We obviously hear all the time how important it is to drink water every day - and of course I agree that water is vital to our health - but sometimes we want something else. Right? ;) So let's talk about some options that you can have and still stick to a low-carb lifestyle.
According to the National Coffee Association, 7 in 10 people drink coffee every week, 62% drink coffee every day, and the average coffee drinker drinks 3 cups a day. That's a lot of coffee being consumed! The good news is there are actually health benefits associated with drinking coffee and it's a great beverage to enjoy while living low-carb/keto.
If you're like me and you can't stand the taste of black coffee, there are other options. Seriously, black coffee is so bad I don't know how anyone drinks it that way. haha!! But I digress. ;) Bulletproof coffee is very popular in the keto world and for good reason - it tastes great, even to those of us who aren't particularly fond of coffee - and it's so satiating that we can go into early afternoon or later without even needing a meal. If you like the idea of intermittent fasting, this is a great way to do it. The way I like to have mine is one tablespoon of butter, one tablespoon of coconut oil, one tablespoon of heavy cream, and one tablespoon of a delicious flavor of Jordan's Skinny Syrups. Some say you shouldn't add things with artificial sweeteners to your diet but I can't drink coffee without the flavor so I enjoy this luxury each morning. You have to figure out what works for your body and what doesn't. (By the way, you can find those syrups super cheap at Ross, TJ Maxx, HomeGoods, and more!) You can also choose to use MCT oil, coconut milk, half and half, and/or a regular artificial sweetener in place of the things I listed. It all comes down to your taste preferences.
For just a regular cup of coffee, you can mix in some heavy whipping cream, some coconut or almond milk, or some half and half and still enjoy your morning coffee without it being high carb.
Tea is another great beverage choice. There are studies that show that tea also has great health benefits - especially green tea. Whether you choose to drink hot tea or iced tea, the benefits are great and you can enjoy a great tasting drink. Of course the key is to drink it unsweetened and not a sugary sweet tea. ;) Just as with coffee though, if you don't like the taste of it without a sweetener, you can find something to jazz it up and add some flavor to it as long as it's a sugar free option that doesn't work against your body and cause you issues. Adding lemons or limes is a great option or you can even add an aritificial sweetener if you need to. Just check the carb count and make sure you're getting one that isn't going to mess up your diet.
There are so many flavored water options on the market now as people have really grabbed hold of this trend and enjoy a variety of drinks like this. My personal favorites are Mio, a water enhancement, and Sparkling ICE drinks, a carbonated water drink. These both allow you to have things like lemonade, fruity drinks, flavored tea and a variety of other options but it's just flavoring in water and zero carbs. You can find these in pretty much any store and there are even generic brands as well. There are tons of options out there in addition to these so just look and find the ones you enjoy most.
Do you call it soda or pop? I know that varies depending on the part of the country you live in. haha! I usually call it pop but I think most call it soda. Anyway, there's a lot of controversy about pop and whether or not we should drink it so you have to decide that and whether or not it's worth it to you. If it's a matter of drinking the full sugar, regular pop or drinking a diet one, to me the diet is the better choice. But again, that's got to be your personal decision.
I actually quit drinking pop many years before I even started learning more about health and nutrition because I found it was upsetting my stomach every time I had some. So it's probably been about 8 years or more since I've had any and I have no taste for it anymore. Even the Sparkling ICE drinks I mentioned above are something I have to be careful with and drink just a little at a time so I don't upset my stomach. The carbonation just doesn't sit well with me.
If pop is something you feel like you must have to enjoy life though, don't feel like you have to deprive yourself. But having a can full of sugar isn't going to help you stay healthy and enjoy a low-carb lifestyle so if you're not already drinking diet, try switching and see if you do better. Making the switch can be tricky though I know. When I was younger I always drank regular but I switched to diet years before I gave it up. The way I was able to successfully do that is by mixing them with gradually increasing quantities of diet until I liked the full diet. So I would have about 1/4 diet and 3/4 regular for a bit and then I went to half and half and then 3/4 diet and 1/4 regular and then full diet. By doing that, I accustomed by taste to the diet until it no longer tasted funny to me. That's honestly the key to most anything you're going to change with a low-carb lifestyle. It's all about adapting and acclimating yourself to a different taste. Once you're used to it it's fine and you lose the taste for the original.
Many people think they can't live a low-carb/keto lifestyle because they love to go out for drinks or sit around with friends and have a beer. Well don't throw out the lifestyle yet because there's good news in this area. ;) Alcohol can be a problem for health and nutrition and I think everyone understands that so as long as you make choices with that in mind, you can enjoy some drinks without hurting your diet - at least not by much.
