Keto and Alcohol: Should You Drink on This Low-Carb Diet? 

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Keto and Alcohol: Should You Drink on This Low-Carb Diet? 

A common ground of many social interactions is alcohol. But if you’re starting the keto diet this new year, does that mean you have to ditch the booze (and your social life) completely?

The ketogenic diet is a weight-loss “hack” that’s becoming increasingly popular by the day, mostly for it’s ability to help you shed unwanted pounds. But here’s the thing — people love alcohol as much (if not more) than they love losing weight. And for some folks, life without it is almost unimaginable.

But is it possible to sip a night cap every now and then without undoing all of your hard-fought progress. Technically… yes. But proceed with caution. Want to learn more? Here’s you guide to drinking alcohol while on keto.

First, a Bit on How Keto Works

The keto diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet that requires you to drastically reduce carbohydrate intake to just 5 to 10 percent of your daily calories from carbohydrates, substituting them with healthy fats (and to a lesser extent, proteins).

And while consuming fats may sound counter-intuitive for someone trying to shed body fat, it’s important to remember that dietary fat doesn’t automatically translate to stored fat in the body.

In fact, the drastic reduction in carb intake forces your body to go into a metabolic state called ketosis — a process that tells your body to burn stored (and consumed) fat for energy, since glucose (from carbohydrates) is unavailable. During this process, fat is converted into ketones to serve as an energy source to the body.

But to get the most out of your keto diet program, you need proper planning to ensure you don’t exceed your daily carb allotment — something very important for keeping your body in ketosis. This, of course, means you may need to ditch some snacks, soft-drinks and yes, sometimes alcohol.

How Drinking Alcohol Affects Ketosis

First off, alcohol has a very high calorie content — containing 7 calories per gram — second only to fats with 9 calories/gram, while carbohydrates and proteins are roughly 4 calories/grams.

But here’s the kicker — unlike carbohydrates, proteins and fats, the body has no way of storing these calories from alcohol for energy. That means it remains in the body until it’s totally burnt off. And since alcohol absorption and breakdown isn’t regulated by hormones, the burden of burning consumed alcohol is exclusively on the liver.

Plus, the body breaks down and utilizes alcohol before any other nutrient. And that actually makes a lot of sense. Since the body can’t store alcohol for fuel, it needs to get rid of it as soon as possible.

So in other words, if you drink alcohol while on your keto diet program, your body will preferentially utilize the alcohol for energy before turning to fats, proteins or carbs. But as mentioned above, the goal of this diet is to burn stored fats for energy, so any alcohol you consume is in direct opposition to this.


Read on: Keto and Alcohol: Should You Drink on This Low-Carb Diet?

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