Thinking of adopting a keto lifestyle? You may understand the dos and don’ts of specific ketogenic foods. But you may be wondering if you can drink something besides plain old water. When it comes to keto drinks, plain water is best, although not your only option.
Low-carb drinks, alcohol, and even hot chocolate and lattes can be part of your keto beverage repertoire. Below, you’ll learn which beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, are keto-friendly.
When drinking on the keto diet, it’s important to be mindful of hidden sugars that could kick you out of ketosis. To find your exact keto macronutrient needs, use the Perfect Keto Calculator.
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, fighting fatigue and cravings, and keeps your body functioning properly[*].
If you need a little more flavor, try these options:
- Add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.
- Infuse the water with cucumber, watermelon, strawberries, or other favorite fruit for homemade flavored water.
- Make your own sparkling water at home using a carbonator.
Many people turn to coffee for a morning boost, 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, it comes with several health benefits. Caffeine has been scientifically shown to promote fat burning, suppress appetite, and aid weight loss — all helping you get into ketosis[*].
Keto-friendly coffee comes in a range of options: try simple black coffee (like espresso, americano, and iced coffee, which contain zero calories and carbs), or consider adding a splash of heavy cream to boost its healthy fat content.
And if lattes are your thing, opt for unsweetened coconut milk or unsweetened almond milk, for a smooth and comforting cup of coffee.
If your regular Starbucks order is axed by the keto diet, don’t worry — many of these sugary drinks have a homemade version. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves to a cup of espresso and coconut milk for a dairy-free, sugar-free pumpkin spice latte.
Tea contains zero carbohydrates and has been connected to various health benefits for centuries, making it an excellent beverage choice on keto. Right after water, tea (both hot and iced tea) is a great option 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[*].
Herbal teas such as chamomile, peppermint, and ginger root not only have great medicinal value, but they’re also a creative and flavorful way of hydrating yourself.
You can also make these recipes from scratch:
Carbonated water, mineral water, seltzer water, and tonic water contain zero net carbs and are refreshing keto drinks on a low-carb diet. If you’re looking to kick the soda habit, feel like 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 milk is a keto-friendly drink option. Double-check the ingredients to make sure they do not contain sweeteners or additives like carrageenan. Whenever you can, always opt for the full-fat option. The best choice is to make them at home. Try this recipe for homemade almond milk.
Keto-friendly non-dairy milk options include:
Bone broth may help maintain a healthy gut, restore collagen, and support a strong immune system. It’s made by simmering animal bones with water, herbs, and spices.
Make your own broth by following this bone broth recipe.
Kombucha is a fermented beverage made by combining tea, sugar and a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). Kombucha is a natural probiotic, which can help to 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 size (which is only half the bottle). Select only low-sugar and low-carb options to stay in line with your daily macronutrient goals.
Coconut water is a hydrating liquid found in the center of green coconuts. It has fewer calories and 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 only 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 serving per day.
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, and coconut oil
- Protein: Collagen or grass-fed whey protein powder
- Veggies and fruits: Leafy greens like spinach and kale, berries like blueberries and raspberries, and the full list of approved keto fruits
- Add-ins: Matcha powder, 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 these recipes:
All alcoholic drinks should 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 said, social gatherings are a necessary and enjoyable part of life. If you feel like drinking alcohol from time to time, it’s wise to know what’s best.
Here’s a piece of advice you won’t hear every day: Your best bet is hard liquor. In liquors like tequila or mezcal, the sugar converts to ethyl alcohol. This means they won’t affect insulin and blood sugar like other alcohols.
The best keto drinks with alcohol 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 cocktail mixes and flavored gins
- Dry red wine — it may come as a surprise, but a 5-ounce pour of Cabernet contains less than 4 grams of carbs; Dry Farm Wines 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 33 grams of sugar and just as many carbohydrates[*].
A can of Mountain Dew contains an unbelievable 46 grams of sugar[*].
All forms of soda are excluded from 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 of ketosis.
- Orange juice — one cup 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 importantly, try to avoid store-bought brands that sell blends packed with 30-40 grams of sugar (this goes well over your allowed daily carb count), even when they’re advertised as health products.
Even though Gatorade, Powerade, Vitamin Water, and energy drinks are advertised as health products, they’re sugar powerhouses. (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, sweeteners of dextrose and sugar, and contains 31 grams of carbs and 29 grams of sugar[*].
Sugar-Laden Coffee Drinks
Any coffee drink made with syrup or flavoring is packed with carbs. There are plenty of coffee drinks that should be avoided on keto, such as:
- Lattes with added syrup, including pumpkin spice lattes, caramel lattes, chai lattes, and vanilla lattes
- Coffee or espresso with low-fat or skim milk
- Mocha drinks
- Most Starbucks drinks
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 drinks are made with sugary syrups or contain too many carbs, including:
- Sugary mixers (like sangria, mojitos, and margaritas)
- White wines
Keto Drinks: Choose Low-Carb Options
There are many options when it comes to keto drinks, but water is the only one necessary for your survival and overall health.
Others like bone broth, tea, and coffee can offer various health benefits and can be consumed in abundance on a keto meal plan. Coconut water and kombucha add a little flavor to your keto meal plan 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.
The ketogenic diet is all about being your healthiest self, so making water your preferred choice is the best way to keep your body running in its optimal way.