Low-carb drinks – the best and the worst

What do you drink on low carb? What are the best options, and the most common mistakes?

The quick answer: Water is perfect and zero carb, as is coffee and tea (without sugar, of course). The occasional glass of wine is fine too.

Check out this visual guide for more good options, and what to definitely avoid:

 
Low-carb drinks

The numbers represent grams of net carbs per normal serving size (like what you get if you order one in a restaurant).1 The green numbers represent decent options on low carb. Keep reading for more details below.

Add a sugar cube to your coffee or tea and you add 4 grams of carbs (not good).

 

Size mattersSize does matter

While sugary soda is always a bad idea on low carb, size matters. A large soft drink contains truly astonishing amounts of sugar.

A small soft drink will keep you out of ketosis for a day, the large ones for more like a week…

 

Low-Carb Diet DrinksDiet soft drinks – are artificial sweeteners OK or not?

Diet soft drinks come without carbs or calories. Instead, they contain artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame K or stevia.

Many people believe diet drinks are safe, as they are free from calories. However, it’s not that simple, and these non-caloric sweeteners come with their own set of problems.

To start with, these sweeteners maintain sugar cravings, a disaster if you’re addicted to sweet foods. They make it harder to appreciate the natural sweetness of real food. Also, studies show that switching from diet soda to water results in weight loss, perhaps as some diet drinks can increase insulin levels (thus increasing fat storage).2

In short, diet drinks are probably less bad than regular sugary soda. But if you can wean yourself off the sweet drinks completely and enjoy water, that’s by far the best option. Learn more

 

Low-Carb AlcoholLow-carb alcoholic drinks

What are the best low-carb alcoholic drinks? Beer, wine or something else?

Here’s the short answer: Wine is good, beer is usually not. However, there’s something else with no carbs at all…

Full low-carb alcohol guide

Low-carb drinks recipes

We have lots of recipes for great low-carb drinks, like keto hot chocolate or Bulletproof coffee. Here are the most popular recipes right now:

All keto beverages

 

 

Detailed carb-count list for low-carb drinks

Below is a detailed list of the number of grams of carbs in drinks.

Water 0
Water with lemon 0
Tea 0 (every sugar cube adds 4 grams)
Coffee 0 (adding milk adds about 1-3 grams of carbs)
Diet soft drink 0 (artificial sweeteners have other problems though)
Wine 2 (5 oz – 14 cl)
Coconut water 9 (1 cup – 24 cl)
Vegetable juice 11 (1 cup – 24 cl). The amount of carbs can vary, adding fruit juice adds more carbs.
Milk 11 (1 cup – 24 cl)
Soy milk 12 (1 cup – 24 cl)
Beer 13 (12 oz – 35 cl). The amount varies (low-carb beer guide).
Caffè latte 15 (12 oz – 35 cl)
Kombucha tea 10 (12 oz – 35 cl). This is the average of commercial teas. Homemade Kombucha tea varies with the time it has fermented, and can end up somewhat lower in carbs.
Orange juice 26 (1 cup – 24 cl)
Energy drink 28 (8.4 oz – 25 cl)
Vitamin water 32 (12 oz – 35 cl)
Ice tea 32 (12 oz – 35 cl)
Soft drink 39 (12 oz – 35 cl)
Smoothie 36 (12 oz – 35 cl). Varies depending on contents (low-carb smoothie recipes).
Frappuccino 50 (12 oz – 35 cl). Watch out for all sweet coffee drinks.
Milkshake 60 (10 oz – 30 cl)

 
 

Similar low-carb guides

Meal plans

Get lots of weekly low-carb meal plans, complete with shopping lists and everything, with our premium meal planner tool (free trial).

 

More

A low-carb diet for beginners
Low-carb foods
 
14-day low-carb diet meal plan

32 Comments

  1. Janine
    As a home brewer of Kombucha, how does one measure the carb content of the finished product. The end product is very much weather / climate dependent, so a 8 day Summer brew may take 15 days in Winter. Any ideas?
  2. AS
    Hi!

    Ist this really true?

    The small soft drinks will keep you out of ketosis for a day, the large ones for more like a week…

    How long time (days) does it take for a person that does eat carbs to go in to ketosis? (When you start a new diet whit low carb)

