Thirsty and following the keto diet? If so, you may be wondering what types of drinks are keto-approved and which you should steer away from. After all, drinks are some of the easiest ways to consume more calories, sugar, and carbs than you should, whether you’re on a keto diet or not.
Luckily, we’ve put together a thorough guide that will help you navigate the tricky world of keto beverages, so you have plenty of tasty options that won’t throw you out of
ketosis. Let’s quench that thirst for good!
Water is always the preferred choice, whether you’re on keto or not. While some have no problem consuming the recommended 8 glasses of water per day, others find the taste of the beverage simply lacking and a bit boring. But don’t worry. There are plenty of ways you can mix up your water without going overboard.
- Invest in a filter – Even if water tests show the water coming from your tap is clean, drinking purified or filtered water can alter the taste dramatically. While you can always buy bottled water, this can get expensive over time and all that plastic can have negative effects on the environment. If you own your home, installing a filtration system can buy you peace of mind and ensure your water always tastes delicious. If you rent or don’t want to invest in a built-in filtration system, using a water delivery system is another great option for clean, delicious water.
- Add flavor – There are plenty of ways to add a bit of flavor to your water. You can go the natural route and add fruit, vegetables, or herbs to your water. Let everything sit overnight for delicious infused water the next day. You can also purchase powders or liquids that add flavor to your water without adding calories. You can also go the simple route and enjoy lemon water, which can be made quickly (no infusion necessary).
- Make sure it’s convenient – If you always have water available, you’ll find yourself drinking it more than you would have otherwise. Never leave the house without a water bottle. Make sure water is the first thing you see in your refrigerator rather than juice or soda. When you go out to eat, order a water first and then decide if you want to get something else. These few changes will have you drinking more water with minimal effort.
Need bubbles in your life? For some, carbonation is the missing factor in regular water. Luckily, there are a few options for those that need a little more pep in their beverage.
First, you can go with sparkling mineral water. This beverage is sourced from natural, unpolluted, and underground sources. There are usually small amounts of natural minerals in the water, like magnesium and calcium. In some brands, the carbonation is natural while others have the fizziness added later. It will cost you a bit more, but you’ll feel refreshed after a bubbly glass.
You can also choose seltzer water, which is simply plain water with added carbonation. It won’t have trace minerals like sparkling mineral water does, but is generally more affordable. You can look for plain seltzer or flavored options. Just make sure to check the ingredients in flavored varieties.
Finally, club soda is another option. This is more commonly used as a mixer for beverages, but many enjoy it on its own. This carbonated water beverage’s flavor is enhanced with sodium chloride, potassium sulfate, and sodium bicarbonate. Because it does have a high sodium content level, we recommend sticking to one small serving a day.
At first, juice might seem like the perfect healthy drink. But the truth is that fruit juice and keto are never a good match. Juices are mainly a concentrated source of water and sugar. You’re receiving very few of the nutritional benefits of the fruit(s) the juice was made from. This goes for people not following a keto diet as well.
But if you are on a low-carb diet, fruit juices are also incredibly high in carbohydrates. For example, a cup of orange juice has an astounding 26 net carbs. If you’re really craving fruit juice, one of the best ways to enjoy the taste without putting your level of ketosis at risk is to water down a fruit juice made from keto-friendly fruits, like berries.
An even better alternative is to enjoy vegetable juice. However, making your own or purchasing a freshly made vegetable juice is best. Pre-packaged vegetable juices found in the juice aisle often contain high levels of sodium. You’ll also want to double check the carb content as some veggies contain more net carbs than others.
You also have a few other options. Some keto followers love vitamin water. These often taste like fruit juice but have plenty of additional benefits. But because these often contain sugar, it’s better to look for a sugar-free or diet version of vitamin water that will give you the flavor you’re after but none of the sugar or carbs you’re trying to avoid.
There are also pre-made mixes of sparkling water and juice. While these still have carbs, they can often be enjoyed in moderation because they’re not 100% juice.
