Is Beer Keto?

If you’re contemplating beginning a new diet, one of the first things you’re probably going to consider is exactly what you are and are not allowed to eat and drink. The majority of diets completely forbid alcohol; however, if you’re thinking about starting the Keto diet then I have some good news for you! Alcohol isn’t prohibited on Keto, and that includes beer.

There are some things to take into consideration before you crack your next cold one. The following article will explain which beers are best, which ones you should avoid and all of the information you need on how beer and Keto work together so you can make an informed decision in regards to your Keto meal plan.

Keto overview

Keto works by changing the way that your body creates fuel and energy. High carb diets use glucose as their fuel. Glucose is a very fast energy source; however, it’s very quickly burned through as well. This means that you’re hungry more frequently and you feel the ups and downs associated with a sugar high and low because your blood sugar levels are fluctuating and not stable.

The Keto diet can help stabilize your blood sugar levels by changing your body’s fuel from glucose to something known as ketones. Ketones are produced in your liver and they’re sourced from your stored fat cells. In order for ketones to be created, you have to bypass your body’s preference for glucose by restricting the number of carbs you consume. This means limiting your carbohydrates to 20-25g of net carbs a day. This limit will push your body to find an alternative fuel source and begin producing ketones.

In place of carbs, the Keto diet focuses on healthy fats such as fatty fish, nuts, seeds and oils. Approximately 70% of your diet should come from healthy fats with 25% coming from protein sources and 5% or less coming from carbs.

Is beer allowed on Keto?

The short answer is, yes, you can drink beer on Keto. However, not every beer is Keto friendly. The factor that determines how Keto-friendly a beer is the number of net carbs your beer contains. Beer is made from fermented grains such as barley and hops and as you know, grains are full of carbs which you should avoid on Keto.

The fermentation process allows the yeast to metabolize the sugars that are found in the grains that make up beer. Once the fermentation process is done you’re left with maltose, glucose and residual sugars that are too difficult for the yeast to break down. These residual sugars are what give the beer a high carb count.

When you come across a low-carb beer it means that the brewer has created a fermentation that will allow more of the glucose and sugars to be fermented so they aren’t left in the beer for our bodies to process. You can’t remove the carbs from beer altogether; however, you can reduce the number by using this process.

What types of beer are best on Keto?

If you’re looking for a low-carb beer that won’t make it impossible to meet your net carb goal then you might want to choose from one of the following beers.

  • Budweiser select 55 has 1.9g carbs per bottle
  • Amstel light lager has 5g of carbs per bottle
  • Michelob Ultra has 2.6g carbs per bottle
  • Corona Premier has 2.6g of carbs per bottle
  • MGD 64 only has 2.4g carbs per bottle
  • Heineken Light has 7g of carbs per bottle (which is on the higher end but still doable if you cut your meal carbs)
  • Budweiser Select has 3.1g carbs per bottle
  • Labatt Premier has 2.4g of carbs per bottle
  • Rolling Rock Green Light only has 2.4g carbs per bottle

What types of beer should you avoid on Keto?

Although there are some Keto-friendly beer options, the majority of them are too high in carbs to make drinking them worthwhile while following a Keto diet. Keep in mind that not all light beers are low-carb beers. Light just means that there aren’t as many calories and it can be easy to get tripped up. The following beers are some of the worst high-carb offenders that you should avoid if you don’t want to kick your body out of ketosis.

  • Corona Extra has a whopping 13.9g of carbs per bottle
  • New Belgium Fat Tire has an insane 17.3g of carbs per bottle (That’s almost your entire carb limit in one beer!)
  • Guinness Draft has 10g of carbs per bottle
  • Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat has 13.6g of carbs per bottle
  • Beck’s has 10g of carbs per bottle
  • Michelob light has 11.7g of carbs per bottle
  • Regular Budweiser has 10.6g of carbs per bottle
  • Sam Adams light has 9.7g of carbs per bottle
  • Regular Heineken has 10.6g of carbs per bottle

Health considerations with drinking beer

Micronutrients such as zinc, vitamins, potassium and magnesium are all essential for your body’s various processes. Alcohol is the exact opposite. The alcohol in beer is what’s known as a toxic micronutrient which means that not only does your body not need it, it’s actually toxic and prevents your body from running the way that it should. Because it’s toxic your body will try to get rid of it as quickly as possible by speeding up the metabolism of the alcohol. This is what causes you to feel drunk or tipsy.

The fact that you’re following a Keto diet will only speed up and intensify the inebriated feeling that you get because your liver is more efficient. You’ve probably heard that you should eat a high-carb meal with beer such as bread to “soak up” the alcohol. There’s some truth to this because your liver processes both the carbs and the alcohol. Since there are no carbs in your liver to be processed it becomes freed up to push the alcohol out of your body almost immediately which means that you can go from sober to drunk in only a few minutes.

Possible side effects of drinking beer on Keto

When you chose to drink beer on the Keto diet you might find that the alcohol in the beer interferes with your ketosis. When you’re in ketosis your body creates fuel by burning your stored fat cells. However, when you drink your body has the option of creating ketones out of the alcohol you just drank. Alcohol is a lot like carbs in that it’s a quick form of energy but it isn’t substantial. It’s there and gone in a blink of an eye which means that your energy is as well. Think about it, when was the last time that you drank and felt full of energy afterwards? Fat is a much better fuel source for your body.

When you drink you lower your inhibitions which might make Keto more difficult. It’s not easy to cut out carbs, especially the nachos, fries and pizza that are typically found in bars and restaurants where a lot of beer drinking takes place. So you have a lowered inhibition level and you’re surrounded by tempting tasty carbolicious treats. This is the recipe for a loss of self-control followed by regret.

You’re also going to get drunk a lot quicker and you’ll probably experience a bad hangover. As I said above, without carbs, your liver is free to metabolize beer almost instantly. If you were used to having a drink or two before you feel the buzz you might be shocked at how little it takes to get you drunk and how quickly it happens. Your hangover afterwards will be the same.

How drinking beer while on Keto might affect your weight loss

If you’re following a Keto diet in order to lose weight you might find yourself disappointed if you chose to drink as well. Low-carb beer is still full of calories (just like low-calorie beer might be high in carbs) and the calories in the beer are completely empty with no nutritional value. When you’re trying to lose weight, whether you’re on Keto or not, your calories still count.

The more nutritious you can make your calories the better and it’s generally a good rule to cut out all empty calories and replace them with foods that are loaded with micronutrients in order to get more bang for your buck. You also might find yourself making poor food decisions. Remember, beer plus bar food temptation doesn’t equal healthy choices!

Beer contains alcohol which acts as a depressant on our body. Depressants slow down our thoughts, our speech, our fast-twitch muscle response and even our metabolism. This means that you’ll have a harder time burning fat when you’ve been drinking beer which will slow down your weight loss. Because the Keto diet relies on burning fat this isn’t a good thing for creating ketones either!

Conclusion

You can drink beer on the Keto diet as long as you keep your carb count down. However, if you’re looking to lose weight you might want to forego it. It all depends on your personal preferences and how dedicated you are to your nutrition and keto goals. Remember that if you’re having a difficult time abstaining from alcohol you should speak with your doctor.

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