Dr. Anthony Gustin is a board-certified sports chiropractor, functional medicine practitioner, entrepreneur, podcast host, and founder of Perfect Keto.
Are there any keto drinks besides water?
Luckily, yes. When it comes to drinks on keto, plain old water is your best, although not your only option.
You can also sip on low carb soft drinks, alcohol, and even sneak hot chocolate and lattes into your keto beverage repertoire.
Even on special occasions, you can drink keto-friendly alcohol. 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.
- Plain water
- Coffee drinks
- Tea drinks
- Carbonated water
- Non-dairy milks
- Bone broth
- Coconut water
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-friendly coffee drink options:
- Black coffee: Enjoy drip, espresso, cold brew, aeropress and iced coffee. All options contain zero calories and zero carbohydrates.
- Black coffee 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.
- Plain lattes with unsweetened coconut or almond milk: Plain lattes are made with two ingredients, milk and espresso. If you order a latte, make sure the nut milk you choose is unsweetened.
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. Check out these 4 recipes:
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.
You can also make these recipes from scratch:
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:
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 make sure they do not contain sweeteners or additives like carrageenan. 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, restore collagen and support a strong immune system. It’s made by simmering bones with water, herbs and spices. Make your own broth by following this bone broth 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 loaded with probiotics, which help support a healthy gut.
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).
Select only brands that contain low enough carb and sugar counts to stay in line with your daily macronutrient goals.
If you’re even more committed, try your hand at home brewing kombucha to keep the carb and sugar count even lower. You can use this tried-and-tested recipe from The Kombucha Shop:
- 10 cups of filtered water
- 1 cup of sugar
- 3 tablespoons caffeinated black, green or oolong loose leaf tea
- A SCOBY
- Bring 4 cups of filtered water to a boil, take this off the heat, and then add the tea.
- Let this infuse for anywhere between 5-7 minutes.
- Once that’s done, add the cup of sugar and stir until dissolved.
- From here, you’ll need to add about 6 cups of cold filtered water to your jar to cool the entire mix off.
- When the jar’s temperature drops down to the 68-84 F range, you can then add your SCOBY, stir, and test the pH level.
- If your pH level is 4.5 or lower, you can then cover your container with a cotton cloth and let it ferment for approximately 7-9 days before taste testing.
- For a stronger brew, let the mix sit longer. And if the vinegary taste is not your thing, stick to the 7-9 window.
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.
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:
- Healthy fats: egg yolks, avocado, nut butter, MCT oil powder, coconut oil
- Protein: Collagen or grass-fed whey protein powder
- Produce: Leafy greens like spinach or kale or berries like blueberries or raspberries. See the full list of approved keto fruits.
- Add-ins: Matcha powder, keto coffee, exogenous ketones, and vanilla or almond extract.
- Sweetener (optional): Monk fruit or stevia.
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. 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[*]. Dry Farm Wines also provides keto-friendly wines.
Drinks To Avoid 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
The sugar content in fruit juice is too high, so all juices will kick you out keto.
- Orange juice. One cup of orange juice will cost you nearly 26 grams of carbohydrates and 21 grams of sugar[*].
- Apple juice.
- Pineapple juice.
- Store-bought lemonade.
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, chai lattes and even vanilla lattes
- Coffee or espresso with low-fat or skim milk
- Mocha drinks
- Most drinks at Starbucks
Any coffee drinks that is made with a syrup or flavoring is packed with carbs.
Beer is packed with carbohydrates because it’s brewed from cereal grains. One single can of beer can contain 13g of carbs.
A lot of popular types of drinks are made with sugary syrups or contain too many carbs, including:
- Sugary mixers
- White wines
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!