I’m almost at the 4 week point since starting keto, and last night I had my first alcoholic beverages since starting. I just spent way too long trying to find the wine I was drinking; it was a syrah from Costco and it was wonderful for someone that typically prefers white wines. (I bought it for the cool label with black birds flying… nope, can’t find it anywhere. No idea what it was).
Zero-carb drinking on keto is pretty much limited to hard liquors – and even with those, you need to be careful. Flavored rums, for example, can have a ton of carbs. Wine can be a low-ish carb option, if you don’t drink the whole bottle. (Ahem that’s a BIG “if” for me). A 5oz glass of wine typically has 4-5g carbs. Syrah is listed as a 5g-carb wine.
I was at 26g net carbs for the day when I headed out to the Halloween party, so I knew I was about to have my highest carb day since starting keto if I drank any wine. I’d also read that alcohol hits you faster on keto, so I wasn’t planning to drink much.
I ended up having about 16oz of wine. I rounded up to 20oz under the assumption that I was more likely to be underestimating than overestimating my pours. That’s 20g carbs of wine, so I came in just under 50g for the day. Some people can eat up to 50g net carbs per day and stay in nutritional ketosis. I don’t yet know my limits. I’ve stayed under 25g the whole month.
When I got home last night (about 2 hours after I stopped drinking), my ketostix told me I was still in ketosis – a lighter pink reading, but still in it. By morning, I was still reading pink, and this afternoon, still pink. So I don’t think at 50g I was knocked out of ketosis. I’m also not having any other symptoms of being knocked out like sugar cravings.
It also could be that my body has become fat-adapted pretty quickly (the body’s preference of burning fat for fuel over glucose), and I’ve read that when you’re fat-adapted your body can tolerate a one-time carb swing pretty efficiently and go back to burning ketones as soon as it’s an option. Either way, it’s good to know that a slightly higher carb day doesn’t derail me.
How did the alcohol affect me? Well, it was kind of a bummer. I didn’t even feel buzzed, yet by the time I got home and went to bed I was having minor hangover feelings. I was also pretty dehydrated, so I drank as much water as I could throughout the night, but I didn’t sleep well. I feel fine today (just tired from not sleeping). I was kind of looking forward to feeling more buzzed with less alcohol. Oh well. I’ll get another chance soon with one more birthday celebration to go. I’ll probably try liquor for round 2.