Complete Guide to Keto Drinks & Beverages
Drinks tend to be the sneakiest sources of calories and sugar in our diets. Fruit juices (including freshly pressed juice), sodas, and even your favorite specialty coffee drink are all filled with so much sugar that they increase your likelihood of gaining fat while making it difficult for your body to get into ketosis.
With all of the confusing marketing terms like “low-carb,” “low-sugar,” “natural,” etc. it is hard to tell what drinks are actually keto-friendly and what drinks are just made to capitalize off of current market trends. For this reason, we decided to put together a definitive guide to what drinks you can consume and what drinks you should avoid on the ketogenic diet.
What Should You Drink on Keto?
Regardless of what diet you are on, your primary beverages should be zero-calorie, simple drinks like water, coffee, tea, and sparkling water.
Here’s a simplified list of the many keto-friendly drink options you can choose from:
- Water. When in doubt, drink water. Don’t like drinking plain water? Try using water enhancers, infusing it with herbs, or adding some lemon juice.
- Sparkling Water, Seltzer, and Club Soda. These are bubbly, zero calorie beverages that you can either drink plain or with some subtle fruity flavors.
- Coffee and Tea. Need a little energy boost or a hot beverage in the morning? Drink some tea or coffee. Just don’t add any sugar or order any fancy sugar-ridden drinks at your local coffee shop.
- Diet Soda. Like soda, but without the sugar and the calories.
- Juice Alternatives. There are also some low-calorie and zero calorie drinks like Powerade Zero and Vitamin Water Zero that taste good and hydrate you without the extra sugar. Just make sure you read the labels of any tasty low-calorie drink you buy because they may have added sugars.
- Low-Carb Dairy Products and Dairy Alternatives. A little bit of milk in your coffee or tea is okay, but don’t have too much. If you need to use more than a couple of tablespoons of milk, try using heavy cream or a dairy alternative like unsweetened coconut milk or almond milk instead.
- Energy Drinks. Most energy drinks are packed with more sugar than soda, but there are many low-carb and zero carb energy drinks on the market. However, just because it says “low-carb” on the container doesn’t mean that it will fit within your daily carb limit. Always read labels carefully, especially when you are purchasing energy drinks.
- Keto Smoothies. Even though fruit is generally high in carbs and not recommended on the ketogenic diet, you can still make delicious, low-carb smoothies. All you need is some low-carb produce like berries and spinach, natural flavorings, low-carb nut milk, and plenty of fat from avocados, egg yolks, MCT oil, and/or high-fat yogurt.
- Keto-Friendly Alcohol. Hard liquor, light beer, and unsweetened wines are some alcoholic beverages that you can enjoy on the ketogenic diet. Don’t forget, however, that alcohol is poisonous to the body, so it is best to consume these drinks in moderation.
Below, you’ll discover much more in-depth information about what you should drink on the ketogenic diet. Simply find your desired beverage category for more specifics.
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Water — The Holy Grail of Keto Drinks
You can’t go wrong with water, especially on the ketogenic diet. During the first few days of carbohydrate restriction, the body typically sheds water and minerals at an accelerated rate. A couple of days later — when ketone levels increase — even more water will be excreted than usual.
To counteract the mild dehydration that carbohydrate restriction may cause, consume plenty of water and minerals every day. For more specific guidelines on how much water you need to drink, check out our article on how to remedy the keto flu.
If you are not a fan of drinking plain water, then try infusing it with fruit, vegetables, and/or herbs. For example, you can:
- Add frozen fruit. Slip some frozen fruit, such as berries, into your water bottle. This is a great way to get some of your favorite fruity flavors in your water without having too many net carbs. Although not all the sugar from the fruit will leach out into the water, it is best to be conservative and count the net carbs as if you consumed the whole fruit.
- Make mint ice cubes. By freezing herbs into ice cubes, the herbs will keep for weeks to months in the freezer. You can use any herbs that you like, but I prefer mint. To make mint ice cubes, roughly chop some fresh mint leaves, sprinkle the herbs into each cell of an ice cube tray, cover with water, and freeze into cubes. Add a few mint cubes to your water bottle, along with fruit or cucumber slices if desired, for a refreshing drink.
- Add some citrus. Lemon, grapefruit, lime, and orange can take your plain water to the next level. I prefer to buy organic lemon or lime juice and put a small amount into my water every morning. If you are tracking your daily carb intake, make sure you include the carbs from the fruit that you are putting in your water.
- Mix them together. If you want to make your water a bit more sophisticated, try mixing some fruits, herbs, and/or vegetables together. Some of my favorite combinations are mint with grapefruit and basil with watermelon.
Whether you decide to infuse your water with flavor or drink it plain, this should be your primary keto drink.
However, if you are not a big fan of water, you don’t have to force yourself to drink it throughout the day. Try experimenting with some water enhancers instead.
Water Enhancers For Keto
Water enhancers typically come in powder sachets or liquid droppers, and they are designed to turn your water into a tasty drink without adding any calories.
