I get a lot of questions about alcohol on a keto lifestyle. Quite a few people worry about this particular issue for two reasons:
1 does alcohol have a negative effect on weight loss while on keto and
2 if the first is the case…can I never ever drink alcohol again then??
Let me start by telling a little bit about my experiences with alcohol BEFORE I started a ketogenic lifestyle. As many of you know,I starting looking for alternative lifestyles in 2013 for health issues, not for weight loss. And one of the very first issues I needed to tackle was my habit of drinking, simply put, way too much alcohol. I had no doubt whatsoever that the amount I consumed on a more or less daily basis was not only detrimental to my health in general (and in all likelihood a major contributor to the condition I was actually in at that time) but also a way of dealing with stress and insecurities. Having a regular drink made me better equipped (or so I thought) to deal with everyday life AND masque the fact I was an introvert trying her utmost best NOT to be socially awkward. And the bottom line was that I did not like myself on alcohol very much .
To the outside world my health conditions may have appeared to be the sole reason for me to stop drinking cold turkey, but I soon felt the vast relief of actually being able to be myself again, socially inept or not, and free to do what I actually wanted to do, as opposed to feeling pressured into having to do the socially accepted things but only with the help of alcohol.
And guess what: even though I may still be the exception in my circle, nobody ever questioned my decision to stop drinking alcohol or tried to force it on me. I still have fun at parties and dinners (and on very special occasions I may have one glass of very dry white wine or a sparkling white wine, usually never even finishing the whole glass) and from what I gather, I am still fun to be around even though everybody else may have had a bit too much to drink ;-).
Here is the general idea I would like to ingrain on you: alcohol on the whole is not socially mandatory, it is always a personal choice. Nobody should feel pressured to partake in alcoholic beverages, it should be something you actually enjoy and not be used as a coping mechanism. As such it is always okay to just say no without an explanation as to why. And keto without alcohol is perfectly fine and normal to do, if not the best choice for your health.
That said, here are some basic facts to keep in mind if you want to consume alcohol while following a keto lifestyle:
- alcohol is best avoided in the early stages of your keto lifestyle and/or till you are keto adapted;
- anyone with a serious medical condition, for example involving kidneys or the liver, should avoid using alcohol or at least discuss it first with their general practitioner;
- moderation is key, not just because any drinks you may have need to fit your macros, you will also need to be aware of addiction patterns cropping up;
- your alcohol tolerance is significantly lower on keto, or simply put: you get drunk faster on less;
- avoid all high sugar alcoholic beverages and stick with the lowest carb drinks (have a look here);
- regular alcohol consumption may indeed result in slower weightloss and might even stop it altogether: the body will always prefer to use alcohol over bodyfat for energy. If you find this is the case for you stop drinking for a while or drink less to see if that helps;
- try to avoid drinking alcohol with very large meals;
- if you decide to not drink any alcohol, do not make the mistake to switch to (diet) sodas; instead stick to flat or sparkling water, infused water (click here for some lovely ideas), (green) tea or coffee.