Alcohol & the Ketogenic Diet: What You Need to Know
Alcohol on the ketogenic diet, where the heck do you stand? Can you have it? Can you not? What should you consume? There’s so much different, conflicting information out there. So why don’t I just give you a simple breakdown of how it works in the body. Hey, I’m Thomas DeLauer with Keto-Mojo and we’re going to break down the ketogenic diet along with alcohol.
All right, so first off, we just have to take a look at how alcohol is metabolized in the body. It’s a pretty straightforward, fairly simple process. When we consume alcohol, also known as ethanol, it gets broken down in the body into something known as acetaldehyde. Now acetaldehyde is a little bit more complex to break down than some of the other things that you might generally consume. What happens is, it goes to the liver and it involves a pretty laborious process, so at that point, the liver is processing the acetaldehyde. It converts it into something known as acetate and acetyl coenzyme A. These are two perfectly simple compounds that are metabolized quite easily within the body. Now where things get a little bit more tricky, is that because acetyl coenzyme A and because acetate aren’t metabolized quite as easily as, say, glucose or ketones, the liver has to get rid of them. The liver prioritizes the breakdown and the excretion of the acetate and the acetyl coenzyme A, so that everything can go back to business as usual. What this means for you, when you’re on a ketogenic diet, is shortly after consuming an alcoholic beverage, fatty acid oxidation comes to a little bit of a halt. Now this is where people tend to kind of freak out a little bit, but the simple fact of the matter is that this is a very temporary process. See, if your liver is healthy and you’re a good, healthy person and you’re consuming your veggies and getting your vitamins and minerals, the liver is going to do its job and it’s going to process that acetaldehyde and it’s going to process the acetate and the acetyl coenzyme A and it’s going to get your body back to fatty acid metabolism as quickly as possible.
If the liver is having to work on other things, it can’t create ketones. This doesn’t mean that you’re kicked out of keto. You should, by and large, have enough ketones flowing around throughout your bloodstream to strongly counteract this. If you end up having a half an hour where you’re not creating ketones, it’s not going to be the end of the world, and again, you’re not bringing glucose into the equation, so you’re not putting yourself into a terrible situation.
Now, the things you do have to be concerned with, though, are going to be the carb contents. We want to look at different alcohols that don’t have a bunch of conjoiners and don’t have a bunch of additives and don’t have sweeteners and don’t just have an inherently high carb content. I would honestly say that beer is something that you need to be very, very cautious with. There are some beers out there that have a lower carb content, but, by and large, it’s best just to steer clear. Now, a lot of wines do end up having lower carb contents, and lucky for you, they’re usually very low glycemic so they don’t have a whole lot of effect on blood sugar or ketone production to begin with. Usually, like a dry, white wine, is going to be a great choice for you.
So, what’s kind of the formula? What should you do if you’re going to go enjoy an alcoholic beverage and you’re on a ketogenic diet? How should you follow a process? What should you do? Well, generally, what I would recommend is reducing your protein intake a little bit before drinking which goes kind of against the grain of what we’ve heard before, because usually, protein would absorb some things. What we want to do is increase the ketone production as much as we can prior to drinking. You can gauge where your ketones are at simply by using the Keto-Mojo meter, it’s going to give you a good indicator. If you get your ketones nice and high, give yourself a little bit of a buffer because that way, when the alcohol does come in and it stops the production of ketones for a short period of time, you have enough of a buffer in the bloodstream to ride through that temporary wave and get you back to business as usual.
Now, I wouldn’t be a good health proponent if I didn’t say this, though, you want to use alcohol in moderation because when you’re on a ketogenic diet, you’re going to be a little bit of a lightweight and if you become a lightweight, and end up consuming too much alcohol, then you can run into some issues when you’re coming down the big rollercoaster rides of blood sugar rise and fall, that’s not fun for anyone whether you’re keto or not. The rule of thumb is, keep the fats higher, keep the proteins a little bit lower. Try to get your drinking into a little bit more of a consolidated window and try not to drag it out. Try to consume alcohols that metabolize fast, so clean-burning alcohols like gin, vodka, tequila, that don’t have a bunch of additives to them and are usually triple or quadruple distilled. Also, try to go for wines that are going to be a lower carb content or a drier wine, whenever possible and use beer sparingly. So, as always, make sure you’re trusting the meter to see where you’re at in the world of ketosis, and keep it locked in here on these Keto-Mojo videos. I’ll see you soon.