These products will not make your water healthier (and some may even make it worse for your health), but if they help you increase your daily water intake, then they are a great tool to have in your keto kitchen. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular water enhancers that you can choose from:
This is one of the most natural water enhancers on the market. It uses stevia extract and natural juices and flavors to provide you with a deliciously fruity addition to your water.
Make sure, however, that you stick to the recommended serving size because some Stur flavors contain trace amounts of sugar (from fruit juice), which might have a negative impact on ketone production.
Skinnygirl Water Enhancer
Skinnygirl is similar to Stur in that it’s primary sweetener is stevia extract, and it is on the natural side of the water enhancer spectrum. However, it does contain some preservatives and a small amount of cane sugar (such a small amount that they aren’t even required to put it on the nutrition facts label).
Crystal Light Liquid
Although this water enhancer has no added sugar, it still has some other questionable ingredients. For example, some flavors contain sucrose acetate isobutyrate, a thickening or “weighting” agent also found in printing inks. Also, the main sweetener used in crystal light liquid is sucralose, which may not be as healthy for us as stevia extract.
MiO Liquid Water Enhancer
MiO is one of the most popular water enhancers because it is packed with flavor and has zero calories. The only potential downside is that it contains artificial colors and artificial sweeteners. The good news is that many of these ingredients are generally recognized as safe in the small doses that you will get from consuming MiO.
Dasani drops are on the more artificial end of the spectrum when it comes to water enhancers. This product is completely calorie free (thanks to the help of the artificial sweetener sucralose), but it has a couple of “generally recognized as safe” ingredients, like preservatives and artificial colorings, that many may not want to consume.
Propel Water Beverage Mix
This flavorful powder goes above and beyond the other water enhancers by providing us with some electrolytes and b vitamins. This extra addition makes Propel ideal for replenishing the fluids and minerals that many people lose while they are adapting to the ketogenic diet. But there is one caveat — Propel has trace amounts of added sugar.
Some of these water enhancers contain added sugars (I.e., Skinnygirl Water Enhancer, Stur, and Propel), but it is found in such small amounts that the producers are allowed to claim that their product does not contain any carbs or sugar. Keep this in mind if you notice your ketone levels decrease after using some of these water enhancers. The added sugars may trigger an unexpected insulin increase, which can reduce ketone production.
Also, make sure you stay within the suggested serving sizes that are recommended on the water enhancer that you use. By doing so, you will minimize your exposure to too many hidden net carbs and potentially harmful ingredients.
|Popular Water Enhancers||Serving Size||Calories||Net Carbs||Sweeteners Used|
|Stur*||2 mL||Trace (
Sparkling Water, Seltzer, and Club Soda
These bubbly drinks may seem like they are one in the same, but they have some distinct differences. Sparkling mineral waters, for example, have bubbles that are smaller and finer and the carbonation is naturally occurring. On the other hand, club soda will have bicarbonate salt added to give it finer bubbles, along with a bit of a mineral-y taste. Seltzer water is just pure water that’s been pumped full of bubbles. This is why seltzer is often flavored — otherwise, it would taste kind of bland.
Popular Keto-friendly Sparkling Water Brands:
*Contains trace amounts of added sugars (
Coffee and Tea
Coffee and Tea are an amazingly healthy keto drinks and can be especially helpful in helping beginners get over the energy lull that is typically experienced during the first few days of keto. The only problem with coffee and tea is what most people add to it. Just a tablespoon or two of sugar can turn these healthy keto drinks into a ketogenic dieter’s worst nightmare.
Keto Coffee Drinks
Instead of adding sugar to your coffee or ordering a frapcrapa macchiato with special syrup, try some of these keto-friendly coffee preparations:
Keto Tea Drinks
Most teas have virtually no carbs, so they are a good option for keto drinks. Some different types include:
If you’d like to treat yourself to a delicious tea drink, then make yourself some Iced Ketoproof Green Tea. Or you can keep it simple and add some heavy cream and keto-friendly sweetener, such as stevia, to your tea to make it more palatable.
You probably know this already, but regular sodas are not a good for your health — especially on keto. Most of them contain enough sugar in one can to exceed your daily carb limit.
There are a lot of sugar-free sodas out there, but most of them contain artificial sweeteners and other dubious ingredients. If you would rather stay as natural as possible, then there are two healthier diet soda options that I know of:
If you enjoy the fizziness of soda, consider switching to a seltzer or sparkling water alternative from above in the article. It is typically a much better choice.
Keto-Friendly Juice Alternatives
Whether you are on the ketogenic diet or not, juice is not a healthy drink option. Even the freshest of juices contain almost no fiber and only some of the nutrients from the fruit, while leaving you with a concentrated source of sugar and water. A better option for nutrients would be a savory broth.
If you are thinking of having fruit juice, have the whole fruit instead, and if you are on keto, stick with low-carb fruits like berries or drink some juice alternatives instead.
Here is a list of popular keto-friendly juice alternatives: