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Keto & Alcohol: Can You Drink And Stay In Ketosis?

<article> <section> <p>Ah, alcohol. We toast with it, drink it with meals, and even join groups about it (craft beer enthusiasts, anyone?). Whether it’s a thick beer or nice bottle of wine, people can be pretty gung-ho about drinking the stuff.</p> <p>But most people don’t know how alcohol fits into the picture if they’re trying to lose weight. This applies even more for people using a low-carb diet or ketogenic diet.</p> <p>Most people have the same questions:</p> <ul> <li>Can I drink and still lose weight?</li> <li>Will alcohol knock me out of ketosis?</li> <li>How many calories and carbs are in alcohol?</li> <li>If I want to drink alcohol on keto, when should I do it as part of a healthy lifestyle?</li> </ul> <p>In this article, we’re breaking down what happens to your body when you drink, how keto and alcohol are related, and how you might use alcohol on keto.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>What Happens When You Drink Alcohol?</header> <p>If you’ve had alcohol, you ‘know’ what it does to you. But do you <i>really</i> know?</p> <p>Because alcohol is rapidly absorbed into your bloodstream, it begins flowing through your body within five to ten minutes and can peak as soon as thirty.</p> <p>Your liver is responsible for 90 percent of the metabolizing of alcohol, meaning it must convert it from a toxic substance into water and carbon dioxide. The rest is excreted through your breath and urine <sup>1</sup>.</p> <p>Alcohol can have many negative effects on your body, especially when consumed in large doses. Here are some things that happen to your body when you drink alcohol.</p> <div class="sub-head">1. Digestive Problems</div> <p>We’ve talked a ton recently about how vital the digestive system is for our health (this is one of the reasons we created our <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">digestion bundle</a>). There are billions of little bacterias in your gut that fight off disease, absorb nutrients, and determine your energy levels. Scientists now regularly refer to the gut as our <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer"><i>second brain</i></a>.</p> <p>Drinking alcohol can cause damage to the digestive tract and limit absorption of nutrients <sup>2</sup>, and heavy drinking can lead to even worse things like <i>ulcers</i>.</p> <div class="sub-head">2. Inflammation and Liver Damage</div> <p>Chronic inflammation makes our joints hurt and can lead to diseases like cancer and diabetes. This is one reason we’re so big on the <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">keto diet</a>—it <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">reduces inflammation</a>.</p> <p>Our livers are built to remove toxins from our bodies. Drinking alcohol taxes our liver and can damage it long-term. Without a properly functioning liver, we are unable to remove the toxins and other harmful substances from our body that lead to inflammation and disease.</p> <div class="sub-head">3. Sugar Levels</div> <p>Oh boy, this one’s kind of rough. You might read the headline ‘Sugar Levels’ and think, <i>Wait, a beer or a glass of wine doesn’t have a ton of sugar in it, what gives?</i></p> <p>True, but that’s not the connection we’re making to alcohol. The pancreas helps regulate your body’s insulin level. And just like when your liver isn’t functioning properly, a damaged pancreas can lead to all sorts of problems. You may be more at risk for diabetes or other problems with your blood sugar if you drink too much alcohol <sup>3</sup>.</p> <div class="sub-head">4. Dependency: The Mental/Emotional Connection to Alcohol</div> <p>The first three hit the body pretty hard, but this final one might be the worst of all. Sadly, many of us know someone with an emotional or physical dependence to alcohol. Just like <i>stress eating</i>, using alcohol to cope with problems is not a healthy mechanism.</p> <p>For us, a good <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">at-home workout</a> or a long walk is a better way to boost our spirits.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="measuring-tape-on-waist-black-and-white-0080"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Alcohol and Weight Gain: 3 Huge Problems</header> <p>Chances are if you’re a fan of what we do at <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Warrior Made</a>, you’re in the midst of a body transformation—or, at least you’re considering one. We thought it would be prudent to look at how alcohol can lead to weight gain before we dive into the keto and alcohol conversation.</p> <p>You know, in case you needed a little extra motivation.</p> <div class="sub-head">1. Extra Sugars</div> <p>You already know that alcohol messes with your blood sugar. Unless you’re a whiskey-on-the-rocks type of drinker, chances are you’re adding something to your drinks. And all that extra sugar is making it that much harder for you to shed body-fat and stay low-carb.</p> <p>For the record, a standard 12-ounce margarita has just under 700 calories in it and about as much sugar and carbs as a can of soda <sup>4</sup>.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="rainbow-champagne-glasses-0080"> </picture> <div class="sub-head">2. Empty Calories</div> <p>If you like to drink and you’re trying to lose weight, you’re not going to be happy with us after you read this section. The truth is, alcohol has a ton of calories in it—and they’re what we call <i>empty calories</i>, because they are entirely void of nutrition.</p> <p>Here are some caloric facts for you to consider <sup>5</sup>:</p> <ul> <li>A 12-ounce bottle of light beer is about 100 calories.</li> <li>A shot of 80-proof spirits (gin, whiskey, rum, etc.) has 64 calories.</li> <li>A 5-ounce glass of red or white wine has about 125 calories in it. </li> </ul> <p>Let’s say you have a ‘few’ beers every Sunday during football season—we’ll call it one per quarter. A season is sixteen weeks, so that’s sixty-four beers. Your game-day habit comes out to about 6,400 empty calories, or just under two pounds of body-fat.</p> <div class="sub-head">3. Late-Night Snacking</div> <p>Rarely does a night of drinking lead to the best decisions, and food is sitting shotgun in that bad choice car. Studies show that we’re more prone to eating fast food or making bad dietary choices when we’re drunk <sup>6</sup>. Most of us eat anywhere from 700 to 1,000 extra calories (most of which are carbs) than we would normally when we go out drinking.