If you’re following the low carb, high fat keto diet, you might wonder what you can drink aside from water.
Although water is the healthiest choice because it’s free of calories, carbs, and additives, you may want a beverage to boost your energy, provide some flavor and variety, or replace some of your favorite sugary drinks.
You may also be curious about keto-friendly alcoholic drinks.
The options below all have 0–5 grams of net carbs, which is the total number of carbs minus fiber and sugar alcohols. It more accurately represents the carbs that your body processes.
Here are 13 of the best keto-friendly drinks — besides water.
1–3. Hot drinks
Several hot drinks are keto-friendly, though you should be mindful of what you add to them. Suitable additions include half-and-half, heavy whipping cream, unsweetened plant-based creamers, zero-calorie sweeteners, and sugar-free flavoring syrups.
You’ll want to avoid high-carb additions like regular milk, sweetened creamers, sugar, honey, and standard flavoring syrups.
1. Black or green tea
Tea is a natural option that contains a negligible number of carbs — typically less than 1 gram per cup (240 mL). You can enjoy it iced or hot.
Black tea is made from aged tea leaves, giving it a more robust flavor, darker color, and higher caffeine content. Meanwhile, green tea is made from fresh tea leaves, lending it a more floral flavor, lighter color, and less caffeine.
You can also choose white tea, which is made from young tea leaves. It has a very mild, delicate flavor compared with both black and green tea.
Furthermore, tea is essentially calorie-free and full of polyphenol antioxidants. For example, green tea is rich in epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a powerful antioxidant that may provide anti-cancer benefits.
Coffee is another nearly calorie-free and carb-free favorite that’s safe for the keto diet. Like tea, it can be consumed hot or iced.
Coffee contains caffeine, which may give your metabolism a slight boost. It also provides chlorogenic acid, a polyphenol antioxidant that may likewise aid weight loss.
3. Herbal teas
Herbal teas are infusions derived from dried flowers, fruit, leaves, or herbs. Examples include hibiscus, chamomile, yerba mate, peppermint, and rooibos tea.
Most are low in carbs, as few carbs from dried herbs steep into the water.
However, products made with dried or candied fruit pieces may be slightly higher in carbs. As such, you may want to check the carb count of packaged tea products before purchasing them.
Summary: Tea, coffee, and herbal infusions contain negligible calories and carbs. Be sure to choose keto-friendly additions to keep the carb count low.
4–5. Soft drinks
Soft drinks are typically loaded with sugar or potentially harmful artificial sweeteners. However, keto-friendly options exist.
4. Alternative diet sodas
Although diet sodas like Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi are technically keto, they may not be the best choice.
That’s because they harbor artificial sweeteners like sucralose and aspartame, which may damage the healthy bacteria in your gut and strengthen sugar cravings — potentially leading to weight gain.
Conversely, several diet sodas are made with naturally derived zero-calorie sweeteners like stevia or erythritol, a sugar alcohol derived from corn that has fewer negative effects than artificial sweeteners.
5. Sparkling water
Sparkling water is carbonated either naturally from a mineral spring or during manufacturing by using carbon dioxide gas.
Many sparkling water options are flavored, but they’re typically unsweetened — making them an excellent low-carb choice.
Summary: Diet soda and sparkling water are usually free of net carbs. Try to choose soft drinks that are sweetened with stevia or other natural zero-calorie sweeteners as opposed to artificial sweeteners.
In general, it’s best to avoid juice on keto, but there are a few safe options.
Suggested read: 10 natural alternatives to refined sugar
Fruit juice is typically loaded with sugar, making it inappropriate for the keto diet.
Yet, there are exceptions, including lemon and lime juices, which are low in carbs but full of flavor. You can add them to plain water or other beverages, such as hot or iced tea, to liven up the taste.
Some juiced vegetables are low in carbs and can be included in the keto diet. Still, keep in mind that juicing removes most of the nutritious fiber from the veggies unless you choose to drink the pulp.
Some keto-friendly vegetables that can be juiced include:
- leafy greens like kale and spinach
If you don’t have a juicer, store-bought juices are sometimes available.
Nonetheless, check the label on bottled veggie juices, as they may pack sugar or other carb sources. Most contain at least 10 grams of carbs per serving, making them inappropriate for keto.
Summary: Most fruit juice is loaded with sugar, but lemon and lime juices are low in carbs and can help flavor other beverages. What’s more, some low-carb veggies can be juiced.
7. Flavored waters
Some keto-friendly beverages are flavored with small amounts of real fruit juice, which adds natural flavor and sweetness while keeping the carb count relatively low — usually 1–5 grams of net carbs per serving.
