The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet used by many people to lose weight and improve health.
It typically requires careful planning so that you stick within your daily carb allotment and keep your body in ketosis. This may mean giving up sweets, snacks and other high-carb indulgences like soft drinks and alcohol.
However, there are plenty of low-carb alcoholic beverages that you can enjoy in moderation — even on a keto diet.
This article gives you the best and worst alcoholic drinks to choose on the keto diet.
Many low-carb alcohol options are available if you follow a keto diet.
For instance, pure forms of alcohol like whiskey, gin, tequila, rum and vodka are all completely free of carbs.
These beverages can be drunk straight or combined with low-carb mixers for more flavor.
Wine and light varieties of beer are also relatively low in carbs — usually 3–4 grams per serving.
Here is how the top keto-friendly drinks stack up (1):
|Type of alcohol||Serving size||Carb content|
|Rum||1.5 ounces (44 ml)||0 grams|
|Vodka||1.5 ounces (44 ml)||0 grams|
|Gin||1.5 ounces (44 ml)||0 grams|
|Tequila||1.5 ounces (44 ml)||0 grams|
|Whiskey||1.5 ounces (44 ml)||0 grams|
|Red wine||5 ounces (148 ml)||3–4 grams|
|White wine||5 ounces (148 ml)||3–4 grams|
|Light beer||12 ounces (355 ml)||3 grams|
Summary Pure alcohol products like rum, vodka, gin, tequila and whiskey all contain no carbs. In addition, light beer and wine can be relatively low in carbs.
Keto-friendly mixers are just as important as the alcohol itself.
Watch out for common mixers like juice, soda, sweeteners and energy drinks — they can quickly turn a carb-free drink into a high-calorie carb bomb.
Instead, opt for low-carb mixers like diet soda, sugar-free tonic water, seltzer or powdered flavor packets.
These mixers can keep your carb intake low while boosting your beverage’s taste.
Here is the carb content for a few keto-friendly drink mixers (1):
|Type of mixer||Serving size||Carb content|
|Seltzer||1 cup (240 ml)||0 grams|
|Sugar-free tonic water||1 cup (240 ml)||0 grams|
|Diet soda||12-ounce (355-ml) can||0 grams|
|Crystal Light drink mix||1/2 teaspoon (2 grams)||0 grams|
Summary Low-carb mixers like seltzer, sugar-free tonic water, diet soda and powdered flavor packets can keep your drink’s carb content minimal.
Many alcoholic beverages are loaded with carbs, some varieties packing over 30 grams in a single serving.
Meanwhile, regular beer is produced from starch and can contain upwards of 12 grams of carbs in just one can.
Here is a comparison of the carb content of several popular alcoholic beverages — which you should avoid if you’re on a keto diet (1):
|Type of alcohol||Serving size||Carb content|
|Margarita||1 cup (240 ml)||13 grams|
|Bloody Mary||1 cup (240 ml)||10 grams|
|Whiskey sour||3.5 ounces (105 ml)||14 grams|
|Sangria||1 cup (240 ml)||27 grams|
|Piña colada||4.5 ounces (133 ml)||32 grams|
|Cosmopolitan||3.5 ounces (105 ml)||22 grams|
|Regular beer||12-ounce (355-ml) can||12 grams|
Summary Regular beer, cocktails and mixed drinks are often high in carbs, loading 10–32 grams per serving. These are best avoided if you’re on a keto diet.
Although there are plenty of low-carb, keto-friendly alcoholic beverages available, that doesn’t mean that they should become a regular part of your routine.
Even low-carb varieties of alcohol are still rich in empty calories, meaning that they supply many calories with little to no essential nutrients like protein, fiber, vitamins or minerals.
Not only can overindulging in booze increase your risk of nutritional deficiencies over time, but it may also contribute to gradual weight gain.
Alcohol can also suppress fat burning and increase body fat by storing extra calories as fat tissue in your body (3).
For this reason, it’s best to keep alcohol intake moderate — defined as one drink per day for women and two per day for men (5).
Summary Even low-carb varieties of alcohol can contribute to weight gain, nutritional deficiencies and adverse health conditions, which is why it’s important to moderate your intake.
Even on a keto diet, there are plenty of low-carb alcoholic beverages to choose from.
Wine, light beer and pure forms of alcohol — such as whiskey, rum and gin — offer few or zero carbs per serving and are easily paired with low-carb mixers like seltzer, diet soda or sugar-free tonic water.
However, regardless of your diet, it’s best to keep alcohol consumption in check to avoid adverse health effects.
As a rule of thumb, women should stick to a maximum of one drink per day, while men should stick to two or fewer.