</p> <p>(P.S. We’re pretty sure we didn’t need to cite a study for this—perhaps you just remembered some of your college days?).</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Is Alcohol Serving You?</p></h4> </header> <p>Alright folks, one more thing to consider about alcohol on its own. Then we’ll tackle keto and alcohol, cheat days, and everything in between to wrap this thing up.</p> <p>One thing to consider about your drinking: what does drinking do for you? In what way does alcohol serve you? Is it a social thing? Do you do it to relieve stress? Do you just kinda do it, and aren’t sure why?</p> <p>We’re not trying to shame you into never drinking. You already know it’s full of calories and carbs and not great for you. In fact, you’ll see in a minute our guidelines on how we’d recommend drinking with a low-carb diet. We’re simply trying to get you think more about why you drink.</p> <p>But if we can leave you with a thought about alcohol, it’s this: for your body and weight loss efforts, it does <i>nothing</i> for you. Perhaps you have reasons for drinking, but none of them are health-related.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="whiskey-with-ice-in-glass-0080"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Can You Drink Alcohol and Stay in Ketosis?</header> <p>Low-carb diets like the keto diet are proven tools to help you lose weight. Alcohol, as you now know (or have been reminded of) is a hindrance to that. So, how to keto and alcohol work together? And most importantly, can you drink alcohol on keto?</p> <p>The truth is that many types of alcohol are high-carbohydrate. Beer contains up to 12 grams of carbs per twelve-ounce bottle, and sugary drinks like margaritas can have up to 40 grams <sup>7</sup>. </p> <p>This means that if—and we mean <i>if</i>—alcohol is going to be part of your life on a low-carb diet, you’ll need to choose what you drink pretty carefully. Drinking alcohol on keto can be a slippery slope.</p> <div class="sub-head">Did You Know?</div> <p>We’ve talked about how alcohol is empty calories, but this tidbit is also interesting for anyone on the keto diet: when you drink alcohol, your body actually prioritizes its metabolization over other things. Basically, it gets it out of your body as fast as possible.</p> <p>For you low-carb dieters looking to benefit from being a fat-burner in ketosis, this obviously poses a big problem. Instead of burning stored fat, your body first burns off the sugars from alcohol instead. This is another reason we’re not a big fan of drinking alcohol on the keto diet.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="tequila-shots-with-lime-0080"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>If I’m Going to Drink, <i>What</i> Should I Drink On a Low-Carb Diet?</header> <p>If you’re on a low-carb diet, what should you drink if regular beer and sugary mixed drinks are off the table?</p> <p>There are some options for slightly more keto-friendly drinks. Light beer has as few as three grams of carbs, red and white wine as little as four grams, and spirits like gin, vodka, and whiskey have none.</p> <p>So while we don’t recommend drinking on keto, it is possible to make some more keto-friendly drinks and keto cocktails that won’t harm your diet as much.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>If I’m Going to Drink, When Should I Do It?</header> <p>Our recommendation if you’re going to drink is to do it on your cheat days. In fact, we created plans like our <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">14-Day Diet</a> to account for lapses in your diet for reasons just like this.</p> <p>Our reason for saving alcohol for your cheat days is simple. Alcohol knocks you out of a state of ketosis, messes with your digestive system, and encourages you to eat unhealthy food. Basically, keto and alcohol go together like oil and water.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>What Is a Cheat Day?</header> <p>On a cheat day, you pretty much eat whatever you want. And yes, that includes fats and sugars. Your favorite indulgences are fair game for the next twelve hours.</p> <p>A cheat day is an opportunity to rev up your metabolism and give yourself a psychological boost. In fact, it’s the second of three rules from our guidelines for success on the <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">14-Day Diet</a>. We see the cheat day as an essential component of a healthy lifestyle.</p> <p>Don’t worry, one day off your diet won’t crush your goals of weight loss—in fact, it might help you get there faster. Want to know the end result of your “day off”? Here it is.</p> <p>Your metabolism will be boosted, your mindset will be stronger, and any negative effects of eating low-carb (like low energy when you get started, for example) for twelve straight days are gone.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Wrapping Up</header> <p>As part of a healthy lifestyle, alcohol can still have its place. Keto and alcohol can fit together, as long as the low-carb diet is your focus about 95 percent of the time.</p> <p>Keep in mind, though, that you’re kidding yourself if you think of alcohol as being healthy. It doesn’t do anything good for your body, so limit it to cheat days. Our <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">14-Day Diet</a> outlines a solid plan you can stick to that still accounts for some lapses in judgment.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Warrior Made</a> offers at-home workouts, nutrition and diet tips, and the support you need for a full-body transformation. When you’re ready to ditch the Irish coffee for some <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">butter coffee</a>, we’ll be here for you.</p> <div class="sub-head">Resources</div> <ol> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer"> What happens when you drink alcohol?</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer"> The Effects of Alcohol on Your Body: Digestive system</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer"> The Effects of Alcohol on Your Body: Sugar levels</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer"> How Many Calories Are in a Margarita on the Rocks?</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer"> What Alcoholic Drinks Have the Least Amount of Calories</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer"> How Many Calories You Consume When You Drunk Eat</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer"> Many Types of Alcohol Are High in Carbs</a></li> </ol> </section> </article>

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