Most keto diet food lists out there include plenty of information on which healthy fats, low-carb fruits and high-fiber veggies can be enjoyed as part of a nutritious ketogenic diet. However, staying hydrated with plenty of healthy keto drinks throughout the day just as important as filling your plate with the right foods. In fact, sipping on certain beverages can actually crank up your carb consumption, keep you from ketosis and hinder your progress.
So what can I drink on low carb? Can you drink soda on keto? And how much water should I drink on keto diet? Here’s what you need to know about the best drinks for the ketogenic diet.
Best Keto Drinks
Figuring out what to eat on the ketogenic diet can be a difficult feat, but deciphering which drinks fit into your daily diet plan can be a challenge all on its own. Here are a few of the best keto drinks that you may want to consider enjoying to help meet your fluid needs:
1. Water: 0 grams carbs/cup
Unsurprisingly, water is the clear-cut winner on the list of keto-friendly drinks. Not only is it calorie-free and carb-free, but it also boasts several impressive health benefits and can help support weight loss. Staying well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water is absolutely essential to overall health and plays a central role in everything from kidney function to metabolism and beyond. Although individual water needs can vary based on a number of factors, a good rule of thumb is to try to drink at least 0.5–1 ounce per ounce of body weight each day.
2. Kombucha: 7 grams carbs/cup
This fizzy, fermented drink is produced from black tea and is loaded with probiotics, which are a form of beneficial bacteria that help support gut health. Upping your intake of probiotics through fermented foods like kombucha has been tied to several health benefits, including improved digestion, enhanced immunity and reduced levels of inflammation.
Be sure to select a brand of kombucha that is low in sugar or, better yet, try brewing your own and flavoring it with your favorite herbs, spices and fruits.
3. Unsweetened Tea: 0 grams carbs/cup
Free of both calories and carbohydrates, unsweetened tea is one of the best drinks for a keto diet. Tea is an excellent source of polyphenols, which are plant compounds that act as antioxidants to fight free radicals and prevent oxidative damage to the cells. Additionally, tea and its components have been shown to ramp up fat-burning, decrease blood sugar levels and preserve cognitive function to help slow the signs of aging.
4. Coconut Water: 9 grams carbs/cup
Although it may be a bit higher in carb count than other keto drinks, coconut water packs in quite a punch when it comes to nutrition. Coconut water is brimming with electrolytes such as potassium, magnesium and calcium, all of which are necessary for maintaining blood volume, promoting heart health and optimizing water balance within the body. It’s also a great alternative to sugary sports drinks and can help replenish your body after an intense workout to prevent an electrolyte imbalance.
5. Lemon Water: 2 grams carbs/cup
If plain water just doesn’t cut it for you, lemon water may be a good alternative. It’s easy to make at home by adding the juice of about half a lemon into your cup of water and enjoying either hot or cold, depending on your personal preference. Plus, lemon water comes with all the benefits of regular water and can help bump up metabolism, support satiety and increase weight loss, all with an added dose of delicious citrusy flavor.
6. Coffee: 0 grams carbs/cup
Good news, coffee lovers: more and more emerging research has continued to confirm the health benefits of coffee, securing it a slot as one of the best keto drinks besides water. (Check out our recipe for keto coffee.) In fact, coffee consumption has been associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer, stroke, depression and diabetes.
Be sure to steer clear of non-keto Starbucks drinks, go easy on the cream and sugar and opt for black coffee whenever possible, all of which can help maximize the health benefits and keep carb count low.
Worst Keto Drinks
Although there are plenty of keto diet drinks available that are low in carbs yet high in health benefits, there are also many that should be avoided altogether. Typically, sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, sports drinks and fruit juice are loaded with extra calories and carbs, contributing little to the diet in terms of nutrition. Additionally, heavily-processed beverages like diet soda are often laden with artificial sweeteners and added ingredients that can have detrimental effects on overall health.
Here are a few of the most notorious high-carb keto offenders that you should try to limit or avoid whenever possible:
1. Fruit Juice: 15-30 grams carbs/cup
2. Soft Drinks: 22-26 grams carbs/cup
3. Chai Latte: 19-24 grams/cup
4. Frappuccino: 17-46 grams/cup
5. Energy Drinks: 25-30 grams/cup
6. Sports Drinks: 15-20 grams/cup
7. Milkshakes: 30-50 grams/cup
8. Sweetened Tea: 10-20 grams/cup
9. Fruit Punch: 15-30 grams/cup
10. Smoothies: 15-30 grams/cup
Keto Alcohol Drinks?
When first starting the keto diet, many people wonder: can I drink alcohol on the keto diet? Believe it or not, there are plenty of keto alcoholic drinks that you can still enjoy in moderation from time to time.
Pure forms of alcohol, such as gin, vodka, rum and whiskey, are completely free of carbohydrates, making them an easy keto-friendly choice for alcohol. However, these beverages are often paired with sugary mixers such as juice, soda or sweeteners, all of which can quickly skyrocket the carb content of your drink.
Instead, go for low-carb mixers whenever possible to keep carb intake to a minimum. A few examples of easy low- and no-carb options include seltzer water or sugar-free tonic made with stevia instead of artificial sweeteners.
Additionally, despite some of the common keto diet myths and misconceptions out there, the occasional beer or wine actually can fit into a healthy keto diet. Light beer, for example, contains just 3 grams per 12-ounce serving. Similarly, a 5-ounce glass of red or white wine provides around 3-4 grams of carbs in total. Regular beer, mixed drinks and cocktails, on the other hand, tend to run relatively high in carbs, and a single serving could easily knock out your entire allotment for the day all at once.
Regardless of which type you select, however, keep in mind that moderation is key. Even low-carb or carb-free alcoholic beverages are high in empty calories yet low in the essential nutrients that your body needs, which could potentially increase your risk of nutritional deficiencies. Furthermore, frequent alcohol consumption has been linked to increased weight gain as well as other serious health issues such as liver damage, cancer and diabetes.
Final Tips for Keto Drinks Besides Water
- What you drink is just as important as what you eat on the ketogenic diet, and selecting low-carb beverages is key to staying hydrated and reaching ketosis.
- Water, kombucha, unsweetened tea, coconut water, lemon water and coffee are a few of the top keto drinks that are all low in carbs but contain an added dose of health benefits.
- Meanwhile, fruit juice, soft drinks, sugary coffee beverages, energy drinks and sports drinks are all loaded with sugar, carbs and added ingredients that you’re better off without.
- For alcoholic beverages, be sure to select wine, light beer or pure forms of liquor with low-carb mixers and enjoy in moderation as part of a healthy keto diet.