keto nutrition Jun 29, 2020

What happens when you drink alcohol on keto? 


 Friends, this post is coming to you from a place of love.

 I’m never going to tell you that you can or cannot have something because, I don’t have that authority over you, and also you are a grown ass adult who is able to make her own decisions about life! 

 It is, however, my job to help you understand the impact of the choices that you make on your weight loss.  So here it goes: no shooting the messenger on this one, please!


Alcohol – Can it Hinder My Weight Loss?

 Whether you are keto or not, alcohol can hinder your weight loss.   A lot of people assume that alcohol’s biggest threat is the empty calories (and for those of us faithful ketoers, the second threat would be how fast the carb content can creep up.).

In reality, it’s not really the calories or the carb content that are the big disrupter of weight loss. (though they don’t help).  The real threat is that our bodies do not have any capacity to store alcohol. 

 Our body has an oxidative priority which means that the things we consume get processed and/or stored in a specific order.  Alcohol is numero uno – which means that no matter what else we consume, if we are drinking alcohol, our body has to deal with that first. 

 The alcohol goes to our liver, and our liver has to change it into acetate.  Because the liver is caught up in that exhaustive process, it is no longer able to convert fat into ketones for fuel (for the time being) so everything else that we consume goes straight into fat storage.

 The interesting thing is that people often think that drinking puts them into a deeper state of ketosis.  This is because they have checked their ketone levels and they have gone up.  But, guess what?   The reason your ketones may appear to be higher is because you are not using them for fuel, when your body is still burning off the alcohol.

 This is not a good thing – you want to be running on ketones which are converted from stored body fat!

 Instead of running on ketones, when you drink alcohol, your body has to burn the “acetate” from the alcohol first.  Another thing that happens during this process is that the alcohol uses up the liver’s storage of glutathione.

 Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant made by the body (in the liver), out of three amino acids – cysteine, glutamine and glycine.   And it is used for a number of processes in the body that include immune functions, detoxification and even the breakdown of fats!


I think my tolerance has gone down.

 Dave Asprey of Bulletproof cautions that people who are in ketosis often report that they have less tolerance to alcohol.

While this may seem like a good thing, it is a cause to slow down and pay attention to your body if you choose to drink. It’s always best to have a plan ahead of time exactly how much you are going to drink on any given occasion, anyway. 

 What causes further concern here is that people who are consistently in ketosis often do not eat as much or as often as those who are not – while this usually is the object of the game – if you know you are going to be drinking, please do not do it on a fasted stomach.  This may or may not be one of the reasons that fat-burners have reduced tolerance to alcohol. 

 While all the above things may not be a cause for concern for those who drink sporadically, it can definitely be a problem for those who have a regular habit of indulging in the cocktails.


I think my hangover is worse, too.

 There is a potential that the hangover can be worse when drinking on keto.  The reasons behind this may be that you have knocked yourself out of ketosis – but the other likely reason is that alcohol dehydrates us.

 Those who are on a ketogenic diet do not hold on to a lot of water weight and because of that it is already more important to be diligent about constantly replenishing electrolytes and keeping them in balance. 

 Unfortunately, hangovers can often cause us to have even stronger cravings and those cravings are often not keto-friendly.  The best thing you can do for yourself is mix a big electrolyte-balancing drink and have a meal of fat and protein. 


So, let’s cut to the chase here…you’re saying alcohol is not a great choice…but will it kick me out of ketosis? 

 I honestly cannot answer that question for you, because for some people a drink or two that is low carb appears not to kick them out of ketosis.  While someone else may easily be kicked out by the same drink.

 It is really a similar principle to anything where being in ketosis is involved.  Where eating too much broccoli could keep Sarah out, Suzie eats nothing but broccoli for three days and is fine (not really – but hopefully you understand what I mean.)


But people still lose weight and drink every day!

 Yes – this appears to be true that there are people who drink regularly and are still able to lose weight.  But, please do not mistake this as alcohol helping them do so. 

 A major concern that I have about a regular drinking continuously losing weight while drinking (I’m talking multiple times per week or every day) is that they may be burning through their muscle.

 This is because alcohol reduces their (men or women) level of testostrone for up to 24 hours after drinking plus it increases estrogen by up to 300%.  Craig and Maria Emmerich, in their book share that this increased estrogen is actually what creates the “beer belly.”  They choose to refer to it as the estrogen belly. 


Hopefully now that you have some of the information you are able to make your own decision about what is right you, your body and your weight loss adventure.   

It it out of the scope of this article for me to recommend to you what you should be drinking, but if you refer to the resource list and checkout Dave Asprey's video, he can answer that for you.   

Many people have asked what my experience is with drinking alcohol on keto, however, I do not have a first hand account and I made the decision to stop drinking when I started keto.  


Click here to read how to plan ahead of time for social gatherings - no matter what you choose to eat or drink! 




 Bulletproof. 2020. Keto And Alcohol: Will Drinking Kick You Out Of Ketosis?. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 29 June 2020].
 Emmerich, M. and Emmerich, C., 2018. Keto. 1st ed. Las Vegas: Victory Belt Publishing, Inc.
 Mullens, A. and Dr. Bret Scher, M., 2020. 7 Things You Need To Know About Alcohol And The Keto Diet – Diet Doctor. [online] Diet Doctor. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 June 2020].


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