Plus, you can add zero-carb liquid or powdered water enhancers to tap or bottled water. They’re available in many flavors, and although they’re typically made with artificial flavors and sweeteners, others are unsweetened or use stevia.
Summary: Some keto-friendly drinks are flavored with small amounts of real fruit juice. You can also choose keto-friendly water enhancers in liquid or powder form.
8. Milk alternatives
Although cow’s milk isn’t recommended on keto because it contains natural sugar, several plant-based alternatives are perfectly keto-friendly.
Suggested read: A keto diet meal plan and menu that can transform your body
Keto-friendly plant-based kinds of milk include:
- almond milk
- coconut milk
- macadamia nut milk
- flaxseed milk
These products are great for drinking, pouring on keto-friendly cereals, and various culinary uses.
Still, only the unsweetened versions of these kinds of milk are keto-friendly. Many plant-based kinds of milk are flavored and sweetened, making them inappropriate for keto.
Summary: Unsweetened plant-based drinks like almond and coconut milk are keto-friendly. However, the sweetened and flavored versions often contain too much sugar to be appropriate for the diet.
9. Energy drinks
Some energy drinks are keto-friendly, although many popular brands use artificial sweeteners. As such, you may want to choose from a handful that uses natural sweeteners like stevia.
You should be aware that energy drinks may harm the brain, heart, and liver, especially in adolescents and teens. They’re linked to heart failure in rare cases.
If you decide to consume these beverages on occasion, keep their caffeine content in mind. Most energy drinks contain 150–200 mg per 16-ounce (475-mL) can, which you can compare with the recommended safe daily caffeine threshold of 400 mg for the general population.
Summary: The best keto-friendly energy drinks are sweetened with stevia or other natural zero-calorie sweeteners. Be sure to limit caffeine intake to less than 400 mg daily.
10. Sports drinks
Sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade contain electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, to help replenish those that are lost through sweat.
For people who engage in intense exercise or outdoor workouts in the heat, electrolyte supplements and fluid rehydration are vital. Loss of electrolytes through sweat can exacerbate dehydration and lead to muscle cramping and headaches.
Electrolyte drinks may also help combat the keto flu, a cluster of symptoms that includes fatigue, headaches, and muscle cramps that may occur when you first start the diet.
Still, most sports drinks are loaded with sugar. Gatorade Zero and Powerade Zero are solid keto-friendly options, but they use artificial sweeteners.
Some alternatives include electrolyte powders sweetened with stevia that you can mix into water.
Summary: Sports drinks can help replenish electrolytes after exercise and may aid keto flu symptoms. Try to choose electrolyte powders that are sweetened with stevia rather than low-carb sports drinks with artificial sweeteners.
11–13. Alcoholic beverages
Although alcohol is likely to hamper your efforts if you’re trying to lose weight on keto, you may still wonder which alcoholic beverages you can drink and remain in ketosis.
Keep in mind that these beverages pack calories from fat and alcohol.
11. Low carb beer
Beer is typically high in carbs, as it contains sugars from wheat that aren’t fermented into ethanol.
Yet, low-carb beer is made by either using less wheat or allowing a longer fermentation process to more completely convert the sugars into alcohol.
Some of the lowest carb beers, which clocks in at 2–3 grams of net carbs per 12-ounce (355-mL) bottle, are Budweiser Select 55, Michelob Ultra, and Miller 64.
12. Hard liquor
Hard liquors like vodka, whiskey, rum, and tequila are naturally carb-free and therefore appropriate for the keto diet.
However, you should be careful with mixed drinks, which are often loaded with sugar from fruit juices or soda. You should also check the label on flavored liquors for any added sugars.
To keep your drinks low carb, try drinking hard liquor straight or use zero-carb mixers like diet soda or seltzer water. Try to avoid tonic water, as it contains added sugar.
Suggested read: 9 alternatives to coffee, and why you should try them
13. Low carb hard seltzer
You can also choose low-carb hard seltzers, which are made with flavored seltzer water or sparkling water and added liquor.
If you happen to avoid gluten, you’ll want to check the label carefully because many of them are made with malt liquor.
Summary: Low-carb beer, hard seltzers, and hard liquor are all keto-friendly. You should be careful with mixed drinks, though, as they often pack sugar from soda or fruit juice.
Plenty of keto-friendly drinks exist aside from water. You may already have several of these on hand.
Tea, coffee, and herbal tea are a few options. Soda, sparkling water, low-carb juices, sports drinks, and energy drinks are good options, too. Although, you’ll want to opt for low-carb, no-sugar versions and look for products that use stevia instead of artificial sweeteners.
Finally, several keto-friendly alcoholic options are available, from low-carb beer to seltzer to hard liquor.
As you can see, you have plenty of flavorful beverages to choose from on the keto diet.