Alcohol goes straight to your liver and can slow or stop your fat burning ability and/or ketosis. So if you're in the process of trying to lose weight, drinking alcohol has the potential to slow that down while your body deals with it. You will also notice the effects of the alcohol much quicker when you're living a low-carb lifestyle. That being said, if you're just having a drink or two every now and again you're probably not going to cause major problems for yourself. So make good choices with what you're drinking and you can still enjoy a low-carb lifestyle at the same time.
In order to make the right choices you want to focus on low-carb beer or wine and if you're drinking liquor make sure it's straight or mixed with water or something that isn't a sugary sweet mix. If you're making drinks at home you can use Mio and sparkling water to mix with vodka or your favorite alcohol. Hard seltzers are a good option too - Truly and White Claw are two low-carb options. If you love the cocktails, Jordan's Skinny Mixes also has drink mixes for alcohol too - not just coffee syrups. And they're pretty tasty! We love the skinny margarita mix!
Drink Options and Their Carb Count
One of the books I've enjoyed is Dirty, Lazy, Keto by Stephanie Laska. She has some great resources where she's listed a variety of different drink options and the carb count for each. Sometimes it can be hard to figure out how many carbs are in a drink so this can be super helpful. I thought I'd share some of her resources here so you can browse the list and have an idea of what some good choices would be for your drink options.
Zero Net Carbs Drink Ideas (per 8 fl. oz. cup serving)
- Coffee (black), 0 g net carbs
- Diet soda, 0 g net carbs (check label to ensure you select a diet soda without any carbs)
- Electrolyte water (MiO, Powerade, Smartwater), 0 g net carbs
- Energy drinks, sugar-free (check the label, as some still contain carbs), 0 g net carbs
- Mineral water or naturally flavored water, 0 g net carbs
- Seltzer water (sugar-free), 0 g net carbs
- Soda water (sugar-free), 0 g net carbs
- Tea (herbal, black, green), 0 g net carbs
- Tonic water (sugar-free), 0 g net carbs
- Water, 0 g net carbs
Low Net Carbs Drink Ideas (per 8 fl. oz. cup serving)
- Bone broth, 1 g net carb per serving Citrus (from concentrate) added to water, 1–2 net carbs per teaspoon serving
- Coffee with sugar-free creamer, estimated 0–3 g net carbs per serving of coffee with 1 tablespoon creamer serving
- Dairy alternative drink (unsweetened almond, coconut, cashew, flaxseed, hemp, or soy milks), ranges between 0 and 2 g net carbs per serving
- Energy drinks (low-carb), ranges between 3 and 5 g net carbs per serving
- Protein smoothies, net carbs depend on ingredients chosen
- Vegetable smoothies, net carbs depend on ingredients chosen
- Amstel Light, 5 g net carbs
- Bud Ice, 4 g net carbs
- Bud Light, 7 g net carbs
- Busch Light, 3 g net carbs
- Coors Light, 5 g net carbs
- Corona Light, 5 g net carbs
- Corona Premier, 3 g net carbs
- Keystone Light, 5 g net carbs
- Michelob Ultra, 3 g net carbs
- Miller Lite, 3 g net carbs
- Natural Light, 3 g net carbs
Low-Carb Malt Beverages
- Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer, 1 g net carbs
- Henry’s Hard Sparkling Water, 3 g net carbs
- Smirnoff Spiked Sparkling Seltzer, 1 g net carbs
- The Shell House10 Sparkling Hard Seltzer, 5 g net carbs
- Truly Hard Seltzer, 2 g net carbs
- White Claw Hard Seltzer, 2 g net carbs
- Wild Basin Boozy Sparkling Water, 1 g net carbs
White Wine Recommendations (5 oz. serving)
- Champagne, 1 g net carbs
- Wine spritzer (your choice of dry wine from list below diluted/mixed with seltzer water), 2 g net carbs
- Pinot grigio, 3 g net carbs
- Sauvignon blanc, 3 g net carbs
- Chardonnay, 3 g net carbs
- Fumé blanc, 3 g net carbs
- Dry rosé wine, 3 g net carbs
For reference, compare these options to a higher carb white wine, such as: White sangria, 8 g net carbs White zinfandel, 8 g net carbs
Red Wine Recommendations
- Pinot noir, 3 g net carbs
- Merlot, 4 g net carbs
- Shiraz, 4 g net carbs
- Syrah, 4 g net carbs
- Cabernet sauvignon, 4 g net carbs
- Red zinfandel, 4 g net carbs
- Chianti, 4 g net carbs
- Sangiovese, 4 g net carbs
- Grenache, 4 g net carbs
For reference, compare these options to a higher carb red wine, such as: Burgundy, 5 g net carbs Red sangria, 12 g net carbs
I hope you have discovered after reading through this that there are plenty of drink options available to you while living a low-carb lifestyle. Don't feel like it has to be a boring way to eat/drink and you have to deprive yourself. You just have to make it a point to look for better options available to you. Hope this list helps you! :)