Like fruit juice, smoothies are often too high in carbs to be enjoyed on keto. Common ingredients like banana, mango, and pineapple can throw the carb count into serious double digits.
But there are keto-friendly ingredients you can use to make a smoothie that will come in well under your daily carb count. Add high-quality fats, like avocado or nut butters, for a smooth yet thick consistency. Don’t be afraid to add plenty of produce like spinach and kale for nutrition. To add flavor or sweetness, try vanilla extract or coconut yogurt.
Don’t be afraid to experiment a bit. Smoothies are a great way to get in the full nutrition of a meal but on the go. To make your smoothie more of a meal than a snack, try adding a keto-friendly protein powder.
Coffee and tea
Plenty of people, whether they’re on the keto journey or not, love to start their day with either a cup of strong coffee or hot tea. But are these allowed on keto? If
they’re properly prepared, yes. And in some cases, they’re the perfect keto beverage.
When it comes to coffee, there are a few different ways you can enjoy your morning cup of joe. You can enjoy it straight from the pot without adding anything. You can also add a bit of dairy to switch up the flavor and texture. Try full-fat heavy cream, almond milk, or coconut milk. You can also whip up a cup of bulletproof coffee, which offers several keto benefits. Don’t be afraid to come up with your own hot, cold, or blended keto coffee drinks. If all the ingredients fit into the diet, you should be good to go.
Do you prefer hot tea to start your day? Or maybe a cup of tea is the perfect end to your day. Either way, this beverage is very keto-friendly, if you know what to look for. If you’re looking for caffeine, stick with a black tea. But if you’re looking for a different flavor, green tea, either hot or cold, is the way to go.
If you like experimenting with different teas, whether for flavor or benefits, herbal teas are the perfect choice. Just make sure you conduct ample research on your preferred flavor’s ingredients. Herbal teas with dried fruit, added sugar, or unique ingredients could throw you out of ketosis.
Chances are, you already know that diet soda is never a recommended beverage. But considering Americans drink an average of 45 gallons of soda a year, plenty of people ignore this advice. But can you enjoy the occasional glass of diet soda on keto?
The simple answer is yes, you can have a glass of diet soda on keto without worrying about the calorie or carb count throwing off your daily diet. But this comes with its own risks. Diet sodas contain artificial sweeteners. Keto followers know there are safer alternatives. One brand that makes keto-approved diet soda is Zevia. Every can contains only natural ingredients, including stevia and natural flavors, so you can get your soda fix without worrying about what you’re drinking. You can also make your own sodas at home with sparkling water. Just look for keto-friendly flavor additives and sweeteners before you start experimenting.
Just remember that regular soda should be avoided under all circumstances. Just one can of your favorite caffeinated and carbonated beverage usually has enough carbs to exceed your daily limit. For those that enjoy soda on a daily basis, going without is often one of their concerns when considering going keto. But when we speak to those who have been on keto for quite some time, they all say that the cravings do pass with time and that keto-approved beverages like sparkling mineral water or flavored seltzer are enough to give them their fizzy fix.
Dairy is great for keto. But are dairy drinks keto-approved? It depends. Many think milk is keto-friendly because it’s a dairy product. However, milk has too much sugar to be enjoyed freely. But if you can’t go without your milk, whether you’re drinking it or using it in keto recipes, consider any of the following alternatives.
- Coconut milk – 93% of the calories in coconut milk come from fat, so it’s incredibly keto-friendly. It also provides plenty of vitamins and minerals. With only 1 net carb per cup, coconut milk can be enjoyed freely.
- Almond milk – Compared to regular cow’s milk, almond milk is very low in calories and sugar. It also offers plenty of vitamin E, calcium, and vitamin D. Because it’s lactose-free, it can be enjoyed by those who have trouble digesting dairy. Since it has 0 net carbs per cup, almond milk can be enjoyed from morning until night.
