Keto Drinks and Beverages: What You Can and Cannot Drink on Keto
We talk a lot about which foods are keto friendly, but what about drinks? When it comes to drinks on keto, plain old water is your best option. On special occasions though, you might want to enjoy a refreshment. Below, you’ll learn which beverages are keto-friendly — both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.
Below are non-alcoholic drinks you can enjoy any day of the week. Certain beverages like water, tea and bone broth can be consumed in abundance. Kombucha, coconut water and other options should be limited to one serving or less per day.
Water is your best option on keto (or any healthy diet) and should be your number one source of hydration. Water is beneficial for digestion and fights fatigue and cravings.
Need a little more flavor? Try these options:
- Add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice
- Infuse with cucumber, watermelon, strawberries or other favorite fruit for a homemade flavored water
- Make your own sparkling water at home using a carbonator.
Many people turn to coffee for a morning boost in energy, but is it keto-friendly? Yes! You can consume both caffeinated and decaf coffee on keto.
While caffeine is a stimulant and therefore should be monitored, caffeine comes with several health benefits. Caffeine has been scientifically shown to promote fat burning, suppress appetite and aid with weight loss — all great benefits to help get you into ketosis[*].
Keto coffee drink options:
- Black: Enjoy drip, espresso, cold brew, aeropress and iced coffee. All options contain zero calories and zero carbohydrates.
- With heavy cream: Add a splash of unsweetened full-fat heavy cream, almond milk or coconut milk to your morning cup for a dose of healthy fats.
- Bulletproof coffee: Bulletproof coffee is made with a cup of black coffee and dollop of grass-fed butter. Make your own variation by combining MCT oil or powder, coconut oil, or grass-fed butter and coffee into a blender.
- Plain lattes*: These come with an asterisk as they should be consumed in extreme moderation. Plain lattes are made with two ingredients, whole milk and espresso, but still contain over 16 grams of carbs[*]. While they come with a good dose of healthy fats, milk (even whole milk) is not recommended on keto because of the carb content.
If your regular Starbucks order is axed by the keto diet, don’t worry — many of these sugary drinks have a homemade version available. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves to a cup of espresso and coconut milk for a dairy-free, no sugar pumpkin spice latte. Want a healthy keto mocha? Add some coconut oil and unsweetened cocoa powder for a creamy, chocolatey treat.
Tea contains zero carbohydrates and has been connected to various health benefits for centuries, making it an excellent beverage choice on keto. Next to water, tea (both hot and iced tea) is a beverage you can consume in abundance on keto. Studies have shown black and green tea have anti-aging and metabolic benefits and can help prevent cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease[*].
- Black teas: Black tea includes Earl Grey, masala chai, English breakfast, assam black tea, Ceylon teas, Nilgiri black teas, and fruit teas such as rose black and lichee black tea.
- Green teas: Greens teas include gyokuro, sencha, bancha, matcha, houjicha, kukicha, genmaicha, gunpowder, long jing, pi lo chun and other varieties. All of these come from the tea plant Camellia sinensis[*].
- Herbal teas: Herbal tea is made from the flowers, leaves, roots and petals of plants. Varieties include anise, chamomile, peppermint, thyme, valerian root, dandelion, kava root, ginger root and turmeric[*]
Try adding heavy cream and a keto-friendly sweetener, such as stevia, to any coffees or teas for an extra treat.
Carbonated water, mineral water, seltzer water and tonic water contain zero net carbs and are refreshing drinks on a low carb diet. If you’re looking to kick the soda habit, want a low carb cocktail (or mocktail) or simply crave something other than regular water, these beverages are excellent choices. You might enjoy the following brands that are infused with cranberry, lime, coconut and other flavors:
- La Croix or other no-calorie flavored seltzer water
- Zevia sodas, which have several flavor options, sweetened only with stevia
You can also make your own healthy soda with sparkling water, keto-friendly sweetener and citrus or other desired flavors.
Most non-dairy milks are keto-friendly drink options. Double-check the ingredients to ensure they do not contain sweeteners, additives like carrageenan and other unwanted additives. Always choose the full-fat option. The best choice is to make them at home — try this recipe for homemade almond milk.
Non-dairy milks to consume include:
- Coconut milk
- Almond milk
- Cashew milk
- Hemp milk
Bone broth helps maintain a healthy gut, repair muscles and support a strong immune system. It’s made by simmering bones with water, herbs and spices, releasing collagen which is connected to various health benefits. Make your own broth by following this recipe or buy Kettle & Fire bone broth online.
Kombucha is a fermented beverage made by combining tea, sugar and a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). Kombucha is glorified in health communities for its health benefits. It’s loaded with probiotics which helps alleviate gas, bloating, constipation and candida.
As stated above, kombucha needs sugar to ferment. Therefore, you need to be extra careful when selecting brands, and triple-check the label. There are varieties of low carb, low-sugar kombuchas available, so don’t bother purchasing a brand that packs 10 grams of carbs into a single serving (which, for the record, is only half the bottle).
