4 Biggest Side Effects of Drinking Alcohol on the Ketogenic Diet

Drinking Alcohol on the Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet has taken the wellness world by storm. Similar to the South Beach Diet and Atkins diet, the ketogenic diet (keto for short) involves drastically reducing carbohydrates and replacing them with protein and fat. The idea is if you restrict carbs, the body will go into a state of ketosis and burn stored fat as fuel. Purported benefits of the keto diet include weight loss and muscle gain. The keto diet is said to reduce risk factors for heart disease and other health issues, too.

Many people wonder if they can drink alcohol on the keto diet. Some are hesitant about giving up drinking for social reasons. Others may find the idea of quitting alcohol impossible. Can you reap the benefits of keto without sacrificing a glass of wine at dinner? Here are the side effects of drinking alcohol on the ketogenic diet.

1. You’ll feel drunk faster

You probably know that drinking on an empty stomach causes you to feel the effects of alcohol faster than if you drink after a big meal. In other words, your alcohol tolerance is lower.

This also happens on the keto diet. Without eating carbs, there is very little glycogen in your bloodstream to absorb alcohol. Therefore, a glass of wine that normally wouldn’t affect you will go straight to your liver to be metabolized, causing you to feel drunk a lot faster. Alcohol boosts your appetite and cravings for snacks while lowering your inhibitions, which could also derail your weight loss goals.

2. You’ll have a terrible hangover

As we mentioned, your body’s glycogen stores on the keto diet are extremely low. Each gram of glycogen is bound to three to four grams of water in the body. So, as the body burns glycogen, water attached to the glycogen is squeezed out as well. Less water in the body leads to dehydration – the primary reason hangovers make you feel terrible.

3. Your body will be unable to burn fat for fuel

When you drink alcohol, your body recognizes it as a toxin and focuses all of its energy on processing it out of your system. With the liver busy filtering out alcohol, it’s unable to burn fat for energy like it should when you’re in ketosis. Instead, it uses the calories in the cocktails you drank for fuel – the exact opposite of what you want on the keto diet.

4. You’ll have a harder time losing weight

The primary guideline of the keto diet is to restrict carbs. Beer and wine are full of carbohydrates that will throw your body out of ketosis. This could make it hard to lose weight even if your eating habits are keto-approved. If you are having a hard time reaching ketosis, its time to look at how many drinks you’re having every day. If the idea of cutting back on alcohol is scary, it might be time to seek help.

Stop drinking alcohol to benefit from the keto diet

If you are trying to lose weight on the keto diet but can’t stop drinking, you may be suffering from alcohol addiction. Allow the professionals at The Pearson Center for Alcoholism and Addiction Research to help. Our alcohol treatment study provides free alcohol treatment for those who qualify, helping people who drink too much get sober and live a healthier lifestyle. If you or a loved one is interested in participating, call us at (858) 784-7867 to learn more.