Drinking alcohol while following a ketogenic diet can seem tricky. Alcohol is high in carbs and can easily kick you out of ketosis. The big question is – how long does it take to get back into ketosis after drinking alcohol? Read on in order to find out, including our top tips.
The answer as to how long it takes to get back into ketosis after drinking alcohol depends on various factors like:
- How much alcohol you drank
- What type of alcohol it was
- Your personal metabolism
- How long you’ve been following keto
In this complete guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about alcohol and ketosis including:
- How alcohol affects ketosis
- Different types of alcohol and their carb content
- Tips to minimize alcohol’s impact on ketosis
- Exactly how long it takes to re-enter ketosis after drinking
- What you can do to speed up the process
How Alcohol Affects Ketosis
To understand how long it takes to get back into ketosis after drinking, you first need to understand how alcohol impacts ketosis in the first place.
When your body is in ketosis, it’s primarily burning fat for fuel instead of carbs. Alcohol pauses fat burning and causes your body to burn the alcohol first for energy.
The carbs from alcoholic drinks also play a role. They can easily bump you over your daily carb limit and kick you out of ketosis.
Some types of alcohol like beer and sweet mixed drinks have lots of carbs. Others like dry wines and hard liquors are lower in carbs. But even the “low carb” drinks still contain some carbs that impact ketosis.
The more alcohol you drink, the longer it takes your body to process and get back into fat burning ketosis mode.
Carb Content Of Different Alcoholic Drinks
All alcoholic beverages contain carbs, but some are much higher than others. The carb content of drinks varies quite a bit based on what they’re made from.
Here’s a quick overview of the carb counts in popular alcoholic drinks per 5oz (148mL) serving:
Beer: 5-20+ grams of carbs
Wine: 2-4 grams of carbs
Champagne: 1-2 grams of carbs
Hard Seltzer: 0-2 grams of carbs
Vodka: 0 grams of carbs
Gin: 0 grams of carbs
Whiskey: 0 grams of carbs
Rum: 0 grams of carbs
Tequila: 0 grams of carbs
The biggest carb offenders are beer, coolers, canned cocktails and sweet mixed drinks. Dry wines and straight spirits like whiskey, gin, vodka, tequila and rum are better low carb alcohol choices.
But as a reminder, even the “zero carb” options still contain calories from alcohol that pause ketosis.
Tips To Minimize Alcohol’s Impact On Ketosis
If you want to drink on a keto diet, here are some tips to minimize alcohol’s effects on ketosis:
- Stick to 1-2 drinks max: The more you drink, the longer it takes to get back into ketosis
- Drink slowly: Spacing out drinks gives your body more time to process the alcohol
- Drink plenty of water: Staying hydrated helps flush out the alcohol and carbs
- Choose lower carb options: Dry wines and spirits are ideal
- Avoid beer, sweet wines, and mixed drinks: These are packed with carbs
- Eat low carb before and after: Consuming extra carbs makes it harder to re-enter ketosis
- Test ketones: Use ketone testing strips the next morning to see if you’re still in ketosis
Following these tips can help you enjoy an occasional drink without getting knocked too far out of ketosis. But just how long until you’re back in ketosis after drinking?
How Long It Takes To Get Back Into Ketosis After Drinking Alcohol
The time it takes to return to ketosis after drinking varies between 12 to 48 hours depending on the factors below:
How much alcohol you drank
The more standard drinks you have, the longer it takes to metabolize the alcohol and carbs and get back into ketosis.
Here’s a general timeline:
- 1-2 drinks: 12 to 24 hours
- 3-4 drinks: 24 to 36 hours
- 5+ drinks: 36 to 48+ hours
Of course this depends on the individual, but more alcohol means a longer recovery time.
Type of alcohol
Some types of alcoholic drinks affect ketosis more than others:
- Beer or mixed drinks: These higher carb options can take 24-48 hours to recover from
- Dry wines: Takes around 24 hours to return to ketosis
- Hard liquor: 12-24 hours to get back into ketosis
Choose your drinks wisely if you want to minimize impact.
We all process alcohol differently based on factors like weight, gender, medications, genetics, food intake, and more.
If you have a faster metabolism, you may return to ketosis quicker than someone with a slower metabolism after the same number of drinks.
How long you’ve been following the keto diet also plays a role.
Your body gets “keto adapted” over time, becoming more efficient at burning fat for fuel. If you’re early into keto, it may take longer to get back into ketosis after an alcohol slip up.
The takeaway: Plan for 12 to 48 hours to return to ketosis after drinking alcohol depending on the variables above. The more you drank and higher carb it was, the longer recovery takes.
What To Do To Speed Up Return To Ketosis
If you want to get back into ketosis faster after a night of drinking, here are some strategies to speed up the process:
- Drink water: Hydrating helps flush out toxins and carbs from alcohol. Aim for at least 2-3 liters of water the next day.
- Take electrolytes: Replenishing sodium, magnesium and potassium supports hydration and recovery.
- Eat very low carb: Stick to keto-friendly proteins, healthy fats and low carb veggies the day after drinking to transition back into ketosis faster.
- Exercise: Light cardio or weight training helps burn through any residual alcohol and carbs in your system.
- Get enough sleep: Quality rest supports detoxification and metabolic processes.
- Consider a fast: Completely fasting from food for 16-24 hours can accelerate the return to ketosis.
- Supplement: Exogenous ketones provide the ketones you’re missing from alcohol stalling ketosis. MCT oil powder also helps.
- Test ketones: Use ketone urine strips or a breath meter to confirm when your body flips back into ketosis.
Being mindful the day after drinking to follow these tips will help you get back into fat burning mode sooner.
Wapping Up: How Long Does It Take To Get Back Into Ketosis After Drinking Alcohol
Drinking alcohol pauses ketosis temporarily while your body burns the alcohol for fuel instead of fat. The type and quantity of alcohol impacts how long it takes to get back into ketosis.
For most people it takes 12 to 48 hours to return to ketosis after drinking, depending on personal factors. Sticking to keto-friendly drinks in moderation minimizes impact.
Stay hydrated, eat very low carb, exercise, supplement, and test ketones to accelerate getting back into ketosis after an alcohol slip up. With some planning, you can still enjoy occasional drinks without sabotaging your keto diet long-term.