im sure the US doctors ive been watching are telling me the truth, its still nice to hear a UK accent.
    Im a Carnivore, only about 9 days in to it so far but im feeling amazing, and even though im still too heavy for my scales, i feel im turning fat into muscle and my shape and posture are already changing (im working out too)

  13. Great video, lots of useful information.I drink Jack & coke zero, usually 2 a night.I'm on my 4th week of Keto & lost 13lbs.

  14. Really like your content could you do a program about keto after thyroid surgery. I’m fully healed with the medication and hormone fluctuations can keto work for someone like me?

  15. Hi Dr. Maggs, thank you for explaining effects of drinking on keto. Does 1 drink "usually" knock you out of ketosis and do you know about how long it takes to burn off one drink before re-entering ketosis? Days or hours?

  16. I enjoy 2-3 oz of V.S.O.P. cognac after my supper. Never during the day or more than that. I love dark micro brews but too many carbs.

  17. The alcohol is digested similar to sugar, so there are no keto-friendly alcohol drinks. I think you should correct your title to "Low carb diet-friendly alcohols" because none of the alcohols are keto-friendly. Don't confuse the people by equalizing keto and low carb diet PLEASE!!!

  18. Awesome video. Love a glass (100 ml to 150 ml) of red wine with my diner, never without food, and that's my daily dosage as I do intermitente fasting with one meal a day and a feeding window of 4 to 6 hours. Of course that, being Portuguese, that is not easy with all great wines and foods we have………….

  19. Not what happens to me. In ketosis, I can't get drunk, unless I drink a full whiskey bottle myself. And I wake up perfectly the other day.

  20. A big problem for me is the urge to cheat with a candybar or chips after having even just a few drinks at night. I feel the cheat is as bad for me as the alcohol, but I'm really struggling to resist it!

  21. I loved alcohol before Keto, 2 drinks a day, it always gave me a nice buzz feeling. But, I've been on Keto for 6 months and drinking alcohol really sucks now. I no longer get the nice buzz feeling and it makes me feel drop dead tired (mentally depressed) requiring a late afternoon nap that really messes up my sleep at night. I rarely drink now, it's not fun for me while on Keto… I don't plan on quitting Keto so I can enjoy alcohol again but I miss the good effect I used to get from alcohol. After 20 years of moderate drinking I assumed I would drink that way for the rest of my life but Keto killed my desire for alcohol… life is about change I guess.

  22. I’m about five months into my keto adventure, and I’ve lost almost 40 pounds. I subscribe to your channel because I think it will provide me with much useful information, thank you so much!

  23. Couple / three times a month I'll have A bourbon or glass of wine. Too big of a pain in the ass abstaining around people that I don't wish to engage in a Keto diet discussion with most of the time. Toasts at family evts are almost required. Of course, if I had a problem with alcohol I'd stop entirely. You make the most salient point in the video regarding both carbs and alcohol — it slows or stops the weight loss and the continuing weight loss means more to me than the keto vices.

  24. I am 65, I have T2 diabetes, fatty liver, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and I use to drink alcohol in moderation: 125 ml of red wine (home made) or 35 ml of spirit drinks (vodka, whiskey). I use to drink this about 3 times a week (not both together, wine or spirit). Since a few weeks I try to follow a low carb/keto diet.

  25. Thank God… someone actually addressing a problem we all face when we go out. I usually have Vodka and slim tonic. but wine is good too. never beer …boo hoo.. than you.

  26. High quality vodka mixed with diet lemon-lime soda with a generous splash of fresh lime or lemon juice with plenty of ice. 🍋🍸👏🏻😋

  27. Alcohol actually boosts ketosis and if you drink on an empty Stomach, then your body is unable to process the booze as fat.

  28. Don't overindulge. Limit to 2-3 drinks then wake up decently rested and go for a 5km run. That should burn off any remaining glycogen stores and get you quickly back into ketosis.

  29. Nicely done, with good information and good advice (without over judging or ignoring reality). Personally, I want health and eat right. On occasion, I enjoy a little alcohol.

  30. Hurray to all the people in this world who dare to talk about the things that could be tabu! That includes you mr! 😀 welldone

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