For more information on kombucha and recommended brands, read this post.
Coconut water is a clear liquid that comes from the center of green coconuts. It has fewer calories (and unfortunately, less fat) than coconut milk and more potassium than a banana[*]. As with kombucha, you need to pay extra attention to the label when purchasing this product. Only buy plain coconut water, which should have one ingredient.
Most quality brands of coconut water will contain 11 grams of carbohydrates per 8 fluid ounces, so limit your intake to one per day to keep your carb count low. One recommended brand is Bai, which contains just 6 grams of total carbs per serving[*].
For a meal in a glass, make a homemade keto smoothie. There are endless options for a quick, on-the-go meal. To make a keto smoothie, pick from the following ingredients:
- Fats: egg yolks, avocado, nut or seed butters, greens, MCT oil powder, coconut oil
- Dairy: unsweetened full-fat yogurts or coconut yogurt, full-fat dairy milk or nut milks
- Produce: leafy greens like spinach or kale, berries like blueberries or raspberries
- Add-ins: MCT oil powder, matcha powder, coffee, exogenous ketones, collagen peptides, protein powders, powdered or liquid stevia (or other keto sweetener), vanilla or almond extract.
Have some fun with different combinations to find what you like best, or try our favorite recipes:
All alcoholic drinks should always be consumed mindfully, but practice special caution while on keto. All alcohol is a toxin to the body, and any form can lower the production of ketones.
That being said, social gatherings are a necessary and enjoyable part of life. If you want to have a drink from time to time, it’s good to know what’s best.
Here’s a piece of advice you won’t hear every day: Your best bet is sticking with hard liquor. In liquors like tequila or mezcal the sugar is converted to ethyl alcohol when created. This means they won’t affect insulin and blood sugar like other alcohols.
The best keto alcoholic beverages include:
- Dark liquors like scotch, whiskey and bourbon
- Rums: The darker it is, the richer the flavor. Avoid any flavored options.
- Vodka: Make sure it’s not flavored and doesn’t include added sugars or liquid sweeteners
- Gin: Avoid any cocktail mixes or flavored gins
- Dry red wine: This may come as a surprise, but a 5-ounce pour of cabernet contains less than 4 grams of carbs[*]
Beverages Not Allowed on Keto
There are plenty of drinks that should be avoided at all costs. Beverages like soda, juice and sports drinks typically contain an entire day’s allotment of carbohydrates.
Soda holds no place on keto or any healthy diet. A single can of Coca-Cola contains 39 grams of sugar and just as many carbohydrates[*]. A can of Mountain Dew contains an unbelievable (well, this one might be believable) 46 grams of sugar[*].
All forms of soda are excluded on keto, including:
- Regular soda
- Diet soda (even though it says no carbs and sugar on the label, it’s filled with harmful artificial sweeteners).
- Soda “zeros” like Coke Zero and Pepsi Zero
While much healthier than soda in terms of vitamins and minerals, the sugar content in fruit juice is simply too high. Plus, a serving size of juice is 8 ounces, but many bottles and cans contain upwards of 12 ounces. One cup of orange juice will cost you nearly 26 grams of carbohydrates and 21 grams of sugar[*].
Even some vegetable juices should be avoided. Carrot juice, for example, contains almost 22 grams of carbohydrates[*]. Most of all, avoid store-bought brands or juiceries, which sell blends packed with 30 to 40 grams of sugar and advertise them as a health product.
Gatorade, Powerade, Vitamin Water and energy drinks are advertised as health products but are packed with sugar. (Pro tip: To make a homemade electrolyte beverage, all you need is plain coconut water and a pinch of sea salt.) A lemon lime Gatorade contains 0% juice, is sweetened with dextrose and sugar and contains 31 grams of carbs and 29 grams of sugar[*].
SUGAR-LADEN COFFEE DRINKS
There are plenty of coffee drinks that should be avoided on keto, such as:
- Lattes with syrup added, including pumpkin spice lattes, caramel lattes and even vanilla lattes
- Coffee or espresso with low-fat or skim milk
- Mocha drinks
- Chai lattes
BEER AND HIGH-SUGAR ALCOHOL
All alcohol is sugar, but there are some forms of alcohol that contain more sugar than others. Avoid beer, sugary mixers, cocktails, flavored alcohols and white wines. For more on which adult beverages are best for a ketogenic diet.
Drink Up the Low Carb Options
There are many options for drinks on the ketogenic diet. The only one necessary for your survival and overall health is water. Others like bone broth, tea and coffee can offer various health benefits and can be consumed in abundance on a keto meal plan. Carbonated water, coconut water and kombucha add a little flavor, but should be consumed in moderation.
When it comes to alcohol, limit it to social gatherings and choose hard liquor with a zero-carb mixer (like seltzer water) and citrus. Finally, sugary beverages like soda, juice and sports drinks should be avoided on keto — or any diet!