What Can I Drink on the Keto Diet?
When you're on the keto diet, it's up to you to calculate and keep track of your carbs from energy drinks, sodas, and any other food or drink you consume. On a strict keto diet, that may limit you to just 20 grams of carbs per day. Understandably, you'll want to save some of your carb allowance for mealtimes, but that doesn't mean that keto dieters can only drink plain water.
This is our list of keto friendly drinks, including Zest High Caffeine Tea, that will satisfy your taste buds without drowning you in carbohydrates.
The Rules of the Keto Diet
The ketogenic diet works by reducing your carbohydrate intake and increasing your fat intake. By doing this, your body reaches a state of ketosis and starts to burn stored fats for energy rather than carbs from your diet.
Carbohydrates are an important part of your diet nonetheless. Your body needs them to function. So, even on the keto diet you'll still want to consume a small amount of carbs.
Usually you think of bread, pasta and rice as carbohydrates, but sugar counts too. There's a surprising amount of carbohydrates in liquids, which is an issue.
If In Doubt, Try Plain Water!
The keto lifestyle doesn't need to be bland. While still and sparkling water is a safe bet if you are ordering in a restaurant and can't analyze the nutrition of drinks from the menu, you don't need to stick to it religiously.
The key is to avoid sugar sweetened drinks and stick drinks with low or zero carbs. Below we have 5 drinks that are great for keto dieters, and 3 that are best avoided or consumed in moderation.
5 Things You Can Drink on the Ketogenic Diet
These five drinks are all low carb and/or high in fat, which makes them ideal for the ketogenic diet.
1 - Zest Tea Energy Drinks
When you're watching your carb intake, you're likely to be super aware of added sugar in soft drinks. Tea is one of the best keto-friendly soft drinks, especially green tea, as it's sugar free, carb free, and has unique health benefits that could benefit weight loss further.
But ironically, tea isn't everyone's "cup of tea". If you prefer sparkling sweet drinks, then you might be unsure about hot tea.
Thankfully, we have a range of ready-to-drink energy teas that are keto-friendly. Our tea is low carb and high energy, so if you're feeling sluggish without your daily sugary energy drink, then our high-caffeine iced tea is an amazing alternative.
Our best keto-friendly tea is Blood Orange Mango, which contains 0 grams total of carbs but plenty of natural flavorings and plant-powered energy.
Here's how our other ready-to-drink teas compare:
- Cucumber Melon - 3 grams,
- Blackberry Lime - 6 grams,
- Sweet Chai Infusion - 13 grams,
- Pomegranate Mint and Passionfruit Berry - 15 grams.
Don't forget, all of our hot tea flavors are keto-friendly too. Learn more about those in our article How to Find Keto Tea for Your Keto Diet.
2 - Coconut Water and Milk
Coconut water went through a trend of being a great drink to help you lose weight. While it won't perform miracles, it is a flavorful beverage that you can consume without your carb count rocketing.
1 cup of unsweetened coconut water contains around 10 grams of carbohydrates, along with significant amounts of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. This is quite high in carbs compared to tea and water, but it does provide you with some great nutrition.
Coconut milk is a little different. While coconut water is 94% water, the milk is only 50%. 1 cup of raw milk from coconuts contains 13.3 grams of carbs as well as 57.1 grams of total lipid (fat).
Both drinks can be beneficial for the keto diet.
3 - Wine
Drinking alcohol on keto is fine - so long as it doesn't contain too many carbs. Wine is surprisingly low carb. A serving of red wine contains just 3.84 grams of carbs and 125 calories total. Bear in mind that one serving is only 5 fl oz.
A standard white wine is similarly low in carbs, with 3.82 grams of carbs per serving.
The gas used to create sparkling wine doesn't add carbohydrates or calories. The total carbohydrates of any wine type will vary from brand to brand.
4 - Dairy Milk
A cup of whole milk provides 11.5 grams of carbs and 7.97 grams of fat. Reduced fat milk on the other hand provides 12 grams of carbs and 4.66 grams of fat. Interestingly, 1 cup of un-whipped heavy cream provides 6.76 grams of carbs and 85.9 grams of fat.
While you might not want to drink a full cup of milk or cream directly, adding a small amount to your tea, coffee or keto meal plans is a good way to increase your fat intake without massively increasing your carbs.
Watch out for plant-based alternatives, like soy milk and almond milk. Some brands add sugar, so always look for unsweetened almond milk, etc. The fat and carb contents of these milks will also differ.
5 - Diet Soda
Unsweetened sparkling water can be an acquired taste. Club soda and regular soda drinks are flavorful, but high in sugar. So, the best option if you like fizz (besides Zest ready-to-drink energy tea) is a diet soda.
Diet sodas, like diet Coke, rely on natural and artificial sweeteners instead of sugar. Many of them contain 0 carbs... along with 0 nutritional value. That's why we prefer tea. However, if you enjoy diet soda, then there's no reason why you can't drink it daily while on a keto diet.