  3. June Denton
    I would be very interested in the answer to your kombucha question, and also if one can measure the carb content of water kefir drinks too. It seems they may be good for probiotics, but bad for carbs.
  4. c
    can i use coconut milk in my coffee? and other drinks rather than butter or cream as I prefer the taste?
  5. Joyce Tamara
    I found it frustrating to home brew Kombucha because I was waiting so long for the sugar to be utilized by the yeast that I was afraid it had gone too far! I found a great product by Clearly Kombucha Raspberry Lemonade which unlike EVERY other commercial Kombucha only had 2 gr of carbs (sugars) per 16 oz bottle. Their other flavors are higher, and it's impossible to find in SoCal, so I am watching this thread with bated ketone-y breath!
  6. Melinda
    Hi... I too brew Kombucha at home as the store bought ones are expensive and have a higher sugar content. I was led to believe that home brewed Kombucha was lower in carbs. I too drink it for the pro biotics. I would be interested in an answer to these questions.
  7. wolfgang
    i would take the mayo out of this image. loaded with bad oils
  8. Danika Chavez
    What is the difference in Ice Tea VS. Tea? In the What to drink and what not to drink it says that Ice tea has 32 vs Tea that has 0 ??
  9. Erin
    Hi.. I can't eat dairy, so I'm looking for a milk substitute for my coffee as soy milk seems pretty high. Any thoughts?
  10. Vanessa Jenkins
    So glad I come across this. Now I have someone to talk to about csrbd. I started the diet about a month ago. Lost a little. Started craving sugar so bad. I felt like an addict. I ate so much candy. Soon the weight plus more is back on. I didn't know whether to do my weight watchers or the shepherd diet. which is. 20 carbs a day and Half YOUR BODY WEIGHT IN PROTEIN THE REST HEALTHY fats.
  11. Vikki
    Where do I find the carb count for yogurt? I make my own using 3.8% milk. And culture it for 24 hours.
    Overall, this is a great website with terrific information. Thanks for putting it together.
  12. New to Keto
    Is there any harm with me adding almond milk-unsweetened to my coffee in morning, Only two carbs for 8 oz, and I use maybe 4. I just started the two week kept challenge, but only like coffee with almond milk added. I really want to have the coffee for a couple reasons. Thanks!! (Well, I'd also like to add a few drops of stevia, if that won't thwart my efforts too. I'm not a sugar addict, but it makes the coffee more palatable.).
  13. Brian
    How many carbs are in a glass of unsweetened iced tea? Everything I find online says 0, or less than 2, but you have it at 32. Is this with sugar in it?
    Reply: #14
  14. Peter Biörck Team Diet Doctor
    Hi Brian!

    Well, I would say about zero.

    (Yes this is "normal Ice tea with sugar.)

    How many carbs are in a glass of unsweetened iced tea? Everything I find online says 0, or less than 2, but you have it at 32. Is this with sugar in it?

  15. Margaret Galdies
    I also make both water kefir and milk kefir and wonder how these would impact on this diet.
  16. Renee
    Can anyone give me any info on almond milk? Is unsweetened low carb? I'm finding conflicting info. Also, is green tea ok?
  17. Jenny
    I would like to know how many carbs are in green teas like mint, camomile and lemon, as the black tea and coffee are driving me nuts (I have one creamy coffee a day which is a real treat)
  18. Val
    I use an excellent avocado oil mayo.
  19. Linda
    Would like to know about raw honey. I put a teaspoon in my coffee.
    Reply: #27
  20. Marion
    My son is a 15 year old foot ball player. Would this be a good diet for him as he builds muscle? I would like to do this but, if he needs starches in his diet, I will add that in for him.
  21. Jennifer
    I would like to know about sour cream
  22. Tammy
    Can you drink sugar free jucies that you add water too
  23. angie bowers
    I'm getting tired of putting the same question on every list of comments I find. is almond unsweetened milk ok?
    Reply: #24
  24. Peter Biörck Team Diet Doctor
    Hi Angie!

    Personally I think in resonable amount unsweetened almond milk is OK. But it's easy to over-consume when you drink calories. It also has a bit unfavorable omega 3 : omega 6 ratio. But using it in coffee instead of milk that I would say is a good choice.

    I'm getting tired of putting the same question on every list of comments I find. is almond unsweetened milk ok?

  25. aalishaa
    how many carbs are in tea with semi-skimmed milk?
  26. kathy mccloud
    well here I go no more soda or juices. Wish me luck and please PRAY FOR MY WHEEL POWER. But tell me is cheese off limits too?
  27. Kuttiez
    1 tablespoon of raw honey has 9gm of carbs.

    Would like to know about raw honey. I put a teaspoon in my coffee.

  28. todd
    How can tea have 0 and iced tea have 32? Assume you mean sweet tea?
  29. Carla
    Can I use sugar free vanilla flavored creamer in my coffee?
  30. liz
    whenever my day is done, I drink a tea called a detox one from yogi, can I still drink it?
  31. Alex Ng
    If squeeze 1 lemon into say 1 litre of water and drink, it is still 0 carb?
    What about if the above drink and I add in 1 teaspoon of natural honey?
    Is it still low carb? How much carb?
    How much carb from a packet of 2gram green tea sachet?
  32. Nathan
    Unsweetened almond milk is fine in coffe.

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