- Cashew milk – Like almond milk, cashew milk is also lactose-free. When you’re choosing one, look for a brand that offers the most nutritionally. Because cashew milk is often fortified with different vitamins and minerals, they’re all nutritionally unique. With 3 net carbs per cup, you can still enjoy cashew milk on keto but in moderation.
Other options include flax milk, hemp milk, and soy milk. Just make sure to always check the nutritional value and carb content. Some brands use thickeners or additional ingredients that can turn a harmless dairy substitute into a keto nightmare.
Keto should be providing you with plenty of energy. But if you’re just having an off day or need a little boost, there are keto-friendly energy drinks available. When choosing an energy drink, you’ll want to look for sugar-free or low-carb versions. Any of the regular varieties will have too much sugar and way too many carbs to be considered keto-friendly.
There is plenty of controversy surrounding energy drinks. While the occasional can shouldn’t cause any ill side effects, daily consumption of energy drinks has been linked to caffeine overdoses and the onset of type 2 diabetes. If you find that you’re low on energy during keto, take a moment to evaluate your macros. Make sure you’re consuming enough calories without going overboard on your carbs or protein. You should also be eating healthy fats, not just fat in general.
Finally, you may want to test for ketones in either your breath, urine, or blood. You might think you’re in ketosis when you’re still making the transition, which can lead to low energy levels.
It’s Friday night and you’re wondering, “Can I drink alcohol on keto?” The good news is that yes, you can have a few libations without throwing your body out of ketosis. But the bad news is you can’t just order whatever the Happy Hour special is. You’ll need to be smart and strategic about your choices. Here’s what you need to know.
- Beer – Most beer is high in carbs. There are low-carb varieties out there that you can enjoy in moderation. Just make sure to do your research so you’re not thrown out of ketosis on accident.
- Wine – Wine lovers enjoy touting the benefits of wine but when it comes to keto, you have to be careful. Typically, the cheaper the wine, the more sugar it has. So, you’ll want to do your research on your wine’s ingredients and nutrition. If you’re a fan of white wine, start your research by looking at a sauvignon blanc or an Italian pinot grigio. If you’re a fan of red, gravitate towards a merlot or pinot noir. You should be able to find a few brands of these wine varieties with very low carb counts.
- Hard alcohol – Hard alcohol is typically the most keto-friendly. Options like vodka, whiskey, brandy, rum, tequila, and scotch contain zero carbs and sugars when consumed by themselves. But drinking hard alcohol on its own can lead to intoxication that creeps up on you, along with dehydration and the dreaded hangover. To enjoy hard liquor the smart way on keto, mix it with water or seltzer. Just make sure you avoid carb-heavy mixers like fruit juice and soda
As you can see, there are plenty of keto-friendly beverages to choose from when thirst hits. But if you’re still worried about making the wrong choice, here are a few final tips to keep in mind.
- Water is your friend – When in doubt, always reach for water. No matter the label, it will always have 0 net carbs. Your body needs it and chances are, you’re not drinking as much as you should. If you struggle with keeping up with your daily water intake, start drinking it right away in the morning. Have a glass before your morning cup of coffee or tea. Drink another glass at lunch before reaching for a keto-friendly soda. If you need a keto energy drink before hitting the gym, make sure you enjoy a glass of water first. By waiting until dinner or even later to focus on your water intake, you’re risking mild dehydration.
- Check labels – Just because a beverage type from one brand is keto-friendly doesn’t mean the beverage type from a competitor will be safe. Some diet sodas fit into keto requirements while others should be avoided entirely. A sparkling juice could be low enough in carbs to be enjoyed from one company, but another could throw you out of ketosis. Always double check labels for serving sizes and carb counts so you’re not caught off guard.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment – There are plenty of keto-friendly drinks out there just waiting to be discovered. Try mixing your own ingredients together for your own signature drink that both your keto and non-keto friends will love.
Bottoms up! You don’t have to be bored or thirsty on keto. There are plenty of options out there. Just remember to check labels, just as you would with your food, and enjoy the higher carb options in moderation. Chances are, you can still enjoy your favorite beverage, or its close substitute, on keto without any risk.