3 Drinks to Avoid on the Ketogenic Diet
These drinks are high in carbs and low in fat, which is the exact opposite of what the high fat keto diet is aiming for! Consume these drinks moderately and with caution, or avoid them altogether.
1 - Bottled Iced Tea
Bottled iced tea or iced tea made to-go from that coffee chain, are less tea and way more sugar. Iced tea itself is actually fine to drink on a keto diet - it’s just the same keto-friendly hot tea, but poured over ice.
The problems arise when sugars and sweeteners are added. Sugars are the obvious component to avoid, as they take it from a low carb drink to a high carb drink. Low calorie artificial and natural sweeteners can be fine on the keto diet, however, keto dieters that struggle with sugar cravings may want to avoid them regardless.
Fuelling your lust for sugar with overly sweet beverages might not be your weight loss solution. Furthermore, there's some evidence that suggests those who consume non-nutritive sweeteners are still at risk of a high BMI and resulting cardiovascular disease (although this could be a result of an overall lifestyle, not just consumption of sweeteners).
2 - Concentrated Fruit Juice
Even without added sugars, fruit juice is typically quite high in net carbs. 100g of orange juice from concentrate, for example, contains 10.3 grams of carbs. Orange juice not from concentrate is still high too, with 10 grams of carbs per 100g.
Most smoothies that contain fruit juices or fruit pulp are also not keto friendly drinks. They tend to be high in carbs (although they often also contain dairy milk or a plant-based alternative, which can help you hit your high fat targets).
3 - Beer
Of all the alcohols, beer contains some of the highest grams of net carbs. It's not alcohol itself that's a problem for ketosis, although it can affect your body differently when you're dieting (see below). Beer is made with hops, yeast and grains, all of which contribute carbohydrates to the final drink.
For a regular beer, there's approximately 1.05 grams of carbs per 1 fluid ounce. That's a shot glass worth of beer. For a standard can of beer, 365 grams, there's 12.6 grams of carbs. Depending on your keto goals, that could be over half of your daily carbohydrate target.
Alcoholic Drinks - Are They Actually Keto?
There are many keto friendly alcoholic drinks and it's fine to drink alcohol occasionally. As always with the keto diet, the key is to select low carb drinks so that you can consume a sensible amount without committing "carbicide".
If you want to enjoy a few drinks while dieting, we have a few tips and pointers for you:
- Avoid mixed drinks, unless you're making them yourself with zero carb mixers (diet sodas or even Zest Iced Energy Tea),
- Dry wine, straight spirits, and hard liquors are generally the best low carb drinks, however you should check the nutrition label for both carbs and alcoholic units before drinking them,
- If you like beer, look for low carb beers instead of your usual favorite. Be careful, however, as low carb beer simply means it's lower in carbs than traditional beer... but may still have high net carbs overall.
- With few carbs in your diet, alcohol may affect you differently. You may find that your tolerance for alcohol is reduced.
What can you drink on a keto diet?
Water - sparkling or flat - as well as energy tea and zero-sugar diet sodas are all great drinks that are free of carbs. They won't provide high quantities of fat, however.
What drinks are not allowed on keto?
The keto diet doesn't ban certain drinks or foods, however some drinks will be high in carbs that will be detrimental to ketosis. It's best to consume these drinks moderately or avoid them altogether. This includes any sugary or carb-heavy drink, such as smoothies, sodas (sugar added) and sports drinks.
What soft drinks are keto-friendly?
Soda soft drinks and most energy drinks contain sugar, unless they are diet versions. This is not very keto-friendly. The best soft drinks for the keto diet are tea, vegetable juices, milk, and water. You can also try bulletproof coffee or tea - read our recipe here.
Can I drink Coke Zero on keto?
Yes, Coke Zero has 0 calories, 0 sugar, and 0 grams of carbs. While diet sodas like this are great for reducing carbs, they are pretty void of nutrition too. That's why we prefer teas as keto drinks, as they provide a range of health benefits and nutritional components.
Is Zest Tea keto-friendly?
Yes! Zest Tea is keto-friendly. Our hot teas contain 0 carbs and 0 sugars. We also have some sugar-free energy teas (see above) and some low-calorie ready-to-drink energy teas that can provide energy without increasing your carbohydrate intake.
Are artificial sweeteners keto-friendly?
Most are keto friendly, as they are low carb or zero calorie. They can be an effective tool for managing weight loss and cutting added sugar from your diet. Watch out from sucralose, however, as this sweetener could impact your glycemic response with metabolic effects.
Read our article about How to Sweeten Tea to learn more about sweetening options.
Can I drink hard liquor on the keto diet?
You can drink any alcoholic drink on keto, so long as you maintain the state of ketosis. Some alcoholic beverages are high in carbs, like beer, so you could only consume a very small amount on the keto diet. Other alcoholic beverages are low carb, so you can consume more of them. Many hard liquors fall into the low carb category, along with dry wine and straight spirits.