Food is the foundation of the ketogenic diet, but drinks can easily be a hidden source of carbohydrates and calories if you aren’t informed.
With all the different variations and labels on drinks, words like “natural” and “no sugar added” can be misleading and confusing. Let’s explore what the best options are to sip on while staying compliant with the keto diet.
Option 1: Water
Simply put, water is the benchmark of refreshments with zero calories or carbohydrates and countless health benefits. During the early stages of ketosis, water is imperative.
Carbohydrate restriction may cause the body to excrete more fluid than usual, resulting in dehydration.
If plain water is not your cup of tea, so to speak, add frozen fruit, fresh lemon, mint, or zero calorie water enhancers. These options can make your plain water more exciting and easier to drink.
Option 2: Carbonated Water
Sparkling Water / Seltzer Water
Sparkling water, club soda, and seltzer are beneficial ways to hydrate while mixing up your plain water intake.
Some popular brands include:
- San Pellegrino (unflavored – flavored options often contain sugar)
- La Croix (plenty of fun flavors with no sugar)
- Polar Seltzer (again, lots of great no-calorie flavors)
- Vintage Seltzer
- Canada Dry Seltzer (don’t confuse the seltzers with other Canada Dry products that may contain sugar).
Seltzer water has gotten quite popular lately, so you’ll likely find plenty of other keto-compliant brands at your local grocery store. Many times grocery stores will have their own brand of sparkling water you may want to try.
Most club soda brands are also flavorless and sugar-free. Some of the more well-known brands include Canada Dry and Hansen’s.
To be safe, always check ingredient labels to ensure that what you’re purchasing has no added sugar.
Another option is to make your own seltzer water with a SodaStream! This device lets you make your own sparkling water at home – you can add whatever fruits and flavorings you want for some fun experimenting.
Option 3: Soda
It’s quite clear that regular sodas do not have a place in the keto diet due to their high calorie and sugar content.
However, there are some diet soda options that are artificially sweetened with allowable sweeteners and deserve a spot in our beverage line up.
Zevia is a brand of soda sweetened with stevia, monk fruit, and natural flavors to help you get your soda fix in while staying within the keto guidelines.
Option 4: Caffeinated Drinks
Coffee and tea are both naturally no calorie, sugar-free drinks that offer a healthy boost of energy in moderation.
Unfortunately, there is an abundance of variations on these beverages that quickly add excessive sugars.
Coffee is best prepared black. This includes espresso, cold brew, iced, etc. If you haven’t acquired a taste for black coffee yet, there are a few more options while keeping it keto. Adding a splash of full-fat, unsweetened dairy or nut milk can take away some of the bitter coffee flavor without adding sugar.
Another popular coffee trend is adding MCT oil, butter, or coconut oil to your morning cup of joe. This not only adds flavor to your coffee, but gives you a boost of fat.
Zero calorie sweeteners, cinnamon, and cocoa powder are other inventive additions to flavoring your coffee without a spoonful of sugar.
Black tea, green tea, and herbal teas are also perfect keto drink choices in their natural state. Similar to coffee, teas can be livened up with sweetener, milk, or can be served over ice!
Option 5: Nut Milk
One cup of dairy milk contains about 12g of carbohydrates, which can definitely eat into your daily carb limit.
There are several non-dairy alternatives that are unsweetened and tout a much lower carb content.
Almond milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, flax milk, and hemp milk are all great options for low-carb milk choices. Always look for full-fat and unsweetened options.
What to Avoid: Juice
While “100% fruit juice” has a healthy ring to it, most fruit juices are far from healthy. Even if there are no added sugars, juice removes the fiber from the fruit leaving behind a high amount of carbohydrates and water.
Instead of drinking a cup of fruit juice, try adding pieces of whole fruit to your water. The longer the fruit marinates, the more flavor you’ll taste.
Become your own personal mixologist and experiment with fresh herbs and vegetables in the water, too!
Alcohol: The Keto Gray Area
The big gray area in the keto world is alcohol.
While, it would be best to skip alcoholic beverages completely, sipping on a club soda at your summer BBQ just doesn’t have the same feel.
As a general rule, hard liquor affects blood sugars the least and are lower in calories. Vodka, rum, gin, tequila, and whiskey are all zero net carb drinks until you add mixers to them. This would be a good time to add in club soda or sparkling water, cheers!
Light beer and dry wine are also decent alcoholic choices. As always, make sure to look at the label and factor the carbohydrates into your daily allotment.
Sugary cocktails, flavored alcohol, liqueurs, sweet wines, and sangria should all be taken off the table while trying to maintain ketosis.
Keep in mind that drinking can also lower your willpower and make you more susceptible to indulging in off-limit carbs, throwing you off ketosis. Always weigh the pros vs cons of indulging in an alcoholic drink while on keto!
Fun DIY Keto Drinks to Try
Looking to mix up your sips while on keto? Try some of these keto-friendly drink creations from eaters across the web!
- Tasteaholics created a Keto Mojito using a combination of rum and club soda. Try this low carb twist on a classic!
- Ruled.me adds fat sources to make this Iced Ketoproof Green Tea. Get the energy boost you need while staying satisfied.
- Tried and Tasty adds lemon, lime, and cayenne pepper to this Keto Friendly Lemonade. See what you think about that extra kick!
- If your inner basic teen girl comes out during PSL season you have got to try this Keto & Paleo Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe from gnom-gnom. It is like drinking a cup of fall.
- This Strawberry Spiked Spritzer could not be and simpler or more refreshing! Sunny Sweet Days combined La Croix water, strawberries, and cupcake very berry vodka for this soon-to-be summer staple.
- Remember when I said sangria was off the table? I breathe I’m hungry found a way around that with this Low Carb Sparkling White Sangria. Best part? It won’t stain the carpet.
- Dr. Axe shared a classic Keto Coffee Recipe to get you started into the wonderful world of bulletproof coffee!
What are some of your favorite keto drinks? Tell us in the comments below!